My initial reaction to Austen Ivereigh’s assertion that a cabal of converts is seeking to subvert Pope Francis’s programme was wonderment that anyone could be certain in this loquacious pontificate what that programme might be.

But I was wrong. A pattern is emerging and it is one of fragmentation. The Holy Father, it seems, is bent on what one might call the Balkanization of the Church.

In the certain knowledge that some national churches or individual bishops would not follow suit, Francis has given encouragement, in the aftermath of Amoris Laetitia, to those who intend to take a liberal (or as he would say ‘merciful’) line on the admission of divorced persons to Holy Communion.

Now he has extended the role of episcopal conferences in the preparation of local language translations of the liturgy.

The effect of such action, if it continues into other spheres, will be to reverse the policy of Benedict XVI, which was to deny any such role to episcopal conferences, and to affirm the primacy, historically and ontologically, of the Universal Church.

Those of us in the Ordinariates cannot but view this Balkanization (or Anglicanization) of the Catholic Church as a recipe for disintegration and ultimate schism and decline.

Current popular Papolatry does not mitigate but, paradoxically, assists this process.

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