However, Archbishop Burke points out that bishops are not subordinate to the Conference of Bishops, and have every right to act independently in union with the Pope. In fact, Burke indicates that bishops may often have a serious duty to act independent of their bishops' conference.
Burke stated, 'I suppose that what is involved here is the question of a bishop's relationship to the conference of bishops. I think in some people's minds there's a notion that has developed which I think is wrong and also I think damages very much the exercise of the episcopal office. And that is that a bishop cannot take action in such a question even if he is convinced in his conscience that he must, without it first being studied by the conference of bishops, and there being some kind of action taken at the conference level. If we follow that line, then in any kind of really critical question of pastoral direction or correction, the individual bishop anymore doesn't act - and that's harmful to the flock.'