Folks imagine the Catholic church is a monolithic organization, with all bishops in lockstep conformity to the pope. In fact, each bishop is “vicar of Christ” for the local church he leads–they have the fullness of orders, and have the role of apostles. This gives a bishop tremendous freedom, and protects him both from undue interference from above as well as from interference and criticism from his brother bishops. This is part of what is behind the recent Vatican reprimand of one cardinal for daring to criticize another. It’s also why no bishops have been laicized or excommunicated for crimes of sexual abuse or covering it up.