“Bishops are answerable to the Pope, not to one another.”
So this leads me to believe that the Pope and the Vatican is taking a “hands off” position on whether refusing communion to pro-choice politicians should be enforced or not.
“So this leads me to believe that the Pope and the Vatican is taking a hands off position on whether refusing communion to pro-choice politicians should be enforced or not.”
The pope is not a micromanager.
He encourages bishops to do their job in their own territory.
Over recent years Rome has attempted to clarify this rule and make it more forceful - less likely to be misinterpetated.
Stubborn bishops who refuse to take the hint get “dealt” with differently according to their situation.
Many of these guys are approaching their 75th birthday where they are required to submit their resignation for the pope’s approval.
Some bishops have been moved around, or have been assigned a co-bishop (not the formal name - but same idea)
It is the last resort to publicly shame a bishop, and the church always reacts slowly.
Actually they don’t even report to the Pope, in the manner in which you probably imagine. A bishop is absolute ruler within his bishopric. The pope can’t just tell a bishop to do something, or not to do something, and then be able to enforce it. The pope is “first among equals’ among the bishops.
Now, the pope has a lot of power. If that bishop wants to ever have any hope of a more prestigious diocese, or to have influence in getting his guys appointed bishop, or any number of other things that the pope can dispense, he has to at least pretend to do as Papa requires. And the longer the Pope is in power the more of “his guys” get appointed giving him more power. Indeed, the Pope shapes the church after he is gone because so many of the men voting for the next pope are appointed by him.
(Please allow me a seven-syllable sigh.......) Not exactly.
The question would be, what kind of enforcement is necessary and possible? The Church is obviously a voluntary organization. It has no secular enforcement arm; and even where penalties are incurred, the penalties are spiritual or ecclesiastical, not such things as fines, imprisonment, being put in the stocks for public derision (though some of that strikes me as being increasingly appropriate...)
In the organizational sense, every bishop is supposed to take care of his own diocese. He can't be voted out, nor can the Pope just "fire" him.
I would love to see some full-fledged, dramatic, public, Bell, Book and Candle excommunications. (Of course, I'm one who considers the penitent Emperor Henry IV falling to his knees before Gregory VII in the snow of Canossa (1077) as one of the high points of European history.)
But I'm afaid it would just strike most of the general public as "too medieval" and garner for the offenders an undeserved glory as "Noble Rebels Against Popish Oppression."
Know what I mean?
Nevertheless, with good-guy Raymond Burke heading the canonical court in Rome, and good-guy Benedict approving, you will see more and stronger action in coming months, I'm sure. It's up to us Christifideles Laici --- Christ's Faithful People ---to keep on prayin' ...and keep on pushin'...