There was a time when the reaction times of the Church was very slow. A heresy would pop out somewhere in Europe and it was year before a meaningful reaction came. Still, the apparent slowness was a result of the slowness of the communications of the time, and the difficulty in getting and checking information. The slowness of movement also made the rest, with travel slow, expensive and dangerous in a way we today can not even easily imagine.
It is, therefore, understable in those tomes the Church reaction to worrying and ptentially heretical development was measured in years.
Please compare, though, with the world of today. A bunch of heretic German clergymen defies the very foundation of sound Catholicism on both contraception and abortion, and the news is all over the panet in a matter of hours. Never could heresy spread so easily and so fast, never was it -because of the unprecedented global interconnection – so important that heretical movement of simply confusing statements be stopped as fast as possible.
What is there to stop the relevant deciders from acting? Do they have the need for months of verification, waiting for carefully selected people to travel to Germany, comes back hopefully alive, and report about what thwrey themselves have heard? Nowadays heretical statements can be read not only from verbatim reports in the newspapers – which, if not denounced as wrong in a matter of hours, can be safely considered truthful – but in many cases can even be read in the web site of cardinals, bishops and bidhops’ conferences themselves! What is there to proof?
Then there is the extreme multiplying factor of social networks: an heretical statement will nowadays be retweeted with extreme rapidity, spreading like wildfire exactly among those most interested in reading, spreading and manipulating heresy.
What does the Vatican do to react o this? Nothing.
For example, the Pope has a twitter account followed by a vast number of people. If a heretical statement starts to spread, nothing is better than Twitter to stop it from spreading. Two or three strategic twits explaining in few statement what the Church teaches, and announcing further action in the matter would immediately alert the Catholic world that a problem has been seen and corrected for the moment, whilst further meaures will be taken in due time (which means: very soon).
The sad reality of our days is that Twitter is used to post pious platitudes instead, perpetuating the Vatican II image of Popes without power or bite.
If you think, though, that the Vatican is slow because the Pope and the Cardinals are old, You should think again. When they want, the reaction is rather fast, and rather sharp. Cue the rather whining press release of today, with which Vatican officials openly complain about attempt made by the press to influence the workings of the Conclave. Whilst it is not said explicitly, it is obvious the crux of the matter is the loud cry to adk hat Mahony and Daneels (Mahony at the very least) be asked by the Pope to please “renounce” to take part to the Conclave; a cry which started to mount only in the last days, and took a couple to get traction in the first place.
You see, then, that the old men in the Vatican are alert at all times, and not shy of a fast reaction when they consider the matter burning.
Heresy and open disobedience are, therefore, not burning issues and not worthy of prompt actions. Calls to disallow the one or other cardinal from taking part to the conclave are. The German bishops are openly simoniacal like a man, and several monhs later we are still waiting from a reaction from the German Pope; a reaction which, in this like in too many other matters, will now never come.
Welcome to The wonderful world of Vatican II, and let us truly pray the next Pope will be a holy man of action.