Historian says scandal sapped strength of Catholic witness in US
CWN – July 30, 2012
Historian Philip Jenkins suggests that the Catholic Church might be opening new parishes all over America today, if not for the devastating financial impact of the sex-abuse scandal.
Jenkins argues convincingly that Catholic prelates have been hampered in their public role as teachers on some critical issues—particularly on same-sex marriage—because the scandal made it so uncomfortable for Church leaders to speak out on issues involving human sexuality (and so easy for their critics to question the bishops’ standing as moral arbiters). But the historian goes on to suggest that the early 21st century might have seen a new expansion of Catholic influence, if not for the lawsuits that sapped the strength of so many dioceses. “One result of the crisis, then, is the catastrophic weakening of the nation’s wealthiest religious body.”
Additional sources for this story: The Church Boom That Never Happened (RealClear Religion) www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2012/07/24/the_church_boom_that_never_happened.html