An article here gets, I think, some things very right.
There can be no talk of “conspiracy” in the proper sense of the word, because the rules have been made known publicly and the criticism to them was public, too. So much so, that no one trusts those (and particularly one) who report about the synod. It is also true that, in the end, the Pope decides what he wants to adopt from what he has heard in a synod. He is the Pope; therefore, he and no one else bears the responsibility for where he steers the Church. He cannot hide behind a synod, for sure.
However, there is something extremely unsavoury in the entire behaviour and mentality of Pope Francis. The man talks of collegiality a lot, then he amends the rule to make of himself the only one who even issues a final document. He calls an “extraordinary synod” and invites to discussion, even stating that there are no taboos and everyone should feel free to be as heretical as he pleases; when the discussion does not go in the direction he hopes, he culls it as much as he can short of canceling the entire exercise. He allows the local churches to select those who will attend at the synod, but doesn’t like the appointees and selects additional people out of his own caprice; then, he selects among those chosen by him seven out of the ten who must prepare for him the final document.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking. This here is a South American Stalin.
The silver lining in all this is that the Pope has received no support at all from the bishops. Therefore, if he wants to make a revolution he will have to put himself at the head of the movement knowing that most of his troops will not follow him, and many will shoot at him. The man is not a genius, but I think he got the message. Actually, I think he got the message last October already.
Francis can try to twist and turn it as he wants, but one fact remains: if he in any way, shape or form tries to introduce heretical novelties, it will be on his head. There is no way he can say that the bishops are with him, and there is no way he can introduce heresy in a kind of informal manner and, so to speak, en passant. Any measure that has a legislative value would have such a value even if Francis were to write it on toilet paper. Any initiative that introduces such changes would be seen as heretic irrespective of whether Francis calls the relevant source papal bull, motu proprio, off-the-cuff document, Sunday sermon, or shopping list.
Francis has culled the debate as much as he can, and he has called all the power on himself. His right, his responsibility, and his problem.
Heretic is who heretic does. He has nowhere to hide, and he would do well to listen to those who counsel him to stay calm and not do anything stupid, that is: not do anything at all.
The immense power of a Pope is normally not a problem, because the Pope is supposed to be Catholic. This here isn’t Catholic. This here is Stalin. Look at the blogosphere, and notice that the issue is always the same: the fear that the Pope may do something horribly un-Catholic, that is: heretical or sacrilegious.
This is why everyone is so concerned that he has stated the obvious, that is: that the final decision is up to him.
When Stalin is your pope – and a rather dumb one at that – you have a right to be worried.