I went to Catholic school so when the media started talking about all these pedophile priests I said, "Hey, we had one of those priests." He was the one that, after basketball practice, hung out way too long in the locker room and then tried to take a bunch of us boys on an overnight fishing trip.
As far as image problems go pedophile priests are right at the top of any list. Things are so bad the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has hired a really spendy public relations firm known for handling high profile clients with big troubles, Sitrick and Co. to get the media to focus on the positive aspects of the Catholic Church. Of which there are many.
There are critics of this type of expenditure but I think the Church needs a high end/expensive firm. A less costly firm might not get it quite right, placing stories in the newspaper saying "In a recent survey up to 82% of Catholic priests report they are not pedophiles." A hollow victory at best, and certainly the kind of information that would make for an odd sounding radio campaign.
No, the best thing Sitrick and Company can do for the Catholic Church is convince the Pope to change the culture of the priesthood by dropping the celibacy thing and allowing married people to be priests. And do it before they have to sell off church property to pay for more of these molestation law suits. The irony is losing church property is one of the reasons the Church instituted celibacy in the first place. A thousand years ago, as any parent with land would want to do, many priests were deeding parish property to their sons and daughters. The Vatican saw their empire shrinking and said "No more kids. Celibacy." But today, if the Church doesn't drop their celibacy requirement they may lose what property they've got left.
That's the long-term solution. In the short-term, playing up the orphanages and hospitals and missions may help their image but if you heard a radio ad saying "The Catholic Church is The Virgin Mary/Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc. We've been holier than though for over 2000 years," you may think their A-list celebrities are pretty holy cow impressive. But they are all part of the past, their bones entombed in shrines and the religious relics Catholics have in their homes for the saintly protection they provide them and their children... from those priests who want to hang out a little too long in the locker room.