Fr Aidan Nichols, it would seem, has recently advocated some sort of canonical restraint on the ability of the Papacy unilaterally to alter or modify perennial doctrine. “It may be that the present crisis of the Roman magisterium,’ he says (referring to the anxieties over Amoris Laetitia) ‘is providentially intended to call attention to the limits of the papacy [in matters of doctrine].
Perhaps it might be possible to erect such restraints – I am no canon lawyer. But experience in the Church of England does not bode well.
There it was enacted that the General Synod (originally conceived as an administrative convenience) should not promulge any doctrine or practice contrary to that of the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.
The question naturally then arose: who decides what is the doctrine and practice of those two books. And – of course – the answer was the General Synod!