The is from Shrine of the Holy Whapping, quoting Vatican Watcher.
...the task to consider for the future will be to distinguish again and more clearly between the proper function of the successor of Peter and the patriarchal office and, where necessary, to create new patriarchates and to detach them from the Latin church.It seems that Benedict is dropping the traditional papal title "Patriarch of the West," with a view to shifting the Church in the West towards a more Eastern model of more local autonomy.
The Shrine cites one of the chief benefits of this move:
It will make the structure of the current Latin Church much more like that of the Eastern Church, with various regional centers of authority. This will ease Eastern Orthodox concerns that the Papacy, by nature, desires to usurp those functions proper to patriarchs, promoting the possibility for East-West unity. (It also indicates a change of attitude which would ease the creation of an Anglican Rite.)Hoozah! That would be terrific. One only hopes that they will speed things along, rather than running on the more typical, ecclesiastico-geological time-frame. And of course they would need to guard against the tendency that lays the Orthodox open to the perennial charge that theirs is an "ethnic" Church. I.e. if there were more local patriarchates in the West, they would need to ensure that they not be distinguished merely by ethnicity. Balancing this with a geographical distinction would be challenging.
At any rate, it sounds hopeful.