I think what’s happening on a big scale is cover-ups. I don’t think that back in the 1960s and 70s, if a school teacher (and yes, there were plenty of male school teachers in junior high schools, high schools, and even in elementary schools if they were private, back then) abused someone, and the student or family went to the school principal, the principal would send the teacher away with a good reference, and say “just apply for an administrative job some place.” It may have been that the police were not always contacted, but nearly always, the teacher would be fired and not given any references. Further, the school administration might contact other school systems in the area, and said “Don’t hire this person.”
The church, on the other hand, would do nothing to discipline a priest when a family said their child was being abused. They’d quietly move the priest some place else, and not tell the new place what had previously happened. Now, the first new job would probably be something with limited access to children, but eventually the priest would get moved again, and again, and because there are lots of positions that involve contact with children, the priest would end up in a position with children again.
That doesn’t mean that a fired teacher never molested again, but he never did it as a teacher. He molested the kid next door, or if his new job was managing a movie theater, he molested some kid at a matinee.
Of course it was wrong that schools, and other places which knew of an abuser didn’t go to the police, but a long time ago, they probably thought that they were limiting a person’s contact with children, and that was solving the problem. The church knew that reassigning a priest meant he would eventually get back into a position of trust with families.
I’m not trying to excuse anybody: there was a lot of wrong going on. But there was wrong on a small scale, and wrong on a big scale. The church was doing wrong on a much bigger scale (and in a much more systematic way) than the wrong going on in schools, and churches with a different kind of organization-- most other churches hire their ministers the way you hire a manager at a business, as opposed to the church higher-ups just assigning someone, which is what the Roman Catholic church does.
Anyway, I think it’s the scale of cover-up that was shocking to people. It wasn’t just an individual priest who had violated people’s trust, but the institutional church. When a teacher abused a child, the teacher violated the child’s trust, and if it was reported to the principal, or superintendent, and the administrator discouraged the family from going to the police, the child’s trust was violated at a higher level, but not so high as when the entire Roman Catholic church in the US seems to be working against you. A devout Catholic would not feel safe anywhere.
Then, there are a lot of non-Catholics in the US with some very anti-Catholic sentiments, who probably are happy to dwell on the RCC-child abuse scandal, because to them, it exemplifies what it wrong with the Catholic church.