Just noticed that this article was published by the National Catholic Reporter.
You are so right about modernists pushing to de-centralize power. Heard a caller to a radio talk show last week promoting the concept and praying that the next pope will move the church in that direction. The caller's big lament was that the parish wanted to go the route of non-inclusive language and this required approval from the Vatican; he felt it should be the decision of the bishop. Yikes! For those of us stuck in liberalized dioceses, such power in our ordinary's hands would probably kill off any faithful still remaining.
Decentralised power was something you could think about in the days before "democracy" became the organising principle of all moral, religious, and social thought. The reason it was thinkable then is that ordinary people believed in the concept of a universal faith, and looked to their priests and bishops to put them in touch with it -- not to enforce popular will from the bottom upwards. Because the popular expectations of a millennium ago are defunct, so too unfortunately must be the old model for episcopal election.