Kevin Joseph Farrell was born on 2 September 1947 in Dublin. After completing primary and secondary schools, he attended the University of Salamanca in Spain
Who performs the functions of alternate when a Pope is ill? In reality, the precedents in this regard, at least in recent times, are very few. On closer inspection, even the long period of illness that closed the decades-long pontificate of John Paul II saw no delegation, no substitute. The exercise of ordinary administration, in fact, was carried out by the then powerful personal secretary of the Pontiff, Stanislaw Dziwisz. The question concerns, let it be clear, exclusively the role of the Pope as the summit of the Vatican State, and certainly not that of the Pope Vicar of Christ. In short, the City and not the Church. It seems obvious, but it is good to reiterate it.
The impediment due to illness, in this regard, is regulated by rules according to which the cardinal chamberlain, when the Pope is traveling or absent, administers temporal goods (and this is the case that could be more similar to the situation of a Pontiff forced to hospital. ). His role in the event of death is much heavier: then the chamberlain has the task of presiding over the vacant seat until the election of the successor. The Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, regarding the vacancy of the Apostolic See and the election of the Roman Pontiff, in article 17 recalls other duties of the chamberlain, starting from the death of the Pope: “As soon as the news of the death of the Supreme Pontiff is received, the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church must officially ascertain the death of the Pontiff in the presence of the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, of the Clerical Prelates and of the Secretary and Chancellor of the Apostolic Chamber, who will fill in the document or authentic deed of death. The Camerlengo must also affix the seals to the study and room of the same Pontiff, arranging that the staff usually residing in the private apartment can remain there until after the burial of the Pope, when the entire papal apartment will be sealed; communicate his death to the Cardinal Vicar for the City, who will give notice to the Roman people with special notification; and likewise to the Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica; take possession of the Vatican Apostolic Palace and, personally or through his delegate, of the Lateran and Castel Gandolfo palaces, and exercise their custody and government; to establish, having heard the Cardinal Heads of the three Orders, all that concerns the burial of the Pontiff, unless the latter, while alive, has not expressed his will in this regard; to take care, in the name and with the consent of the College of Cardinals, for all that circumstances recommend for the defense of the rights of the Apostolic See and for its proper administration “.
The mechanism that regulates the delegation of powers to the chamberlain in the event of the pope’s illness or prolonged absence is similar to that which the Italian Constitution provides for impediment of the President of the Republic. In this case, the Head of State, whether for a trip or an illness, assigns the replacement to the President of the Senate. But the precedents in the Holy See in this regard are very few. Wojtyla, so to speak, resorted to it only once for a long trip to Asia. There is no memory of a similar step on the part of his predecessors, nor of his successor Benedict XVI. Yet John Paul II has always been hospitalized over and over again at Gemelli for more or less long periods. A further observation: if John Paul II had his Dziwisz, and Benedict XVI his Gaenswein, at this moment in the Vatican there is no figure comparable to them. In fact, Bergoglio took care to change all his particular secretaries after some time, which prevented the imposition of a shadow figure in the power structure of the pontificate. Currently, since February 14, 2019, the office of chamberlain is held by US Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell.
Kevin Joseph Farrell was born on 2 September 1947 in Dublin. After completing primary and secondary schools, he attended the University of Salamanca in Spain, and then the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He obtained a licentiate in philosophy and theology from the University of San Tommaso in Rome. He later completed a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Notre Dame (USA). He entered the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1966 – the congregation from which he subsequently left – and was ordained a priest on December 24, 1978. After his priestly ordination he was chaplain at the University of Monterrey in Mexico, professor of economic studies, general administrator with responsibility for seminaries and schools of the Legionaries of Christ in Italy, Spain and Ireland. Since 1983 he has exercised the pastoral ministry in the parish of Saint Bartholomew in Bethesda in Washington. In 1984 he was incardinated in the archdiocese of Washington, where he was assistant pastor in the parish of Saint Thomas the Apostle (1984-1985), director of the Spanish Catholic Center (1986), executive director regent of Catholic Charitable Organizations (1987-1988) , secretary for financial affairs (1989-2001), pastor of the Annunciation Parish (2000-2002).
Appointed titular bishop of Rusuccuru and auxiliary of Washington on 28 December 2001, he received episcopal consecration on the following 11 February. Since 2001 he has held the offices of vicar general for the administration and moderator of the Curia. On March 6, 2007, he was promoted to bishop of Dallas, and took possession of the diocese the following May 1. On 15 August 2016 he was appointed by Pope Francis prefect of the new Dicastery for the laity, family and life, effective from 1 September 2016. On 9 October 2016, the Pope announced his creation as cardinal in the consistory of 19 November. . On 10 June 2017 he was appointed member of the Administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See.