And at this point, we should wonder whether in fact there is something wicked at work in the very idea of a national conference of bishops. The very idea harkens back to the revolt of the English Church. Once bishops obtained a national consciousness in England, they chose the sovereign of England as the head of their Church.
And that is what all national conferences of Catholic bishops seem to do — meet with each other and slowly debate whether to go Anglican. It’s almost as if there is some spiritual principle at work in this. The German bishops gather together, and they stop representing the authority of the Church to Germany and instead seek to convert the Church to whatever it is they think might fit and appease the German public. The same is true in America. My own view is that long before the pope takes up the case of President Joe Biden, he should ask all national conferences of bishops to simply disband.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is, by its own understanding of the Church’s theology, powerless. It has no duties or powers, except those that the bishops deem to exercise individually through their individual offices. That almost seems to be the point.