Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell Given Huge Promotion, Transferred to Rome August 17, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, family, Francis, General Catholic, pr stunts, Society, the return, the struggle for the Church.
Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell’s increasingly controversial tenure as Bishop of Dallas has come to an end. He was appointed by Francis to head the important new Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life just created. His transfer is effective in 2 weeks, which is really short notice, so we can expect that his effective tenure as Bishop of Dallas is over as of today, or perhaps, weeks ago. DMN coverage next, some commentary from me at the bottom:
Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell has been tapped for a position at the Vatican, where he will oversee a new department focused on the lives and families of ordinary Catholics around the world.
The promotion, effective Sept. 1, will make Farrell the highest-ranking American clergyman serving in the Vatican, the Diocese of Dallas announced Wednesday.
The move leaves an opening in Dallas, where Farrell has been bishop since 2007……..
…….Farrell said Wednesday morning that he was “extremely humbled” by the appointment and “grateful for the Holy Father’s confidence in me.” But, he said, “I meet this news with mixed emotions.”
“Dallas has been my home for 10 years and, from the beginning, I quickly grew to love the beautiful people and culture here,” he said in a statement. “The strong faith, kindness and generosity of the people in the Diocese of Dallas surpassed all of my expectations.”
A diocese spokeswoman said a new bishop could be appointed as soon as October. Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly will lead the diocese in the interim.
Pope Francis chose Farrell to lead the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, a newly-created department that combines the responsibilities of two existing pontifical councils. It will be part of the Roman Curia, an administrative body that advises and helps the pope carry out the church’s affairs worldwide.
In his new role, Farrell, 68, will focus on the needs of lay people, regular Catholics who are not part of the clergy.
The reorganization comes as Pope Francis strives to make the Catholic Church more inclusive and efficient. [“Inclusive.” That’s what Christ stressed all the time, wasn’t it? He never said anything about bringing the sword of division, separating the wheat from the chaff, or anything like that. The redefinition of Jesus Christ along sexular pagan lines continues apace.]
The pope wrote that he created the new department so that the Roman Curia can effectively “respond to the situation of our times and adapt to the needs of the universal Church.”…….
…….The Diocese of Dallas saw an increase in vocations to the priesthood and raised $130 million during a landmark fundraising campaign under his leadership, said diocesan spokeswoman Annette Gonzales Taylor. [Well, just about any vocations would have been an increase from the total collapse of the seminary system and ordinations under the last decade or so of his predecessor. Ordinations have averaged 3 or 4 a year under Farrell, much more than before, but not nearly enough to make up for the number of priests set to retire soon]
“We’re exceptionally proud, but we’re also exceptionally sad to be losing him,” Gonzales Taylor said Wednesday. “He’s just be an outstanding leader and, from my point of view, a wonderful boss. He’s going to be sorely missed.”……
…….Farrell’s new assignment will reunite him with his brother, Brian, who is also a bishop and the secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Farrell asked for prayers as he begins “this next unexpected chapter of my priesthood.”
“My God continue to bless the Diocese of Dallas,” he said.
In the end, Bishop Farrell’s tenure played out almost exactly as expected by many local observers when he was first named Bishop of Dallas in 2007. It was widely expected then that he would not retire here, that he would be something of an interim or “caretaker” bishop. Certain well-informed local priests expected him to spend 7 or 8 years (in reality, it was 9) addressing the myriad problems left by his predecessor Charles Grahmann and then be promoted to some dicastery in Rome, to finish out his career near his much-beloved brother. This is exactly what happened.
In many material respects, Bishop Farrell’s tenure was a successful one – he got the Diocese out of debt after massive payouts to the survivors of priest sex abuse cases, and did somewhat improve the seminary and the number of priests being ordained, which latter had all but died under his predecessor.
I have already observed, I believe, how hard Bishop Farrell has changed direction under the current pontificate. He has really tacked into the wind. Under Benedict Bishop Farrell was fairly conservativish, a bit “right” of center in the American episcopate. Since, 2013, however, he seems to have drifted quite a bit in the other direction.
