Pope Francis appoints cardinal with McCarrick, Fr. Martin connections to monitor Vatican finances
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October 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Kevin Farrell as president of a committee charged with monitoring financial transactions that are not subject to the Pope’s new anti-corruption guidelines.
Cardinal Farrell currently serves as prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.
The five-member “Commission for Reserved Matters” will oversee four categories of exempted contracts, according to Catholic News Agency’s Hannah Brockhaus. “Contracts related to matters covered by the pontifical secret; contracts funded by an international organization; contracts necessary to fulfill international obligations; and contracts pertaining to the office and security of the pope, the Holy See, and the Universal Church or ‘necessary or functional to ensure the mission of the Church in the world and guarantee the sovereignty and independence of the Holy See or the Vatican City State,’” she reported.
“The June 1 law, ‘Norms on the transparency, control and competition of public contracts of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State,’ gave new procedures for awarding public contracts which aimed to increase oversight and accountability, and ensure the Vatican and Holy See work only with vetted financial partners,” explained Brockhaus, while also bringing “the Vatican into line with international anti-corruption laws.”
Cardinal Farrell’s appointment as a financial overseer comes notwithstanding a less-than-stellar reputation for eagle-eyed powers of observation and moral judgment.
In 2018, Farrell claimed he was “shocked” and “overwhelmed” at the bombshell revelations of sexual predation by defrocked Theodore McCarrick, despite having lived with and worked under the then-Washington, D.C. cardinal for several years and rising through the ranks thanks to his patronage.
In a short video interview with Catholic News Service (CNS) at the time, Cardinal Farrell was emphatic in his denial of any knowledge of his longtime mentor’s behavior, yet seemingly unable to put together full sentences.
Uttering just 101 words, punctuated with long pauses and “ums,” normal syntax eluded him as he stumbled through the interview:
I was a priest of Washington, D.C. I worked in the chancery, in Washington. And never. No indication. None whatsoever.
Nobody ever talked to me about that. And I was involved – heavily involved – in Washington, in the whole from 2000 on. And sex abuse.
So I really don’t have any knowledge or anything to add about more than that.
Farrell also seemed to put distance between himself and his former boss, the man under whom he became a bishop while in D.C.:
When the six years I was there with him, I didn’t know Cardinal McCarrick prior to his coming to Washington, D.C.
Almost nobody bought what Farrell attempted to sell:
“Cardinal Farrell says that he worked in the chancery but does not mention that he shared an apartment with Cardinal McCarrick. He needs to address it,” said Matthew Schmitz, senior editor for respected First Things magazine in a tweet.
American Conservative commentator Rod Dreher said of Farrell’s video performance:
The more I think about it, the more I disbelieve all of this staged presentation. The cardinal seems sincere, but then again, so did McCarrick in his televised appearances. And again, Farrell is not answering questions in a press conference, or from non-church media, but is answering a question in a controlled and edited environment. At this late date, he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.
When Farrell took over as head of the newly formed Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life in 2016, he revealed his plan to gather people from around the world to develop a marriage program based on the controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Amoris Laetitia has caused confusion among Church leaders and laity alike for what critics say is ambiguous teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, the existence of absolute moral norms, and the role of conscience in making moral decisions. Four cardinals went public with questions — Dubia — to Pope Francis asking him if his exhortation was consistent with Catholic moral teaching after the pope failed to respond to their questions privately.
Four years later, the pontiff remains silent.
When Fr. James Martin published his pro-homosexual book, Building a Bridge, Cardinal Farrell joined Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy and dissident nun Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, in offering words of praise on the book’s dust jacket:
A welcome and much-needed book that will help bishops, priests, pastoral associates, and all church leaders more compassionately minister to the LGBT community. It will also help LGBT Catholics feel more at home in what is, after all, their church.
Farrell’s description of Fr. Martin’s thin volume as a helpful contribution to Catholic pastoral practices vividly contrasted with clergy who denounced the book’s flawed premise “that the Church has misunderstood God’s plan for human sexuality for her entire history.”
Fr. Gerald Murray explained in the National Catholic Register that “The real purpose of this book is to advocate for a relaxation of the Church’s teaching that sodomy is gravely immoral and that any attraction to commit acts of sodomy is an objective disorder in one’s personality.”
“The thesis of this book is that lesbians, gays, bisexual persons and transsexual/transgendered persons have been made to be such by God, and thus they should gladly live and express their God-given, differently ordered sexuality in a differently ordered way,” Murray said.
The other four commission members appointed by Pope Francis are Archbishop Filippo Iannone, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who will serve as the commission’s secretary; Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA); Jesuit Fr. Juan A. Guerrero, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; and Bishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.