Amy Welborn raises an excellent point.
Commenting on the Rod Dreher piece below, she writes:
What most people are missing here is the role of regional synods and national bishops' groups. Throughout the history of the church, these groups have played an important role in keeping bishops in line - deposing them at times, et. Of course, there's a negative side - aka Gallicanism, etc..
But on the whole for great portions of church history, that was the level at which the strong-arming and disciplining of bishops took place. It's not Vatican II that stripped these groups of any substantive role - it's been happening really since the late 18th century, and then took a very strong turn during this pontificate.
Rod-bashers need to explain their logic on this: The present pontificate has completed the long process of taking responsibility and power away from regional and national bishops' groups. Which leaves the power in the Vatican. But...then this is power that isn't to be used?
Doesn't make sense.
Any response? Seems to drop the ball back in the Vatican's court, doesn't it?
My other thought was that this might put the kibosh on the entire Plenary Council idea floated by several bishops last year.