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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - As Abp. Theodore McCarrick’s laicization looms, Pope Francis has appointed Cdl. Kevin Farrell to a key Vatican role.
According to Italian Vaticanista Marco Tossati, the announcement appointing Farrell as Cardinal Camerlengo (“Chamberlain”) was made Thursday morning, and is a position “central to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.” In addition to playing a key role in formally pronouncing the end of a pope’s reign and directing preparations for the conclave, the camerlengo also becomes the de facto ruling sovereign of the Church until a new pontiff is elected. During such time he serves as executive director of the Holy See, and answers to the College of Cardinals.
As a member of the papal household, the camerlengo also oversees the real estate and revenue of the Holy See.
The position had been left vacant since July 5 after the death of former camerlengo Cdl. Jean-Louis Tauran.
Farrell, who left Dallas in 2016 when Pope Francis appointed him to head the Vatican's Dicastery of Laity, Family and Life, is linked to disgraced homosexual predator Abp. Theodore McCarrick, his housemate of six years in Washington, D.C.
Farrell and McCarrick lived on the same floor during McCarrick's tenure as archbishop of Washington.
After McCarrick's longtime homosexual predation was exposed last year, the public questioned Farrell about his knowledge of the abuse. Farrell claimed he knew nothing.
"I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before, the six years I was there with him," Farrell claimed. "And never, no indication, none whatsoever, nobody ever talked to me about that."
Farrell had issued similar denials when asked about the predatory behavior of Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, of which Farrell was a member. Maciel was later exposed as a serial sex abuser who fathered children with multiple women and even raped his own sons.
"I never knew anything back then," he told the Irish Times in 2016. "I worked in Monterrey, and maybe I would have met Maciel once or twice, but I never suspected anything. ... I left the Legionaries because I had intellectual differences with them."
But one longtime friend and former Legionary is contradicting his words. J. Paul Lennon, among the first group of Irish-born members of the Legion and close friend of Farrell's brother Brian (a former Legionary who now works as secretary for the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity), claims Farrell was far closer to Maciel than he lets on.
"Kevin did know Fr. Maciel on a personal basis," Lennon told Church Militant. "When Kevin was working in Connecticut as a Legionary priest, before he left the community circa 1984, Kevin did spend time with Fr. Maciel when he would visit that 'front.'"
"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)," he added.
Farrell is allegedly linked to a Vatican dossier detailing longstanding sex abuse.
Il Fatto Quotidiano, an Italian journal read by Vatican officials, confirmed in September that it had seen a 300-page dossier detailing corruption and malfeasance in the Vatican.
"The report contains a detailed and disturbing picture of the moral and material corruption of the clergy, with names, surnames and circumstances," wrote Francesca Fagnani.
We are ... able to view a document on papal letterhead included in the investigation, and here we publish an excerpt: It is a list of prelates and laymen who belong to the so-called gay lobby, which through blackmail and secrets could affect, or have conditioned, positions and careers (theirs, like those of others).
We will not reveal the names shown in the list, but we can confirm that among the names there are people removed by the Pope, others moved from office, others who still hold important positions in strategic organs for the Vatican, such as Propaganda Fide and even the Secretariat of State.
Among those implicated in the dossier is Cdl. Farrell.
"Farrell was appointed auxiliary bishop of Washington precisely because it was McCarrick who wanted him as a deputy," Fagnani reported in a September 4 article focusing on a Farrell dossier. "The two were part of the 'magic circle' of Pope Francis."
[A case] on the auxiliary bishop of Washington, Kevin Joseph Farrell, is said to have been filed at the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith in the Vatican, at the Dicastery that is responsible for investigating sexual and other crimes against good morals, which, if not rebutted, would fall squarely on the Pope like a boulder. Farrell [was] appointed directly by Bergoglio to head the Dicastery of the Family.
The Vatican has refused to confirm or deny the existence of the dossier.
Farrell is the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by an alleged abuse victim who claims Farrell, when he was bishop of Dallas, Texas, dismissed his abuse as “consensual” in nature because it allegedly took place when the victim was over 17, even though the priest was much older and had sexually groomed him from age 12.
In September 2015, the alleged victim, John Doe, informed the diocese of sexual misconduct that took place at the hands of Fr. Timothy Heines, presenting as proof a scrapbook of photos Heines took of Doe when he was in middle school. The priest was in the habit of asking Doe to take off his shirt for photos, sometimes asking him to pose in sexually suggestive ways. Doe also claims Heines gave him hot oil massages and touched his genitals.
After an investigation, Bp. Farrell personally met with Doe and assured him he would remove the priest from active ministry. But the bishop's public statement on Heines' removal claimed it was owing to “serious boundary violations with adults. ... I emphasize that involved inappropriate relationships with adults.”
“Bishop Farrell began describing John Doe as a ‘consenting adult’ and refused to acknowledge the abuse he suffered as a minor,” the lawsuit claims.
Because of Farrell's characterization of the relationship as consensual, he failed to report the abuse to the diocesan review board or to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — a requirement if there had been evidence of sex abuse of a minor.
"The Diocese has a copy of that scrapbook and has had one since my client came forward in 2015," said Doe's attorney, Lacey Turley Most. "With having that scrapbook, I don't understand why they would describe this as a 'boundary violation' and say my client is a consenting adult."
"Bishop Burns [current Dallas bishop] described the review board as a board made up of lay persons who are responsible for holding the Diocese accountable for keeping a safe environment," Most added, "so it's a big problem if then-Bishop Farrell made the decision to not report that abuse."
As a result of feeling "revictimized" by the diocese, Doe attempted suicide on several occasions.
The diocese has filed a rebuttal claiming Doe never informed the diocese about any sexual abuse he suffered as a minor. It has not addressed Farrell’s comments writing off Doe’s relationship with Heines as “consensual.”