Damian Thompson (The Telegraph, July 29, 2013)
... my first reaction to the aerial shot of Copacabana beach was to think: this is perhaps the moment when the stereotype of the Catholic Church as a nest of lying hypocrites and child abusers will finally begin to fade....I can hear someone saying: "Wouldn't it be nice if the Church could just go back to being normal again?!" Ummmmmmm. No.
It is one thing for the Church to face hostility because it challenges fashionable and comfortable ways of life; quite another for it to become synonymous with evil. If Pope Francis can create an atmosphere where Catholics are judged by their actions today rather than by the abhorrent crimes of a minority of their clergy, then even the most staunch traditionalist will be in his debt.
Wake up, my friend. There is no "normal." Not for the Church. The Church is a remedial institution whose existence is made necessary only by the historical accident of the Fall. It exists to save sinners. It is governed on earth by sinners. It is protected by divine Providence from error and is thus infallible in her doctrines; but it is not impeccable. Thus, the Church may be, in any given era, more healthy or ailing, because of the fidelity or infidelity of her custodians; but there will never be a "normal" for the Church in human history.
[Hat tip to JM]