There's a really interesting article by Peter Hitchens here about people's response to the Pope's visit. It's well worth a read - here's the section that struck me most...
The special condemnation reserved for the Romish church also suggests, absurdly, that such horrors never took place, or were covered up by, liberal secular institutions. They did, and have been. Yet this is never advanced as an argument against the secular liberal state (and it would be a bad argument, if it were).
The sex scandal is not, as it happens, the real reason for the anger directed against the Bishop of Rome. If it were, then the undoubted case against the Roman Catholic hierarchy could be made without all the puce-faced exaggerations, straightforward lies and total lack of proportion which infect it. It is overblown precisely because it is not the true issue, but a pretext.
This is what it is really about: the sons and daughters of the sexual revolution, the inheritors of 1968, are actively infuriated by anyone who dares to suggest that their behaviour in their personal lives might be, or might ever have been, selfish and absolutely wrong