It strikes me that so much of the Irish problem stems from its emphasis on the local Church. Willie Walsh, possibly the most pastoral bishop in Ireland, infamously said he threw everything from Rome into the wastebin. One of the criticism of the bishops in the Pope’s letter is that they didn’t follow canonical procedures, the accusations against the young Cardinal Brady imposing oaths of silence on children seems to suggest law being made up on the hoof by local bishops.
In order to solve the problems of the local Church there is the necessary intervention of the Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of the Universal Church.
Having re-read the Pope’s Letter, what he is actually saying is: without this National Mission, I don’t have confidence in you, not only do I think you are incompetent, unlearned, the fruit of a hermeneutic of rupture, separated from the mainstream Church but also, faithless. He is sending them to boot camp!
I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.In the light of this, the Apostolic Administration seems not just about correcting error but presumably about finding replacements outside of the Irish "magic circle".
The trouble is I don’t think the Irish “magic circle” is the only one.