A FRIEND draws my attention to the following article by an Orthodox priest:
...the Orthodox would be delighted for His Holiness of Rome, repudiating what we regard as the errors attendant on his recent understanding of his ministry, to take once again his rightful place as the ranking spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church (a position that the patriarch of Constantinople has held since the separation of Rome from Orthodoxy in the 11th century).
To Orthodox Christians, such a "solution" to the problem would seem very attractive. In fact, however, one fears that it would be no solution at all. Such a weakening of the papacy would be an utter disaster for the Roman Catholic Church as it is currently constituted. To many of us outside that institution, it appears that the single entity holding the Roman Catholic Church together right now is probably the strong and centralized office of the pope.
This sobering and, in my opinion, deadly accurate view really should send icy fingers up our collective Roman spine. At the end of a thousand years of the "Roman Adventure" the unity of the Catholic Church is reduced to a legal fiction, sleeping between the covers of the Catechism and a million parish registers; it is almost nowhere effectively operative at the level of faith and worship. Without the central-beaureaucratic Papacy it would crumble at the touch. This is not the "Oneness" of the Creed, nor of any ecclesiology worthy of the name. Historically too, it's absolutely true that once a dictatorship has been erected and citizenship defined solely in terms of obedience to it, any subsequent weakening at the centre will set in motion, ineluctably, the disintegration of the state.
Having choked off Sacred Tradition, the "living Magisterium" is itself now in retreat - leaving some, like Protestants, with scripture alone and most of the remainder prey to a kind of "magisterial fundamentalism" that reduces the content and practice of the faith to following the Pope (forgetting that a Rock ought not to be "going" anywhere).