CV NEWS FEED // At an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Cardinal Kevin Farrell announced that the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life (DLFL) is in the early stages of preparing a document addressing the challenges of divorced Catholics in new, irregular unions.
On April 22, Pope Francis received a group of members and consultors of the DLFL, who were holding their biennial plenary assembly. The theme of the plenary assembly was “Laity and Ministry in a Synodal Church.”
Irish-born Cardinal Farrell is a former member of the Legion of Christ who was ordained a bishop at the behest of the now-disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, with whom Farrell shared an apartment for six years while serving as auxiliary bishop of Washington, DC. After Farrell then served as the bishop of Dallas, TX, from 2007 to 2016, Pope Francis appointed him prefect of the DLFL.
Farrell publicly accused Archbishop Charles Chaput of causing “division” in 2016. As head of the USCCB’s ad hoc committee to implement Amoris Laetitia, Chaput published guidelines that prohibited divorced and remarried Catholics from receiving Holy Communion. In 2018, Farrell invited Father James Martin, SJ, to address the World Meeting of Families in Ireland. Martin has argued that the Church ought to change the moral language in the Catechism of the Catholic Church relating to homosexuality.
In the customary introduction before the papal address to the dicastery, Farrell stated that
in particular we have confronted the challenges of those who are living marriage crises of every kind, which bring a short circuit in the transmission of the faith. Today more than ever, in the context of family pastoral care, there is an urgent need for… the pastoral attention of those experiencing crisis and problems of all kinds.
Farrell further explained that “we are still in an early stage” in “the preparation of a text specifically regarding – as you have desired, your Holiness – men and women who, having upon their shoulders a failed marriage, are living in new unions.”
Farrell did not give a timeline for the publication of a final version of the document.