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Cardinal Maradiaga Denies Everything,
But the Questions Remain Unanswered

by Christopher A. Ferrara
December 27, 2017

A new scandal has exploded on the Vatican scene, and it threatens to make a mockery of the entire program of “Francis the Great Reformer,” confirming the claim in The Dictator Pope that corruption behind the Vatican walls is worse than ever.

As LifeSiteNews reports, citing a just-published exposé in the Italian daily L'Espresso, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga (commonly referred to by his last name despite the Latin American convention) is now engulfed in allegations of financial impropriety and related corruption. Maradiaga, head of the Pope’s “Council of Cardinals” and ironically referred to as “Vice-Pope,” is accused of “mishandling millions of dollars in funds belonging to a Catholic university and to his archdiocese… including personal transfers of $40,000 monthly from the Catholic University of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, and over a million dollars transferred to a shady financial company that quickly folded after losing some of the funds in Germany.” 

There is also the matter of $1.3 million in government funds transferred to the Archdiocese for Church-related projects but which, as Pentin further reports, “is alleged to have found its way into the hands of Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda of Tegucigalpa, a close friend of the cardinal, [for which] no accounting exists detailing how the money was spent.” Pineda is accused of “financially support[ing] a male companion using archdiocesan funds” and having “an apartment built on the campus of the University of Honduras to house this companion,” notes Pentin (referencing a report by Catholic News Agency).

As Edward Pentin reports for the National Catholic Register, the allegations of corruption compelled Pope Francis to send Argentine Bishop Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaretto on an apostolic visitation to Honduras. Bishop Casaretto “was shocked by the extent of the corruption he discovered, including accounts of sexual abuse perpetrated against priests and seminarians.”  His report to Francis is supported by the testimony of 50 witnesses. 

L’Espresso, which evidently relied on a leaked copy of the report, alleges that “When he finished reading the inquiry drafted by the apostolic envoy [Bishop Casaretto] he himself had sent to Honduras last May, Pope Francis’ hands went up to his skullcap. He had just found out that his friend and main councilor — powerful cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, a staunch supporter of a poor and pauperist Church and coordinator of the Council of Cardinals after he appointed him in 2013 — had received over the years from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa around 41,600 US dollars a month, with an additional 64,200 dollars bonus in December.”

Francis reportedly received Bishop Casaretto’s report back in May, but Maradiaga remains in place as “Vice-Pope.”  Moreover, Pentin notes, Bishop Pineda has been ordered to go on a retreat with the Jesuits in Madrid — a sure sign that something is terribly amiss in Honduras.

As Pentin’s source at the Register informed him: “The cardinal [Maradiaga] knows everything.”  Yet Maradiaga denies everything and attributes the allegations to a plot to block Francis’ “reforms.” He claims the funds in question were all applied to the needs of the Archdiocese, but this article published in Honduras, including accounting records with check numbers and names of payees, shows that the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid directly to Maradiaga personally in 2015 alone.

Moreover, Maradiaga’s general denial fails to provide a specific rebuttal to the charges and no accounting of the funds has been provided in his defense.  As Philip Lawler rightly observes:

“Don’t worry, the archdiocese explains, the funds were not intended for the cardinal’s personal use; they were for the general needs of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa. Oh, all right then.

“But wait a minute. How does a Catholic university, in an impoverished country, have $40,000 a month to spare? We’ve all heard of Catholic schools that are subsidized by the local diocese. But have you ever heard of a Catholic diocese subsidized by a local school?

“Does not compute.

“There may be an innocent explanation for the funds pouring into Cardinal Maradiaga’s accounts. This isn’t it.”

Maradiaga turns 75 this Friday (December 29), the age at which Church rules require that he tender his resignation.  I predict that Pope Francis will not accept it and will allow Maradiaga to remain in place.  He cannot afford to do otherwise, as the fall of “Vice-Pope” Maradiaga would mean the collapse of the entire public relations campaign promoting a “Church of the poor” led by a “people’s Pope” who “goes out to the peripheries.”  For that very reason, following the receipt of Bishop Casaretto’s damning report, Francis (as Pentin notes) “decided to take the matter into his own hands rather than have a commission or a more extensive apostolic visitation deal with it further…”

Indeed, Maradiaga has just reported happily to Vatican News, part of the Vatican’s public relations apparatus, that Pope Francis telephoned him to say: “I’m sorry for all the evil they have done against you.”  Who are “they” — the fifty witnesses who verified Bishop Casaretto’s report? What evil have “they” done to Maradiaga?  The only evil done appears to have been committed by Maradiaga’s friends with his full knowledge, if not personally by him.  An attempted cover-up appears to be in the offing.

But God draws a greater good from every evil.  In this case, the greater good is a revelation of the truth about not only this pontificate but the entire fraudulent “renewal” of the Church according to the “spirit of Vatican II.”  It is all an illusion. And that illusion, with its disastrous consequences, is precisely what the Third Secret of Fatima concerns.