Remember back in 2000?

…when American politicians and lay Catholics slavishly followed everything the American bishops had to say. Boy, those were the days. All a bishop had to do was say, “Jump!” and American Catholics reflexively responded, “How high?” Yessirree! In the good old days, before the Scandal, American Catholics *respected* their bishops and American politics paid close attention to their teaching.

At least, in the alternative history universe from which the New York Times writes. In my universe, the American bishops have largely been get-along go-along bureaucrats that nobody paid attention to for decades. The Scandal did not rob them of moral authority. It showed why this hapless bench of bishops have been the sort of people nobody (even a child rapist) needed to worry about listening to for about 30 years.