A reader writes:

You're starting to get the emotional tunnel-vision people sometimes accuse you of.  (It is sometimes a very good thing - such as the passionate way you went about digging for information on Iran last June - but sometimes you seem to dive headfirst into the pool before checking the water level.)  To wit: the "new" documentary on the BBC that seemingly implicates the current Pope in covering up child abuse scandals aired four years ago. Yes, the article about the documentary (from September 2006) was reposted today, but likely only because it is relevant to current events.

It did not receive much attention then because its claims are dubious.

The incredibly "secret" document "Crimen Sollicitationis" and its subsequent update by Ratzinger are surprisingly public information. Indeed, "Crimen Sollicitationis" - including the updated version - does not call for secrecy of the allegations or prohibit the involvement of the criminal justice system; it calls for the secrecy of the Vatican court's procedure, which is highly common. Also, your favorite Catholic reporter John Allen has a 2003 rebuttal to the charge that "Crimen Sollicitationis" contains instructions on how to commit child rape and get away with it. Finally, criminal charges were brought against the clergyman who raped the maker of the documentary when he was 14 (the priest committed suicide before the trial began), so the claims that the Vatican is set up as a protection for child rapists is somewhat undercut again.

The dubious nature of the article probably explains why it is in the Entertainment section of the London Evening Standard and not the News section. The writer even calls him Thomas Ratzinger!

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