The Vatican official leading the Church’s office for laity, family, and life has said that priests do not have the credibility or experience to prepare couples for marriage. The official made similar remarks to Catholic leaders in September 2017.
During an interview with the Irish Catholic magazine Intercom, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said that “priests are not the best people to train others for marriage.”
“They have no credibility; they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day….they don’t have the experience,” the cardinal added.
Last September, speaking to a convention of Catholic leaders in Ireland, Farrell said that priests have “no credibility when it comes to living the reality of marriage,” calling for laity to organize and administer marriage preparation programs.
Born in Ireland and ordained a priest in 1978 as a member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell eventually relocated to Washington, DC, serving as director of Washington’s Spanish Catholic Center, before becoming the archdiocese’s finance officer in 1989.
In 2002, he became an auxiliary bishop of Washington, serving as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role, to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, with whom Farrell lived in a renovated parish building in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood.
In 2007, Farrell was appointed the Bishop of Dallas. He became the first prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in September 2016. The office was established when Pope Francis merged the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family, calling for a streamlined office focused on marriage preparation, family formation, and promoting lay apostolates.
Farrell became a cardinal in November 2016.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.
“The laity run the Church”
Priests have no credibility when it comes to training people for marriage, according to the most senior Irish cleric in the Vatican.
Clericalism is dead, the Cardinal behind the World Meeting of Families in Dublin next month also said, “not because we’ve done anything to kill it, but out of sheer numbers.” In Dallas, where he was Bishop from 2007 to 2016, “we have a million and a half Catholics and 75 priests, with a 45 to 50 per cent rate of (Mass) attendance.Those 75 priests are not going to be interested in organizing marriage meetings,” he said.
“We have to worry about the 99 per cent, about the baptised, and not worry about the other things we have been obsessed with.” (Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese, with a population of 1.15 million Catholics, has 413 diocesan and religious priests).
Cardinal Farrell was speaking in an interview with Intercom, a magazine published by Ireland’s Catholic bishops. “The basis of all human life is the family, but in some countries the Church is so clerical,” he said.
But there were, however, “countries where the laity run the Church. In my own experience as Bishop of Dallas, we had one priest in a parish where 10,000 people would attend Mass at the weekend. We have parishes that have a $20 million annual budget. No priest is going to be able to run a parish of that magnitude without competent lay people.”