the Church refused to come out and tell the flock in clear, direct terms “you should not vote for this man!”
The Church is not permitted by the State to do that, or it will lose it’s tax exempt status.
What the Church did do is tell it’s flock what is impermissible (ie- abortion). Obviously, half the “flock” did not listen.
What the Church really needs to do is give up that tax exempt status and go all the way. If it really means it, then really say it. Problem is that very many Catholics are enamored with the Progressive’s stance on economic and social justice.
Bottom line is the R’s can’t count on the Catholic vote, not they ever have; historically, Catholics have mostly been Dems. The hard core Pro-Lifer’s are Republicans, the other half are Dems, and nearly always have been.
It seems to me that the Catholic church has lost much of its credibility due to it's lack of morally-motivated action, both internally and externally, sometimes even helping the guilty.
As an example, the Catholic church does not excommunicate political members who advocate abortion (Pelosi, IIRC).