There's a reason why the early Catholic Church fought tooth and nail to keep the Bible out of the hands of the laity. It's the same reason why priests once celebrated mass with their backs turned to worshippers and mumbled their prayers and magical incantations in an unfamiliar language (dead, dead Latin). Enlightened believers could only spell trouble for the Vatican's make-it-up-as-they-went religious dogma. As is the case with most organized religions around the planet, keeping the sheeple in line requires keeping the sheeple uninformed.
Definitions of what constitutes "heresy" and "sin" have evolved considerably over the centuries as various ecclesiastical councils and synods slowly adapted to the times. Fasting on Fridays, selling indulgences, slavery, papal dispensations to marry relatives (available, willy-nilly and often for a price, to the nobility), and a ban on the study of astronomy are just five examples of, ahem, fluid Catholic doctrine.
In the fifteenth century, papal inquisitors developed ingenious methods for inflicting agony on their fellow human beings. Horrific acts that would have confounded the bloodthirsty state torturers of the Ch'in Dynasty were perfected and joyously administered on anybody who dared question the authority of Mother Church. (Merely standing in the way of a wealthy prelate's rise to power could lead to trumped up charges of blasphemy.) They did this in part to combat the protestant reformation which was sweeping Europe. I say "in part" because the Holy See was just as likely to sanction the torture of non-Christians who didn't fall in line with the "true faith." The Roman Catholic Church now frowns upon torture - except perhaps in the context of altar boys (and prepubescent girls, who will make up the next generation of abuse victims as their stories receive notice). But just glance back into the shade of yeasteryear and you'll find a religious institution that routinely resorted to torture in order to maintain its control over society.
The current pontiff keeps saying how appalled he is by his underlings' systematic molestation of children and the subsequent coverup of the crimes - but the fact is, it's a sort of "I'm sorry I was caught" contrition that turns the stomachs of humanists and advocates for child welfare. Pope Benedict XVI no doubt wishes the ongoing scandals would simply go away since it's been shown that as Prefect for the Doctrine of Faith, then Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger used his unique authority to shield more than a few deviant priests from justice.
In the Pope's yearly address to his cardinals and bishops, the clueless Benedict/Ratzy suggested that the church's pedophilia problem could be blamed on moral relativism - this comes after 12 months of blaming everything but the fishes in the sea for the monstrous behavior of those warped "men of the cloth." Ed Brayton writes on Dispatches From The Culture Wars: Governments around the world today take pedophilia and child molestation far more seriously than they ever have before. That's why we've seen laws passed that require anyone in a position of authority over children - teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, etc - to report any evidence of such abuse to law enforcement on penalty of punishment if they fail to do so. There is only one institution in the entire world that has firmly resisted such laws and refused to comply with them - the Catholic Church. And it was Benedict himself, as Cardinal Ratzinger, who ordered all cardinals and bishops not to cooperate with the police when a priest was caught molesting children but to treat it as an internal church matter...
The only one showing any moral relativism on this issue is you, Mr. Ratzinger. The rest of the world has left you far behind on this moral question. (And others, it goes without saying.)
Despite its gruesome past and an unwholesome present, the Catholic Church might still achieve a degree of legitimacy with the installment of progressive leaders and a determination to take responsibility for its own sins. That's unlikely to happen, however, while this current pontiff's ass is planted on St. Peter's throne.