Pope Francis is now effectively at war with the Vatican. If he wins, the Catholic Church could fall apart
So having gone down a path that had a dead end to begin with (he cannot change moral teaching), he has two options: 1) admit he never should have gone down the path, 2) admit he can't change the teaching.
However, there is a third, and I admit I didn't think he would do this: PUNT. He's going to give the episcopal conferences the authority to decide for themselves. This gets himself off the hook and (like a good liberal) he gets to say "I tried" so he can stay popular.
The only problem is that if the pope knows he cannot change moral teaching then certainly bishops can't either. He knows this.
I have a feeling the Holy Spirit will intervene soon. Either He will give him the grace to do the right thing - as he did for Paul VI on the eve of his penning Humanae Vitae (Paul VI had been intimating that the teaching on contraception would change), or we will soon have a new pope.
Of course there is a third way: THE END. Make sure you're ready.
Note: This is just a superstition I suppose but how many remember the many allusions to the prophecy of St. Malachi after Ratzinger was elected and chose the name "Benedict." The prophecy was that the next pope after Benedict would be the last one.
You will note that in the prophecy the name of the last pope will be "Peter the Roman." I remember laughing all of this off when I first heard about it back in 2005 when Benedict took his name which connected to "glory of the olive." But now we have Francis, who refuses to call himself anything other than "Bishop of Rome." Peter = Francis. Peter of Rome. Peter the Roman. Hmmm.