Some Catholics are reportedly going to Protestant churches because of the Scandal. It’s to be expected. The state of the average person’s knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith is appalling. Most people, if pressed, could only give the most feeble reasons for being Catholic in the first place. If their connection to the Catholic Church is that tenuous to begin with, it’s not surprising that it is broken so easily.
Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter. I’m not saying that the shepherd didn’t deserve his fate, but some scattering is an almost inevitable consequence.
But, I am certain that the Church in the US will emerge from the Scandal stronger, if leaner. In times of persecution, the Church is winnowed, but the faith grows stronger. Even if that persecution is justified—in this case it is self-inflicted—you can expect that some will cling harder to their faith and some will lose it.
The Scandal is evil, no doubt about it, but God will use the opportunity for good. Just as he used the opportunity of the evil of the Roman persecutions to lay the foundation of the faith, so too will we see the Church strengthened because those who remain in the Church after all this will have their faith challenged, and if it passes, strengthened.