These days, you almost can't go a day without hearing about the child abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. In fact, the corruption goes all the way from the priests to the pope himself. No doubt there are many honest, decent clergymen within the church, it is to be noted that the corruption is all the way through the institution. For how long child abuse has been rampant within Catholicism is anyone's guess, but we do know that there virtually hasn't been a single period within the history of the church that hasn't been involved in some kind of appalling practice, and at some points in history they have been involved in several at once.
Let's look at a brief history of the church.
The institution of the church wasn't set up until the beginning of the 4th century C.E. up until that point they had been the victims of some severe persecution from the Romans, under the reign of: Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Septimus Severus, Maximinus the Thracian, Decius, Valerian, Diocletian and Galerius. By the time Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, rifts had already developed within Christianity, rifts that would later be used by the Catholics as justification to persecute and kill Heretics.
The next 1200 years was a "Dark Age". Virtually all scientific, philosophical, cultural and political progress came to a grinding halt. All of the in-fighting within Christianity and Europe, The Crusades, and several Inquisitions all came under the jurisdiction of the Holy See and the Catholic Church. It is almost frivolous to try and list all the misconduct of the church and the iniquities they placed on others during this time, for they are just far to numerous.
The Reformation is another issue all together, and I'll deal with Luther and Calvin in another post.
I think the modern Catholic church could also be dealt with in a seperate post at a later date too.
So that's all for now.