A priest (more so a Bishop, etc) has received a long training before being ordained, and has a more or less long experience of priestly activity. Bad as his formation might have been, the fundamentals will certainly have been transmitted to him. Being ordained, and able to read, and in possession of a brain, even a badly formed priest would feel the duty, if he takes his job seriously, to improve his formation with patient evening work, rather than continue in an ignorance that must be – if he takes his job and his vocation seriously – painful to him.
This is why I become extremely suspicious of those priests and prelates who start talking like politicians, and put social issues of various kind before what should be their first job: the salvation of souls.
I do not think such priests and prelates suddenly decided that, say, the Last Four Things are irrelevant to our times. If they believe in God, they must know that they are as relevant now as they always were. On the contrary, I think that something of massive scale happened in their life, and makes them now say things they would never say if the event had not happened. The most frequent, if you ask me, are:
1) Loss of faith.
Father does not believe that there is a hell or a heaven, a reward or a punishment. Instead of praying more and throwing himself at the feet of the Lord at the very first doubts (understanding that the devil is trying to get hold on him, and trusting what the Church teaches him), the man embraces his loss of faith and consents to it. Consequently, he cannot escape a great feeling of hypocrisy and uselessness. Therefore, he reinvents himself as the social worker. You recognise these people easily because they mention the sacred only as an excuse to push the social agenda, and pervert religion to an instrument of social change. This appeases their conscience, and lets them feel they have a useful role to play. Other motives may get in the mix (ambition, careerism) but at the root is the loss of faith. If you ask me, Francis and Cupich are prime candidates of this group.
A variation of this is, of course, the Kirchensteuer Whore.
Father has allowed himself to be entangled in a relationship. Instead of fleeing at the first signs of danger, he has consented to his sinful thoughts and has allowed them to fester. Being a “forbidden fruit”, he will attract a certain kind of woman, the “heroine of the impossible relationship” type. (No, good women do not allow themselves to be involved with a priest. Not on any circumstance. No, really. Yep. You are welcome). Father is torn between his duties to God and his earthly desires. He might or not continue the relationship, but in both cases he will start to hate the Church and her strict, but salutary, rules. “Inclusion” will start to become an issue. The “plight” of those who have betrayed a vow will be very near to him, because he has done the same. “Change” within the church will be supported. Sins of the flesh will be happily ignored. The obvious social issues will give him something to talk about. This can become so bad, that an exposed and ousted bishop has the gall to say, in his defence, that at least he did not talk about sexual morality. You couldn't make it up. One's own shortcomings become the foundation of one's own morality.
This is the perverted variation of 2). Add the subtle encouragement of perversion to what I have written above, and I think you pretty much have it.
In my eyes, these factors (loss of faith and desire for popularity, at times also for the money attached to it; mistress present or past; or sexual perversion) are behind much of the senseless talk we hear today from the Pope down.
Catholic doctrine is, and has always been, crystal clear. It is, therefore, not possible that a new thinking may be attached to it now, that was never seen in the past.
On the contrary, the new thinking is the fruit of a conflict with the authentic one, and a desire to eradicate it for one's own private motives. This applies, in my eyes, to everyone of these priests irrespective of rank, because a priest of dubious morality and non-existent orthodoxy does not improve merely because his manure is spread as bishop, archbishop, Cardinal, or pope.
You should be suspicious of Francis, Kasper, Marx, Cupich, Baldisseri and all those like them, down to the “inclusive” priest in your parish. If they believed in Catholicism they would be terrified, and unable to sleep at night. Their behaviour shows that there is something very wrong with them, in their own personal life, in their own faith, and in their own attitude towards the Church.
Be suspicious. Heterodoxy happens because of personal hidden motives.