Back-up plan: Pope names Cardinal Kevin Farrell

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the Vatican camerlengo.

The camerlengo (chamberlain) is responsible the Vatican’s administration during the vacancy created by the death or resignation of the pope.

Only the pope may choose the cardinal to fill the position of camerlengo, though he may choose instead to leave it vacant.

The camerlengo is one of two head officials of the Roman Curia who do not lose their office while the papacy is vacant. He administers Church finances and property during the interregnum.

The position Farrell is filling has been vacant since the former camerlengo, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, died last July.

Farrell says he was shocked when he heard the news.

“I was shocked. I was surprised, you know, I told the Holy Father that, ‘Yeah, I’d accept, but on one condition – that he speak at my funeral.’

“So what can I say? To be quite honest with you, I have never thought of anything like this. I will confess that I really don’t even know the details of what the camerlengo does. and but I’m sure there will be somebody who will coach me and tell me exactly what I’m supposed to do.”

While the pope is alive, the job is just a title – so until the pope dies or resigns, Farrell will continue as the head of the dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

However, if Francis resigns or pre-deceases him, one of Farrell’s jobs will be to officially declare the Holy Father’s death to the public.

He will also have to seal the papal apartments, chair consultations about the papal funeral and make practical preparations for the conclave to elect the next pope. He will also have to chair a committee of cardinals taking care of the church’s ordinary affairs until a new pope is elected.

To take office, Farrell, 71, will take an oath before Pope Francis, who will give him a sceptre, a symbol of the authority of the camerlengo. The current sceptre, covered in red velvet, dates to the papacy of Benedict XV.


News category: World.

Tags: , ,