Quick Hits: Cardinal Farrell’s new post, a priest’s belated vindication

Catholic Culture / Trinity Communications

October 14, 2020

By Phil Lawler

At Catholic World Report, J. D. Flynn offers some perceptive observations about the appointment of Cardinal Kevin Farrell to head a new committee charged with supervising financial transactions that involve Vatican secrets. Cardinal Farrell, Flynn reminds readers, is already the camerlengo, the official responsible for handling the material properties of the Holy See during a papal interregnum. So he has been given quite a bit of control over the Vatican’s financial affairs—which, I hardly need remind you—are currently in an uproar. “Information is currency in Rome,” Flynn remarks, “and Cardinal Farrell’s new position makes him uniquely informed, and therefore among the most powerful figures in Vatican leadership.”

Cardinal Farrell’s full-time assignment, as prefect of the dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life—offers no suggestion of financial expertise. The Irish-born prelate’s track record gives absolutely no indication that he is the right man to crack down on questionable behavior. Cardinal Farrell, remember, was close to the late Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaires of Christ. But Cardinal Farrell says that he knew nothing about Maciel’s disgraceful behavior. Later he was an auxiliary bishop in Washington, DC, where he worked closely with, and shared a home with, former cardinal Ted McCarrick. Cardinal Farrell says that he knew nothing about McCarrick’s disgraceful behavior. At a time when the Vatican is struggling to regain public confidence about its financial probity, cynics might wonder whether he was chosen for these sensitive posts because he is likely to crack down on any signs of financial impropriety, or because he can be relied upon not to notice them.

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