The bishops in the US are pushing public relations:
The bishops’ public relations campaign is still in the early stages but tentative plans include appointing a high-profile, always-on-call spokesman and creating a more active presence on Twitter and Facebook. Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City also announced the launch of a private social network for bishops only – a sort of Facebook of the magisterium.
And Cardinal O’Malley as well:
O’Malley said the nun dispute is about the specific activities of the Leadership Conference, not about US nuns at large.
“I feel terrible that these difficulties between the [Leadership Conference] and the Holy See have come across as being any kind of indictment of women religious in this country,’’ he said. “That’s not true. I think we have nothing but affection for them.’’
And, he said, it is unfair to link any of the recent clashes between the church hierarchy and individual women or women’s groups: The Vatican’s rebuke of the Leadership Conference; the condemnation of a sexual ethics book written by Sister Margaret Farley, a retired Yale Divinity School theologian; or the US bishops’ decision to investigate the Girl Scouts of America.
Ok, they have to work on their public relations. They have been criticized for not treating women respectfully and one of the solutions is to have a private social network only for bishops–who are all men, of course. O’Malley does know how to spin though. All of the things he mentions are related, they’re examples of the Church trying to reimpose their power. The last couple popes have been trying to make the Church more conservative and to regain its old influence which means respecting the lines of authority from the Pope down. Women are not near the top of the power structure in the Church so they’re going to be hit more and it’s also why you see the Church pushing against governments more forcefully (such as with the contraception silliness and their high-profile campaign against gay marriage in England).