During the Extraordinary Synod on the family there was much talk in the Catholic Church of giving local Conferences of Bishops authority to exercise pastoral discretion to suit the cultural conditions in which they minister. How, sympathetic souls asked, would this operate in practice?
Look no further than the Anglican Communion, and take recent developments in Scotland by way of example. The Scottish Episcopal Church – on a good Sunday about the size of a small English diocese – has voted to embrace same sex marriage. (It will take a second vote before it becomes law, but that is thought to be a foregone conclusion.)
Already this is having repercussions in England. There is talk of gay Anglican couples crossing the border to have Church weddings in Episcopal churches. The pressure is on. The vote, which is a gift to the LGBT lobby in the CofE, inevitably exacerbates tensions in the English General Synod, and in the wider Anglican Communion.
It is not hard to predict the outcome. As so often in these matters, the tail will, in the end, succeed in wagging the dog.