A New York Times opinion piece yesterday says the US bishops have lost their moral authority and voice and it’s mainly because of the Scandal. I beg to differ. The bishops have not been able to move Catholic voters or politicians as a bloc or assert their will in any meaningful way since, probably, the Legion of Decency days. When was the last time, the bishops came out with a strong statement that motivated a majority of Catholics to do anything? Perhaps the last great exercise of their lobbying power was during the first debate over a ban on partial-birth abortion. When that failed, their lack of political capital was readily apparent. And during subsequent debates, they were hardly heard. There were certainly no more photo ops of all 8 US cardinals standing with congressional leaders demanding the infanticide procedure be banned.
No, the Scandal is responsible for many things, but it did not cause the US bishops to lose their moral authority and voice. It just revealed the underlying evidence and causes for that loss to begin with.