As a man, like so many bishops – though he was, it seems, an extreme case – he was very hard to get in front of. He seemed to be constantly gone, or had others run very effective interference for him. Even in public events, getting much more than a handshake and a smile from Farrell was all but impossible. Obtaining a meeting was apparently reserved for a select few (if any). Even though he supposedly obtained a mansion for fund-raising, there are no reports of fundraisers actually being held there, to my knowledge. Farrell tended to “rule” from behind the scenes and was certainly not above hiding behind bureaucratic subterfuge, as the Joyce Rupp/Dr. Rick Gaillardetz imbroglios, the twin issues that launched this blog in late 2009, showed.
Farrell was always assessed as a very political creature who would not be long in Dallas. Benedict’s abdication probably kept him here a year or two longer than planned. But now he has gotten his reward, a plum assignment, in Rome, near his brother, in which to ride out his career. Many have speculated Bishop Farrell’s socially liberal policies of late (banning guns in all diocesan facilities – since repealed – strident support for unlimited Hispanic immigration, constant paeans on his blog to the new wisdom of Francis, taking up a crusade on domestic violence, etc) were perhaps related to a desire to seem in step with the new mood in Rome. It is likely these later stands may have been more reflective of Farrell’s true beliefs, given his status as protege of the very troubling Cardinal McCarrick, and may well serve as indicators of why Farrell was chosen for this very important new office.
Of course, I pray for Bishop Farrell’s success in his new duty and that he may use this apostolate for the good of souls and of Holy Mother Church, which could have a huge impact on the life of the Church. As to how Bishop Farrell will conduct himself in this new role, he has always been a very good soldier, knowing who he needs to please and how to do it. I was not the only one to notice what seemed a fairly substantial change in Bishop Farrell’s rhetoric and pastoral emphasis after March 2013. Remember his joint statement with former Ft. Worth Bishop Vann on the USCCB’s 2008 “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” staking out a very welcome and clear guidance with respect to the life issues trumping all others in determining who Catholics can support, electorally (pretty much wiping out legitimate support for democrats)? Could you imagine him releasing such a document, today?
We also eagerly await the naming of his replacement, which comes at such a critical juncture for this diocese. If Bishop Farrell was something of an interim crisis recovery expert, it was similarly expected that his replacement would likely be much younger and here for a very long time. It is thus vital to pray for this new bishop, conducting Rosary crusades and other prayer efforts, even outside the chancery itself, to show our filial obedience and spiritual communion with out present and future ordinaries, while imploring God that they be men worthy of the name, Catholic bishop. Please also pray for Bishop Farrell, that the Grace of Jesus Christ may guide and direct all he does according to the Truth revealed and practiced by the Church for over 1900 years in his very important new role.
Amazingly, with the sacking of Cardinal Burke, this new appointment makes Bishop Farrell the highest ranking “American” (he’s Irish, but served most of his apostolate in the US) in the Curia. That’s something that sort of makes one go “gulp.”
A few other interesting notes from Rocco Palmo:
……the Vatican statement announcing the move conspicuously did not include Farrell’s elevation to the rank of archbishop, which has always been customary practice for appointments of this kind……
…….Third, he enjoys close ties and clear goodwill among four prominent figures in Francis’ orbit: having served as vicar-general and auxiliary of Washington under Cardinals Theodore McCarrick and Donald Wuerl until his southern transfer, the sister of the ever-influential head of Francis’ “Gang of 9,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, lives in Dallas, [Yikes] while the work that brought him to DC to begin with saw him succeed then-Bishop Sean O’Malley as director of the capital’s Centro Catolico Hispano, which the Capuchin founded a decade earlier as Latinos began to arrive in the city en masse, only leaving the role on his appointment to the Virgin Islands……..
…….Lastly for now, as some fireworks are bound to ensue in the top rank with the appointment for a now-vacant Dallas church – where Farrell was already laying the groundwork to receive another auxiliary – it bears recalling that, with the new Prefect to be aided by three Secretaries for each of the new office’s areas of competence, the legislation establishing the Dicastery provides that (in a first for a top Curial organ) the lead deputies need not be clergy, but may likewise be named from among religious or the laity.
Yes, I’m certain that for this new Dicastery for the Laity, Francis has found his man.
And here I thought I would have nothing to blog on today.