The Latest: Bishop to focus on lay people in Vatican post

AP News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2016 5:06 PM

DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on Pope Francis' appointment of Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell to a post in the Vatican (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell said after being named by Pope Francis to head a new Vatican office for families and laity that he'll above all promote the pope's desire to ensure that ordinary Catholics are an integral part of the church.

The Wednesday appointment makes Farrell the highest-ranking American at the Holy See. He'll head the new Dicastery for the Laity, Families and Life, which combines several Vatican offices into one. The Irish-born Farrell has been the Dallas bishop since 2007.

Farrell said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon: "I have always had in mind that in the church, lay people needed to play an important role."

The tweeting and blogging 68-year-old said that in this new role he'll also bring his department's work "into the age of technology."

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6 a.m.

Pope Francis has named an American, Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell, to head the new Vatican office for families and laity.

Farrell, a former Legion of Christ priest whose brother is also a top Vatican official, becomes one of the highest-ranking Americans at the Holy See.

Francis appointed Farrell on Wednesday as he formally created the new Dicastery for the Laity, Families and Life, which combines several Vatican offices into one. The reform is part of Francis' bigger overhaul of the Vatican bureaucracy to make it more efficient and reflects the pope's focus on better ministering to Catholic families and laity.

In a related appointment Wednesday, Francis named the former head of the Vatican's office for family matters, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, to lead the Vatican's bioethics think tank and marriage institute.