The Roman Catholic Church is learning the impact of scandal on the tolerance of believers.  A recent Gallup poll in the US  “found that 37 percent of respondents said ‘recent news about sexual abuse of young people by priests’ has them personally questioning whether to remain Catholic — a 15 point increase since 2002.”  The results were predictable.  The issue affecting every level of male clergy from Cardinal to parish priest has struck at the heart of an image of dedication and holiness.  It makes no difference whether a minority of malefactors caused the problem. The entire body of the Church is smeared.  It will take decades to dig out of this crisis and regain a semblance of moral stature.  It might take generations.  Meanwhile, the faithful who remain must endure questioning, suspicion and mockery.  Perhaps Church authorities have learned that transparency is best.  Secrecy has caused a meltdown of historic proportions.  Surely, the pope, cardinals and bishops understand that?

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