DALLAS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A pair of petitions in September called for Cdl. Kevin Farrell's name to be removed from buildings on a university campus and at a seminary, but his name remains on both.
The University of Dallas has a building called Cardinal Farrell Hall, and the nearby Holy Trinity Seminary has a building under construction called the Cardinal Farrell Student Center.
Church Militant reached out to one of the people behind the petition, who uses the pseudonym "Laocoön." He told Church Militant that after he submitted the petitions in September, he was "never contacted by the [university] administration" and "I have not heard anything officially from the seminary."
Laocoön said he is an alumnus of the University of Dallas and has ties to Holy Trinity Seminary.
Asked about the naming of the new building at the seminary, Laocoön wrote, "I do wonder, after speaking with some contacts, if the rector chose the name of the building, or if Bishop Farrell, who was still bishop of Dallas at the time of the announcement, named the building after himself."
The text of Laocoön's petition to the university pointed out that most buildings on campus are named after a founder or donor or saint, adding, "Cardinal Farrell is not a founder. He is not a donor. He is still alive, and therefore certainly not a saint."
"In his over forty years of working in the Church," the text of the online petition further reasoned, "Cardinal Farrell is unnervingly close to two major scandals."
Thirty years ago, he served as general administrator for the seminaries and schools run by the Legion of Christ. After the scandals broke, he claimed no knowledge of any of the debauchery and, despite his high position, that he only met Father Maciel once or twice. Today, he claims no knowledge of any depraved actions of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite sharing an apartment with him for six years.
In a July interview with Catholic News Service, Cdl. Farrell said he was "shocked" by the news that McCarrick was being accused by multiple people of sexual predation. Some found this hard to believe, given the fact that Farrell and McCarrick lived in the same building on the same floor for several years.
The petition writers commented, "According to Cardinal Farrell, he was in the middle of two massive scandals, but somehow suspected nothing. By his own testimony, he is either a lying prelate or a clueless one. Why should we honor either at this University?"
Also in July, Church Militant reported that a former member of the Legionaries of Christ disputed Cdl. Farrell's 2016 claim that he hardly knew Maciel.
J. Paul Lennon, who was close to Cdl. Farrell's brother Brian (also a former Legionary), told Church Militant, "Kevin did know Fr. Maciel on a personal basis."
He added, "I have been told that on at least one occasion, Kevin and other Legionaries participated in a pillow fight to entertain Fr. Maciel (the sex pervert)."
The people behind the petition were careful to remain anonymous. The University of Dallas' student newspaper contacted them in early September but was unable to get quotes because the newspaper did not meet the petition writers' request for anonymity.
Currently, the Cardinal Farrell Student Center at Holy Trinity Seminary is under construction. It has been said that the student center will include a gymnasium and a patio area, as well as some classrooms.
At the University of Dallas, meanwhile, Farrell Hall formally opened in February 2018. It features classrooms and offices.
Cardinal Farrell himself was present for Farrell Hall's dedication and declared, "From the very first day that I arrived in Dallas, I have always had a profound interest in the University of Dallas, in helping the university achieve its God-given potential."
The "Farewell Farrell" website, where the two online petitions can be found, features a collage of pictures portraying Cdl. Farrell, one of the buildings named after him, disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and disgraced Legionaries founder Marcial Maciel. The collage is captioned with the Bible quote, "You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting" (Daniel 5:27).
Laocoön now runs a Tumblr blog focused on local Catholic news called "On the Banks of the Trinity." It is named, he told Church Militant, because "the Trinity River is a river that flows through Dallas and Fort Worth."