Shaping The Church
The justified scandal about the way the Bishop of Rome undermines Catholicism must not let us forget that, in the everyday life of the Church, the real changes on the ground are actually brought about not by the things a Pope says, but rather by the people he appoints.
You could put it in another way, and argue that if Francis were very sound in his appointments – mainly those of bishops and cardinals, but also think of those within the Curia – the negative effects of his blunders would be in time vastly reduced (or even neutralised) by a generation of sound bishops taking care that things are made properly in their own diocese, and of sound Cardinals taking care that this policy continues after the end of the present Papacy.
If, on the other hand, a Pope is mediocre in his appointment of Bishops and Cardinals, even his best orthodoxy of speech and saintliness of behaviour will not be able to arrest the decay of the Church, with vast territories slowly being run in the wrong way, and mediocre Cardinals ensuring this continues to be so with the next pontificates.
We begin, therefore, to understand the kind of devastation both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have caused. Pick any horrible Cardinal of your choice (before the next batch of Francis' appointees is officially installed), and you will discover he has invariably been appointed by one of the two. Pick almost everyone of the vastly horrible 8,000 (if memory serves) bishops in charge of a diocese, and you will see exactly the same.
From Daneels to Mahony and from Schoenborn to Ravasi, the present generation of Cardinals has been entirely created by JP II or Benedict XVI. Entirely. The same can be said, with very few exceptions, of bishops and archbishops, from the powerful ones like Zollitsch to the rather obscure ones like Nourrichard. These are the people who shape the Church's life on the ground; who encourage good priests or antagonise them; who decide on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, or lack thereof; who talk mainly of Judgment or of social issues; who promote the Sacraments or their neglect; who foster, or suffocate, vocations, and so on.
Think of all this, and tell me whether the two men – one of whom soon to be canonised, then by the grace of God Paradise is not prevented by a papacy rich in mistakes – are not the two main culprits for the current woes of the Church, starting from Francis and all the way down to the stupid, cowardly, or outright heretical priest in the church near you.