Hitchens makes a strong case for us seriously considering arresting the Pope. Johan Hari makes a slightly more shouty one (at 3 minutes in). Dawkins has some stupdly ad-hominem comments (“leering old villain in a frock” is a classic quote, but doesn’t help the discussion).

It has taken me a while to get into the detail (loads on Wikipedia, for example), and there are some troubling issues there. While the Crimen Sollicitationis document from the 60s shows evidence of trying to hide evidence of abuse, it does seem clear that not many people knew it existed. The Beast File has a selection of similar discussions throughout the history of the Catholic Church. The more recent 2001 document suggesting that any abuse claims are subject to the pontifical secret (e.g. you can’t talk to the police without excommunication) is more troubling.

The summary seems to be this: a number of Popes, including the current one, directly instructed their subordinates to conceal evidence of known child abuse. If we substituted “Head Teacher” for “Pope”, we would say this is worthy of a criminal charge. Why shouldn’t it be for the Pope as well?