There seem to be some parallels between the Climategate affair of a few months ago and the current attacks on the Pope.
In both cases strong accusations have been launched in the Press without much background research and without the attacked parties being allowed to defend themselves.
A US senator even wanted some climate scientists to be charged with misusing federal funds. Professor Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens want the Pope charged with crimes against humanity.
Even if the accusations are refuted the mud will stick. It would seem that most people now believe that climate change is a myth perpetrated by a conspiracy of scientists (see the Guardian editorial of 15 April), and that the Pope is primarily responsible for concealing the abuse of children by Catholic priests.
In both cases there are powerful financial interests driving these attacks. In the former it is companies with vested interests in the production and consumption of fossil fuels. In the latter it is lawyers desiring to obtain massive damages from the Vatican for their clients. In neither case is the truth the interests' primary concern.