A rather depressing but possibly true article from The Atlantic:
This was the year when the cover-up of priestly sex abuse, a long-simmering crisis for Catholicism, became something much, much bigger. It was Watergate. It was Waterloo. It was another Reformation. The pope had to apologize. No, the pope had to resign. No, the pope had to be arrested. The Church could be saved only if every bishop stepped down. No, the Church could be saved only if a Third Vatican Council was convened. No, the Church could be saved only if it became as liberal as the Episcopal Church, and quickly. No, nothing could save the Church: it was too corrupt, too compromised, too medieval, too anachronistic. And now, at last, it was finished.A little historical perspective suggests otherwise. 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 (think Nero, or Attila, or Voltaire) and still survived. Time after time, G. K. 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. And as in many previous dark chapters in the Church’s history, the leaders entrusted with that gospel have nobody to blame but themselves.
Even Fr. Z has been pushing this point: that Christ didn't guarantee that the Church would last forever in any particular place (indeed, obviously a lot of territory was lost to the Muslims during one era of history). And to me, just looking at the demographics, it is clear that the Church's future is completely in the Third World, not the Global North.
Pope Benedict can try all he wants to try to "re-evangelize" the West, and I wish him well, it will be sad to see historical Christendom so finally and definitively toppled. But, it may also be what they get for centuries of corruption and perversion.
I just fear that, in the developing world, they will, like some Harold Hill moving from town to town, go to these benighted peoples only to pull the same tricks on them, where there is less accountability for social institutions due to the underdevelopment in general.
Let's hope, instead, they'll have learned their lesson this time around...