The Church has been horrifyingly corrupt in previous eras and still survived. It’s been led by ecclesiastics who make Bernard Law’s hands look clean, and still survived. It’s faced fiercer enemies than Richard Dawkins and still survived. Time after time, Chesterton wrote, ‘the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs.’ Each time, ‘it was the dog that died.’ But if the Church isn’t finished, period, it can still be finished for certain people, in certain contexts, in certain times. And so it is in this case: for millions in Europe and America, Catholicism is probably permanently associated with sexual scandal, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ross Douthat, in a little piece for this month’s Atlantic’s ‘Ideas’ feature.