If I may point out one essential difference between the protestant vs catholic experience of their respective scandals: in their case the institutional response was too one-sided with the alleged victim over and against their paid and ordained staff. I personally can remember ministers who were ridden out of town when they were found to be be without the support of their employer in the face of such allegations, even when they were later proven to be unfounded. And by God, it was splashed across the pages of local papers on a regular basis from coast to coast so often that they no longer warranted coverage by the national media.
We Catholics on the other hand, have been found culpable of dealing with these same sorts of matters in a deceitful and harmful manner, both in terms of permitting those accused to "retreat, repent and return", all in secrecy, so that any one would have to have had virtual moral certitude that there were going to be future victims. This practice was wrong. This practice is bereft of any claim of being Christian. These practices resulted in untold and almost incomprehensible suffering for more children and women than any number a practicing Catholic would dare to contemplate.
There is nothing to be gained by denying the truth... and humbly I submit that what ever Catholic priests and Bishops may have intended with their actions, they were wrong, morally, scripturally and legally.
Pope John Paul said this. Pope Benedict has said this repeatedly during his American visit and elsewhere. He is the Pope who (for the first time in my lifetime that I can remember) put his moral suasion behind the call of the current Archbishop of Dublin that those Bishops implicated in such acts should resign, and all but one of them have. This is why the fall of Catholic priests garners such public notice and infamy. It's the harvest of many, many evil acts that were sown over many years. There is no surprise that these fruits taste so foul in our Catholic mouths.
But as right as it is that we should eat our bitter meal without complaint, so too can I still hope that our leaders (Bishops, priests and religious) might do what is needed to ensure a better tasting harvest in the future. The bile of these scandals grows too bitter for most Catholics to bear, especially if there is no hope for better fare in the future.
Maybe following the Irish example of a government run inquiry into the Church, might offer the antiseptic needed to cleanse again the soil so as to produce the harvest that Christ intends from us.
Then we might be able to go about our Master's business in peace as he taught us by his sacred example.
I know I'm past that point when I can claim that I am "just going grey", but hopefully I'll still be around to taste that harvest of sweet fruits promised by God and expected of those charged with the care of the vineyard.