This is how Fr Tim summarises it:
Dominic Scarborough has written an article for Catholic World Report Outside the Magic Circle which is subtitled "Tension builds between the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and orthodox Catholics." He looks at the way in which the BCEW presents a common front on every issue, the ostracism of Bishop O'donoghue, the Soho Masses, the designation of "Taliban Catholics", and the response to Summorum Pontificum. It is an interesting article in that we all know this stuff but having it set out clearly in Catholic World Report is a step forwardFor my part, because their works and actions are so secret I never know quite what the Bishops as a Conference are saying and doing, and what Ecclesdon Square and the CES are doing and saying in their name.
Una Voce have published, or maybe it has been leaked, their report on Summorum Pontificum which was prepared for the Pope and presented to Cardinal Canizares an abridged version of its special report sent by its presidency to the Holy Father on the third anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. The section dealing with British Hierarchies makes interesting reading, there is praise but on the whole it is pretty sad. It speaks of priests being intimidated, the desires of the laity being ignored and the wishes of the Pontiff being frustrated.
Again there seems to be quite a gulf between the Bishops and Rome, and consequently priests and laity who support their own reading of what Rome is saying feel a distance from their own diocesan bishop or local episcopal conference.
The bishops are not the Pope's altar boys, it is not their role simply to slavishly implement every directive that comes from the Holy See. The Pope is the servant not the master of the Church. Since the Apostle Paul's rebuking Peter to his face there is a necessary tension within the Church.
However, Paul always seeks communion with Peter. The problem for many traditionally minded Catholics is that there is a sense in which they are torn between loyalty to Peter and their local bishop. The post VII debate about the standing of the local Church and the universal Church characterised by the very public conversation between Kaspar and Ratzinger was more or less settled by the 2005 conclave in which the Cardinals elected the latter to the throne of Peter.
The problem today is that we hear Peter more clearly than the local bishop. We know what the Pope teaches and we trust his authority often much more than we know what our own local bishops teach and so often it is too easy to dismiss local bishops teaching as "merely personal opinion", often because it is merely that, rather than being deeply rooted in the Catholic faith.
The exraordinary thing about the Catholic Church is that what holds us in communion with it is nothing more than Love, ultimately, here is the Mystery of the Church, an affection between individuals. It is a familial realationship symbolised by the bishops ring is bridegroom to his Church and Father to his clergy and people. If a bishop lacks the personal qualities of affection and concern for his priests and people, communion with him suffers, similarly if he appears to lack affection for those things his people hold dear, like God or the deposit of Faith, for example.
It is certainly difficult for people to have affection for an anonymous committee such as an episcopal conference; it is perhaps easier today to love the Pope and to be in communion with him because, through the media, we know him. The old scholastic adage, "one cannot love what one does not know" is as true of bishops as it is of God or one's spouse.