To Jon’s answers I’ll add.
There are several reasons, usually a mix of reasons. Most people want to be correct. Allmost all cultures and sub-cultures think they have the best, most rational, and fittest group to rule. This part of (fallen) human nature is true among people of faith too. Even when a religion does not teach something you will find members of that religion who do not exemplify or live up to the teachings of the religion they profess, or where raised in. You can make a name for yourself, and quite a bit of money by denouncing the Catholic Faith, or promoting any number of conspiracy theories. If you have something bad to say about something or someone who is different than yourself, you will draw a crowd much faster than if you have something good to say.
Maria Monk et al. There was a woman in the 1800’s who called herself Maria Monk. She was a prostitute of very limited education who was taken in by some nuns in Canada who worked among disadvantaged and “fallen” women. They tried to teach these women trades, how to do laundry and sew, housekeeping etc. so they could have a trade and work in honest jobs rather than on the streets. Well an Anti-Catholic Protestant minister started up a relationship with her after she left the convent school not wanting to go through all the training, and work. They came up with the idea of promoting her to Protestant groups as an ex-nun who would expose the evils of convent life. Between the book he wrote under her assumed name, and the speaking tours, they made lots of money. She told tales of tunnels under the convent linking it to a Male Monastary that priests and nuns would use to meet each other. She told lurid tales of young nuns being raped and forced into having sex with lust filled priests. When nuns refused they where starved, and put between mattresses as priests and nuns jumped up and down on the top mattress in order to kill the nun who refused. If a nun became pregnant, she said the baby was stangled and the body was hidden in the tunnel. She told tales of women being kidnapped off the street and forced to do laundry for the nuns and priests. She described in great detail all the different rooms and hallways, tunnells and secret prisions of the “Hotel de Dieu” in Quebec Provence in Canada. The frenzy and fame (or infamy) of “Maria Monk” was spread so far and wide that an investigation was called for which was led by a prominent Protestant minister who went through the convent (Hotel de Dieu) and found that not only where the tales unfounded, but the convent did not even remotely resemble her descriptions, no rooms or hallways where she had described them, no evidence of any tunnels even the cells (individual bedrooms) of the nuns did not match up. The women who where being taught by the nuns, and lived in a different rooming house provided by the sisters did not know anything about the tales Maria had told. Even with this evidence the Maria Monk books and another set of books by a French ex-priest by the name of Chinquery continue to be published as true stories by groups of Anti-Catholics. The publishers of the Maria Monk books of today don’t tell their readers that Maria was discredited, and after being passed around between a few more protestant ministers died after being arrested for pickpocketing and having relapsed into prostitution.
Chinquery was expelled from the priesthood because he had seduced women, and did not reform his life.) He later jumped from Church to Church as a minister in each denomination but was found unfit by each one to serve. His ability to get the position of Pastor in each Protestant sect was based on how he would “expose” the evils of the Catholic Church. His two most famous books where “Fifty Years in the Church of Rome” and “The priest, the woman, and the Confessional” In the books he described how priests used the confessional to gain control over women and seduce or molest them. What he did not tell his reader is he was guilty of this, and once the bishop of his diocese found out about it he was expelled for it. Sales of his book kept money coming in to Chinquery, and those who promoted him.
These two examples promoted the fantasies and fears of non-catholics who had been brought up to beleive that the Pope was the Anti-Christ.
Another source of “Expose” was a book written by a Calvanist bishop named Alexander Hislop. At the time of his book many Protestants not only denied the real presence in the Eucharist, but there was a popular movement denying the Trinity, and the Virgin Birth. A good summary of his most famous book can be found on Wikipedia at this link,
[url:3bs5yfl6]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Babylons[/url:3bs5yfl6] Look up Maria Monk, and while I have not reviewed what the Chinquery posting there says, If they have one, I’m sure it will cover most of what I’ve posted here.
As far as Catholic priests molesting little boys, well yes, as Jon says there are a very few who sadly have. Just as Jesus himself chose Judas Iscariot as an Apostle, there have been those who have filled the ranks of the clergy who have failed to live up to their calling. A couple of years ago there was an article in the Christian Science Monitor, (a fairly well respected newspaper) discussed how the percentage of sexual molestations by clergy was higher among protestant sects. Some of the reasons given in the article included that as many Protestant Churches hire their own clergy and are not controlled by a heiarchy as centralized as the Catholic Church, many individual chuches do not report sexual molestation of their children or members by Protestant clergymen out of fear that they will lose congregents or face in the local community, and they also do not mention the issue to congregations who ask for reccomendations when the Pastor applies for a new pulpit somewhere else.
There is a wonderful quote (Which we have an Anglican Clergyman for) The Church is a hospital for sinners not a hotel for saints. While this fits into the Protestant idea that the Church is only for the living. The Catholic concept is all of us are members of the Church, those of us “working out our salvation in fear and trembling” or on earth, those in Purgatory and those already in heaven. The conscept that as we progress in faith and holiness tward our home in heaven, we are all sinners, and we all need to support each other in our efforts to holiness, through prayer and example.