At the end of the Synod last year, we were left with a solid group of Orthodox prelates who were united in fighting off any watering down of the way the Church expresses her doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage.
Since then, that solidity has been buffeted by other proposals from ... well, from the same sort of people who seem to be saying that admitting the odd remarried divorcee back to Communion might be possible: the Marxians, we might say. They are that the question of priestly celibacy should be examined again, and that the prayer for the Jews composed by Pope Benedict for Extraordinary Form celebration of Good Friday should be rewritten so as not to ask for their conversion.
Now maybe I have spent too much time these holidays reading too much analysis of how the General Election last May was fought and won, but it seems to me that if I were a Marxian, faced with what was becoming an uphill struggle to get the expression of doctrine changed, I might well do something that looked as though I were opening a couple of new fronts, to distract my opponents: I might even have meditated on the old maxim divide et impera.
Add a few apparently anti-capitalist remarks and a view on global warming calculated to distract the sort of American Catholics most likely to be worried about challenges to the indissolubility of the marriage vow, and you end up splitting what had been a pretty solid opposition into lots of querulous voices arguing about lots of things at once.
Of course it might just be a coincidence: things in the Church are seldom so well organised. I'll be saying that the election of Bergoglio owed a lot to a carefully thought out campaign next!