The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops was at its peak of being the "toast of the town" for progressives in the Church and liberals in American politics in the 1980's. As a conference, the USCCB was its most powerful self.
Because it wasn't dealing exclusively with areas in the competence of bishops, but with politics. They were issuing documents on war and peace, on nuclear disarmament and a number of other hot button liberal/progressive issues. These issues have many gray areas and aren't just black and white issues although the USCCB presented them as such as they did also with church architecture in the 1980's.
I was much more liberal following my ordination in 1980 than I am now. And I swallowed the USCCB's documents hook, line and sinker and presented these documents in adult religious education classes in my first parish in Albany, GA. I soon learned that most in my classes (sometimes up to 40 and 50 adult parishioners) were not on board with our bishops' liberal politics and take on what the government and military should do.
I soon discovered that "bread and butter" Catholics in the know, meaning they were in the military, i.e. Marines and the like, took great exception to what our bishops were teaching.
But worse, while the USCCB was dabbling in liberal politics and becoming the "toast of the town" and proclaiming the Catholic moment, they were covering up grave moral issues in their ranks and the priesthood in general. And by the late 1990's and certainly by 2002, they were no longer the "toast of the town, but toast."
The same thing is happening under Pope Francis. Liberals/progressives, be they Catholics or those who love politics tout Pope Francis as the "toast of the town" because of his shift from the so-called "self-referential" Church to the Church that looks out and embraces with mercy those who are excluded be it because of poverty, sexual orientation or whatever the hot-button issue of the day is.
And when it comes to Global Warming, certainly the papal magisterium is competent to tell secular society what needs to be done to stop it. It is like telling God how to stop the "ice age!"
I love ecology, not because I am a Catholic, although I like it when the Church encourages ecologists to do their job, but not tell them what to do, but because I think we should take care of the earth, not litter or pollute and the rest of it. Atheism would promote such a thing and good for them.
But under Pope Francis we are seeing what happens when what is competent to the pope or the bishops isn't addressed properly or in a timely fashion. But things that they have no competence or mandate is reaised to dogma. In the early 2000's it was the priestly sexual scandals long swept under the carpet by bishops. Then it morphed into the bishops' cover-up and that the bishops as well as offending priests should be prosecuted.
Today, we see the Vatican embroiled in all of this with bishops who have abused minors and adult men under their charge in a homosexual way and it being covered up and bishops named cardinals who should never have been named given what was known about their history: i.e. Cardinal McCarrick.
Cardinal McCarrick seems to be the tipping point leading Pope Franics who has completely and inadequately dealt with the "gay" problem in the Church (like in Chile) having his "coming to Jesus moment" when Cardinal O'Malley publicly corrected His Holiness. Is flippant statement "who am I to judge" has come back to bite him hard.
Isn't it time for the pope to move away from 1970's thinking and Catholic moments and being more concerned about the "hen house" and not letting the wolves and foxes take it over and less concerned about things not in His Holiness' mandate?
Isn't it time for Pope Benedict's renewal in continuity with the best of the pre-Vatican II Church having been tossed out of the Church in the drunken euphoria of the "spirit of Vatican II"? Yes, there was some bath water in the pre-Vatican II Church but nothing like the swamp in the post-VAtican II Church.
Seeking to be the toast of the town with the secular world and progressive politics always leads the Church to becoming "toast!"