"What confounds me though is why The Vatican requires a separate legal process at all. The 'New Norms' of 2010 as I am led to understand do nothing to reverse the preference for secrecy within the church. ; forgoing the inviolate principle of the confessional for example. In a case where a priest confesses to another priest of an abuse committed within the church the same rules for a miscreant pensioner twirling her rosaries for telling a lie to dotty Ms Foggerty in the shop simply cannot apply."
It doesn't have a seperate legal process at all. The CDF and other institutions which exist within the bureaucracy of the Church, are internal procedures. They investigate how to treat a priest who has committed a criminal act as this pertains to canon law.
The way it pertains to secular law, on the other hand, is assumed to be taken care of. It says right there in the CDF procedures. From the Vatican's website the rules clearly state that "Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed.". I fail to see how they could be any more clearer. And this set of rules has been in place for quite some time now.
What is really the case is that there is a carefully constructed myth that the Church somehow thinks it is above secular law; this is brought up again and again in the media's sloppy reporting on this issue, as well as popular perception. That Ratzinger's statements are ridiculously sloppy and incredibly easy to misinterpret doesn't help either.
"I worry though that it won't be enough to and the reform effort is to slow and it still won't properly place the welfare of the child above and beyond the welfare of the church."
See above: the reforms to protect children (or other people who are victims from criminal behaviour) have taken place already, and have for quite some time (in no small part thanks to Ratzinger).
"Where, incidentally can I read the documents you are citing? Always I am interested in better educating myself."
I've already linked to the Vatican's site on the CDF (which is the mothership, so to speak), but while this technically applies to all Catholic institutions around the world, many of them have chosen to amplify those statements in their own set of rules:
The USBBC Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which I quoted, can be read here.
And the rules for Australian Bishops (stated in "Towards Healing" 2010) can be downloaded directly here.
It's a dry read though ;-)
"Just out of interest, given the number and nature of the cases of abuse that happened prior to and within the period referred to when the CDF assumed control of investigations appertaining thereto - how many priests did the CDF under Ratzinger de-frock and return to the laity, where they would (and should have been) tried by criminal courts using any evidence gathered by the CDF (including confessions of crime)?"
See above: it is required that criminal courts are alerted and allowed to investigate as a preliminary procedure of the CDF. The CDF then concerns itself with the internal implications of criminal acts (and decides to defrock priests or not, for instance).
This isn't just theory either: in the Irish diocese of Ferns after these norms were issued in 2001 no less than 10 cases of sexual misconduct (including child abuse) were referred to the CDF. Of these 10, 6 of the priests have been stripped of their priestly status, 2 have been voluntarily laicised and 2 are awaiting judgement from the Vatican. But, crucially, how many of them had been reported to the police before they were referred to the CDF? Every single one of them.
I'm actually rather confident that there's not a single case where the CDF or Ratzinger didn't hand a priest over to the civil authorities when they should have. Otherwise there wouldn't be a debate in the media about this - because it would be clear that Ratzinger covered things up. But nobody has such a case. Because they don't exist. Instead they (and to their discredit, even supposed rationalists like Hitchens and Dawkins) have to continuously resort to alleged "smoking-gun cases" like Murphy, Kiesle and Hullerman, which turn out to be nothing of the sort.
It depends what you think they are indicative of, of course.
In the case of Kiesle, the police had been alerted about him, he had been charged, he had been found guilty and he had served his sentence before Ratzinger even so much as heard his name.
In the case of Murphy, the Milwaukee Police Department had been alerted too, although they did fail to proceed after their initial investigation.
There's plenty in the two cases to illustrate the incompetency of some bishops (and in the case of Kiesle, wilful incompetence) but nothing to do with Ratzinger or the CDF or even the need of reporting these cases to the authorities; that had already happened. What exactly are you getting at?
Along came the tyrants' thorn in their sides called the United States... Secular as she goes. OK, subsidize god, are u still barking up that lame latin-lover-coke smuggler tree you organized crime families you?
C'mon, it's not 911 nor WWII. Planet is choking on ignorance, oil, corruption. Pills.