Tonight's episode of 60 Minutes included a feature on Archbishop Dolan, the Archbishop of New York that many people say is the best candidate for an American Pope in the near future. It was an interesting interview; he's a very gregarious guy, and it's not hard to see why he has risen so high in the church.
Much of the interview dealt with his "very conservative" views on the major politically controversial views held by the Church (homosexual marriage, female clergy, abortion, etc.). His reply was: "Instead of being hung up on these headline issues, let's get back to where the church is at her best."
Interesting response; I would be curious to hear his views on where the church is best. More than that, though, is it's a very good point. The Catholic Church, and religion in general, does so much more than usually gets discussed; we get hung up on specific policies and all the "Thou Shalt Not" language, and forget about helping people grow spiritually and emotionally.
But it's also a response that cuts both ways. He's essentially saying, "forget about this issue so we can focus on the important stuff". Well, fine, but in the face of pervasive and radical social change, why is it the congregation that must forget about it rather than the church?
These issues have become distractions. They steal focus and resources from the things we should be focusing on. It says something about the Church that they point to the debate around these issues as a distraction, but continue funding it.