A few months ago, I read "Catholicism in America" and, subsequently, most of the pieces of my Catholic childhood came together. Now that so much makes sense (the teachers/clergy/administrators discouraged questions and encouraged blind obedience because they thought that Vatican II never should have happened...knowing the long history, this is a logical conclusion), a lot of my anger and bitterness is gone. I pity Catholicism more and it's easier to understand wtf they're doing...except that the sex scandal will never make sense.
I've come to accept that, having spent 18 years in Catholic/Jesuit schools and coming from a very Catholic family, I'll probably always have a soft spot - or at least a few scars - for Catholicism. Sometimes, I translate catechism, the hierarchy of the Church, what they do and why to those without this long background. I'll probably never understand why Catholicism seems so alien to others (it doesn't make any logical sense to me either and it makes me uncomfortable, but it has a semblance of home)...but now I can say "Protestantism is very alien to me because it's so different from Catholicism. I expect certain things to be there and done in a certain way; without those things, Protestantism seems empty and bland...which is really ridiculous because Protestantism makes MORE SENSE to me!!"
With the current sex scandal and this shitty pope, the Church itself isn't changing THAT much but the way people (in the developed world. Don't even get me started on how successful the Church has been in brainwashing third world countries) approach Catholicism. When I read articles, particularly the recent Time magazine article, I wonder if people without 2 decades of Catholicism can read between the lines like I do.
Here: the reason why the Church has been so slow to respond - and to not really respond anyway - is because, without millions of semi-obedient people the world over, it won't exist. If things continue in this direction set by the sex scandal, the Church will have only its history and the poorest people in the world to support it...and why would they want them?! Once Catholicism came to the Americas, it shifted to rely more on foreign laymen than on clergy alone. Now, they may have to shift back in a world that doesn't have the same respect for clergy.