Pope Francis Names Staunchly Pro-Life Bishop to Lead New Vatican Office on Pro-Life Issues

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 17, 2016   |   7:07PM   |   The Vatican

A strong pro-life Catholic Bishop from America is headed to the Vatican to oversee its new office for families and life.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis appointed the Dallas, Texas Catholic Bishop Kevin Farrell to the position, which will include work on pro-life issues, KDWN News reports. The newly created Vatican office is named the Dicastery for the Laity, Families and Life, a merger of several previous Vatican offices.

The pope also appointed Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, another strong pro-life religious leader, to head the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which also includes pro-life and bioethics issues.

Both Farrell and Paglia have been strong advocates for unborn babies in the United States and abroad. Several years ago, in a message about Catholic voters, Bishop Farrell insisted that there are no “’truly grave moral’ or ‘proportionate’ reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year.”

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In January, he spoke during a rally in downtown Dallas where pro-lifers mourned Roe v. Wade and the deaths of millions of unborn babies in abortions.

“This is where Roe v. Wade began,” Farrell told the crowd. “We cannot walk away and not commit ourselves to at least changing the mind and the heart of at least two or three individuals in the coming year.”

Here is more from the report:

Farrell’s new office is expected to include many lay Catholics in top positions, part of the pope’s aim to reinvigorate the participation of ordinary Catholics in the church and get away from what he has long criticized as an overly “clericalized” hierarchy.

The statutes of the office, released in June, say it will have three sections: laity, family and life. The life section is designed to coordinate initiatives promoting “responsible procreation” and supporting initiatives to help women choose alternatives to abortion.

In a statement on the Dallas diocesan website – written in both English and Spanish in a reflection of Farrell’s predominantly Latino flock – the bishop said he was humbled by the unexpected appointment and would leave his home of 10 years with mixed emotions.

Farrell, a tweeting and blogging 68-year-old, said he looked forward to defending life and promoting the laity and family in accordance with Francis’ recent teaching document on family life, “The Joy of Love.”

Active on Twitter, Farrell tweeted a message asking for prayers as he prepares for his new international role.

In a blog post, he added, “I look forward to being part of the important work of the universal Church in the promotion of the laity and the apostolate of the laity and for the pastoral care of the family in accordance with the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, the Joy of Love, and the support of human life.”

Priests for Life describes Paglia as a strong leader and supporter of pro-life issues.