Bishop Farrell Farewell Interview August 19, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, huh?, It's all about the $$$, sadness, secularism, Society, the return, the struggle for the Church.
Via the Dallas Morning News, a farewell interview conducted with outgoing Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell. I found two aspects of the interview quite starkly apparent – I’m sure you’ll see what I mean below. While the questions asked may have led the conversation in a certain direction, I was still struck by the lack of any mention of the supernatural/transcendent. The other aspect I’ll flesh out a bit below. BTW, I found the liberal Morning News’ headline unfair, as I’ll also discuss:
……..Farrell sat down for a conversation looking back at the changes in the Dallas diocese during his tenure — and assessing the needs his successor will face.
His responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
What did you do to assess the needs of the diocese?
“I spent my first three years traveling to parishes. I used to listen to people in the back of churches when they’d be going out of church on Sunday, and I would always stand and listen to them talk and they would complain to me about some things, and some were important.” [You guys here in Dallas remember seeing Bishop Farrell around parishes all the time, right, pretty much every Sunday? Honestly, while there are 70 parishes in the Diocese, do you recall him at your parish more than once or twice, at most? I have heard/read many, many complaints of Farrell’s lack of visibility/accessibility.]
“[But] I never forgot after three or four years when I got an email from Plano, I won’t tell what parish, asking me, now that I’d been there for three years, when was I going to do something about the terrible condition of the parking lot at one of our parishes. People expected me to do everything and anything.” [Like defend the Doctrine of the Faith against heresy and immorality?]
What has changed in the diocese under your leadership?
“I believe that parishes work differently than they used to in many different aspects. I think I have brought lay people in to do the administration, overseeing everything that’s done.” [Is this supposed to be a good thing? In my writing going back to the very beginning, lay staff have been one of the most consistent, gravest problems in the Diocese. From Sister Rupp to Always Our Children, they almost always feature in some scandal or heartbreak]
“We have what we call the diocesan finance council. Here are lay men and women who are involved in all of what I would call the business aspect of the church, I have tried to get them to lead and take responsibility for doing that. In our high schools, I have board of directors and boards of trustees that I have always tried to empower. To empower the laypeople to make the decisions, not me. I’m not a businessman. I’m not even that interested in the business aspect. That’s not my thing and not my vocation. I may be mildly successful at it. But it’s not my desire, neither am I interested in it.”
What are the challenges your successor will face?
“Obviously the challenge we all face is the tremendous growth of this diocese. That is a challenge that will continue. I do hope I have recruited enough young people to enter the seminary over the years so that task will be a little easier. When I came here to the diocese, we had 17 people studying for the priesthood over at Holy Trinity Seminary. Today, we have at this moment 70.” [There is no question the seminary situation is far better than when Bishop Farrell arrived. Now, there has been quite a bit of attrition in the seminaries, where a lot of guys drop out before ordination, but things were in a deplorable state under Grahmann and they’re now quite a bit better, but short of need, sadly.]
“I did not open up many [Was MD the only one? Perhaps some nationality based ones?] new parishes for the specific reason that I didn’t have the staff to staff, the priest staff. I think that after about three more years, that will be alleviated, The diocese will start seeing some of these young men being ordained.”
What else will your successor need to focus on?
“I think the work of trying to integrate and trying to get our communities to work together. You have people on the north side of Dallas who have never been, who have no idea what the south of the Trinity River looks like.” [This is I guess where the DMN got their silly headline about “rich people getting out of their comfort zones.” For those outside the area, the Trinity River acts as a sort of literal and figurative dividing line between North Dallas and South Dallas, “rich” Dallas and “poor” Dallas, although, more and more, the distinction has become blurred. South Dallas historically has lacked investment. I live in Irving but I technically live south of the Trinity. So that’s the reference. As for Bishop Farrell’s statement……I again note that souls, salvation, conversion, rarely seem to enter in. Lots and lots of people I know go south of the Trinity regularly to visit/serve with the Carmelites and the Missionaries of Charity, or to go to the DFW National Cemetery. This is rarely an issue for committed Catholics, for CINOs, maybe so]
How soon do you think Pope Francis will name your successor?
“I think it will be within two months after I leave. I know sometimes that can stretch out for a year. But it will not happen in a diocese as large as Dallas. We grow continually, from migrants coming from the north and immigrants coming from the south. “
Meh. Again with the hints that a successor has all but been selected. As a for instance, I can guarantee you Farrell knew he was leaving Dallas, going to Rome, and probably heading this dicastery months ago. Rome would not give a bishop only 2 weeks to wind up affairs in a diocese after nearly 10 years of leadership. I guess we’ll see.
Well Godspeed Bishop Farrell, thank you for Mater Dei. May your successor give true liberty to the TLM in the Diocese of Dallas.