The Pope is Right not to Arbitrate
I watched this video on Youtube a couple of days ago. It presents an intelligent and well constructed argument which starts out purporting to explain what a bishop is in the Catholic Church, but quickly turns into a rather convoluted apologia for Pope Francis confusing style of governance.
I can't escape the impression that ultimately the whole video is a bit of a sales pitch to explain why Pope Francis is doing such a bad job as Pope. Given the way it ends, it presents an extremely circuitous narrative which takes as its starting point, the proper function of bishops but ultimately aims to explain and even justify/ edify why Pope Francis is failing to be clear and correct error. Its final assertion is that his lack of clear teaching is because he is leaving it to bishops to discern the way forward on any number of issues and, moreover, this is the proper method of governance for the Roman Pontiff.
Despite the problems evident from any initial viewing, it is well put together and thought provoking, and so requires proper thought and a respectful response.
The first premise seems to be that bishops today have lost their way a bit and are no longer pastors but administrators. I think quite a few bishops would take issue with that assertion. Certainly being a bishop is a difficult job and I am no slouch when it comes to pointing out the problems, but many bishops I can easily point to are clear teachers of the faith and focus on pastoral activities. Moreover, you could argue that the problems in the Church today are nothing to do with the fact that bishops have to administrate dioceses.
Bishops in canon law are: "constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance" Canon 375. Thus, governance, "administration" has always been part of the role of a bishop. He doesn't have to do it all himself, he can employ a team to assist him with these duties which would seem the only sane approach. This just seems like misdirection to be honest. There is a lack of pastoral direction in general in the Church, but one could easily develop an argument that this springs more from a lack of personal faith, a lack of teaching, the institutionalisation of sin, a lack of knowledge, all kinds of reasons. I don't agree with an argument that places the problems and challenges the Catholic Church is currently facing as being due to the fact that bishops are administrators rather than pastors.
Given what is currently happening in Germany, delegating the to bishops could just as easily be a recipe for disaster! As the video correctly points out, the essential ingredient is unity in the faith (which clearly the German bishops are working against). How does the Church resolve this conflict? By having a supreme legislator to arbitrate: a pope, the successor of Peter, who is the guarantor of unity. "We need a voice that can determine the truth of things" - Bishop Barron. I think +Barron blows huge holes in the argument that the Pope should not arbitrate here where he states that the whole point of the Pope is to be the arbitrator:
I would be very interested in what you think, dear reader?