- May 26, 2020
All three new American cardinals set to be elevated by Pope Francis on Nov. 19 bring strong backgrounds in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, but in reality there’s little remarkable about that, since the pope could have thrown darts at a dartboard in the US and come up with much the same thing.
By naming Blase Cupich of Chicago, Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and Kevin Farrell, formerly of Dallas, as cardinals, Pope Francis has moved the senior leadership of the American Catholic Church to a centrist, non-cultural warrior stance reminiscent of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s “seamless garment.”
Pope Francis announced a consistory for the creation of new cardinals on Nov. 19, and this time around there are three Americans: Blase Cupich of Chicago, Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, and Kevin Farrell of Dallas, who was just named to head the pope’s new department on Family, Laity and Life.
Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas initially thought it was a prank when he was told in May that Pope Francis was on the line, but it was really him, telling Farrell to head up a new Vatican department. In part, his marching orders are to make sure lay people hold prominent Vatican positions, and to help the pope hear directly from the laity.
By choosing Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas as the first-ever head of his new department for family, laity, and life issues, Pope Francis has handed a big win to pastoral moderates in the Church and also laid to rest concerns that he’s somehow hostile to Americans.