Cardinal-Designate Ladaria has hit three balls out of the ballpark. The first was his wonderful clarification on what neo-Gnosticism and neo-Pelagianism are. The second was his brilliant clarification that only men can receive Holy Orders. And the third was the "about face" Pope Francis did on inter-communion to Lutheran spouses as a reward for having married a Catholic--it isn't going to happen because it isn't a circumstance where the Lutheran spouse can't find a Lutheran Church in Germany.
In all of these, Cardinal-elect Ladaria consulted with Pope Francis and wasn't shooting from the hip as some kind of self-employed Cardinal. He had the pope's backing in other words. And that's the way it should be.
It is clear to me that Pope Francis grotesque missteps concerning many aspects of the Chilean abuse scandal and the public correction of the pope by Cardinal O'Malley has led to a certain change in Pope Francis' style. It has been a sobering experience for His Holiness.
I suspect too, that behind the scenes, Cardinals and Bishops are making known their angst about all the 1970's confusion and polarization Pope Francis has revived.
Read what a heterodox German bishop has to say about Pope Francis' stunning rejection of the corrupt and rich German Church bid to blur the lines between Catholics and Lutherans:
Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, chair of the German bishops’ ecumenism commission:
It is completely incomprehensible to me how on May 3, 2018, one still heard from Rome that the German bishops should find “a directive as close to unanimous as possible” in the question of Communion for Protestant Christians in tradition-uniting marriages, and this mandate is now – one month later – obviously revoked by Pope Francis himself. The disappointment is great for many people, the damage cannot yet be foreseen. Wounds are newly ripped open. Bitterness and resignation spread widely. While up until yesterday some individuals were pondering how we could arrive at greater unanimity, others rather have repeatedly manipulated the public and made accusations that put the contents and character of the drafted orientation guidelines in a false light. Forming an accurate impression remained out of reach for the ones most concerned, because up until now it is not permitted to see the text. But it appears that the text was leaked to certain journalists for various motives.
The pastoral guidelines, which more than three-fourths of the German bishops voted for, were perhaps the last attempt to bring about some order in this question. Perhaps the massive resistance against this had made abundantly clear, that in fact many of the people concerned have long since been practicing without further ado that which the Wurzburg Synod already 42 years ago raised in its request to the bishops for clarification and was now to be recommended: in individual cases under certain conditions, after spiritual counsel and individual decision of conscience, to receive Communion.
Even Cardinal Woelki can live with this pastoral praxis – as one heard repeatedly from him. But he fights – this makes no sense to me – against putting this possibility into words. It would definitely be more honest than more or less holding to a double standard: setting the highest possible standards for reception of Communion, or maintaining the impossibility of receiving, but at the same time knowing of numerous exceptions and freely tolerating them. Because for decades the bishops have not been capable, or – as once again now – have been prevented from finding helpful and responsible solutions, obviously a paradigm shift has come about. It seems that the days are gone in which one still understood and observed rules, for many are no more included to act thus, but seek out their own solutions. But for this one needs, instead of prohibitions, leadership, recommendations, and orientation helps that point out paths and form consciences. When even this is prevented, there remains only the encouragement of Pope Francis in this connection: “Talk to the Lord and go forward.”
Bishop Gerhard Feige
Translation Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB