THE ROOT OF THE DIFFERENCE
I think the basic difference between how I see things and how Mr. Drehere sees things, is that I think the hierarchy is a neccesary ally in the culture war, while Mr. Dreher sees it as a hindrance.
So, when Cardinal Martino makes a statement like that, his instinct is to distance himself (and American Catholics) from it, since it makes us look foolish. It's an oppurtunity for a "Sister Souldiah moment", so to speak. My instict is to defend the kernel of moral truth in the statement so that the hierarchy will suffer (greater) loss of credibility.
Why do we see things this way? If I can engage in some armchair psychology, I think it might be because Mr. Dreher arrived at the Catholic positions on life issues without the hierarchy's help, whereas I had to bend my will in the the face of the hierarchy's teachings. So, I see the hierarchy as a valuable instrument of teaching, and Mr. Dreher just sees it getting in the way.
Mr. Dreher was also privy to more details of the abuse scandals than I was, so that probably led to a dimmer view of the hierarchy.