Today, Pope Francis addressed members of the Roman Curia for the annual Christmas bash. It is a custom of Popes to exchange greetings with the Curia at this time of year and there is usually a speech. In 2005 Pope Benedict gave a memorable speech that echoes yet today.
You might recall that last year Pope Francis pretty much beat them to a bloody pulp, expostulating on point after point about their illnesses and deficiencies. This year, the Pope continued along the same lines. One paragraph reads:
Here let me allude to another danger: those who betray the trust put in them and profiteer from the Church’s motherhood. I am speaking of persons carefully selected to give a greater vigour to the body and to the reform, but – failing to understand the lofty nature of their responsibility – let themselves be corrupted by ambition or vainglory. Then, when they are quietly sidelined, they wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a “Pope kept in the dark”, of the “old guard”…, rather than reciting a mea culpa. Alongside these, there are others who are still working there, to whom all the time in the world is given to get back on the right track, in the hope that they find in the Church’s patience an opportunity for conversion and not for personal advantage. Of course, this is in no way to overlook the vast majority of faithful persons working there with praiseworthy commitment, fidelity, competence, dedication and great sanctity.
I thought I knew to whom he was referring when I first read that, but now I am not so sure.
Today I read in Espresso in interesting story.
35 thousand euros a month for the Cardinal: the new scandal that shakes the Vatican
Francesco’s friend and adviser, Oscar Maradiaga, preached pauperism but received half a million a year from a University of Honduras. Bergoglio also wanted an investigation on millionaire investments and on the inappropriate behavior of Bishop Pineda, a loyalist of the cardinal
When he finished reading the inquiry drafted by the apostolic envoy 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. Bergoglio had yet to learn that several witnesses, both ecclesiastical and secular, were accusing Maradiaga of investments in some companies in London topping a 1,2 million dollars that later vanished into thin air, or that the Court of Auditors of the small Central American nation was investigating a flow of large sums of money from the Honduran government to the Foundation for Education and Social Communication and to the Suyapa Foundation, both foundations of the local Church and therefore depending on Maradiaga himself.
“The Pope is sad and saddened, but also very determined at discovering the truth,” people of his entourage at Santa Marta, his residency, explain. He wants to know every item of the investigation Argentine bishop Jorge Pedro Casaretto conducted in Honduras, on top, of course, of the final destination of the jaw-dropping sums of money obtained by the cardinal. Just in one year, 2015, as shown in an internal university report L’Espresso obtained, the cardinal received almost 600,000 dollars, a sum that according to some sources he collected for a decade in his capacity as “Grand Chancellor” of the university. However, some other rather unpleasant items account for the rest of the sums he received according to Bishop Casaretto’s report. The pope’s trustworthy person put down on paper the serious accusations many witnesses brought forward (the audits totaled around fifty witnesses and included administrative staff of the diocese and of the university, priests, seminarians and the cardinal’s driver and secretary) also against the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan José Pineda, among the most loyal in Maradiaga’s inner circle and de facto his deputy in Central America.
The accusations are many: “Some expenses go to close friends of Pineda, like a Mexican who calls himself ‘Father Erick’, but who never took his vows,” said a missionary. “The real name of the man is Erick Cravioto Fajardo. He lived for years in an apartment adjacent to that of the cardinal at Villa Iris. Pineda, who lived with him under the same roof, recently bought him a downtown apartment and a car. The money, we fear, came from university funds or from the diocese. We denounced this close and unseemly relationship also to the Vatican. The pope knows everything”.
There’s more. Read it there.
Just to set this interesting development in context.
Three years ago, the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left, Michael Sean Winters, organized in 20914 a conference in order – essentially – to attack his enemies, such as Acton Institute. He called in Richard Trumka, Archbp. Cupich, and Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras.
Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga gave the keynote and, I’m pretty sure at the Coyote’s urging, in early on his speech attacked the undersigned by name. It was pretty amusing to be elevated so high by such an esteemed personage in the Church. Also, all of about 40 people were at the conference, but the Fishwrap made it into a huge deal at the time.
At that conference Card. Rodriguez, as I mentioned, attacked me by name in the second paragraph:
And the following day he wrote: “Here comes Father Zuhlsdorf, who runs a popular conservative blog. ‘I wonder how many people are still listening to him seriously on this issue,’ opines Reverend Father. Not content to take a swipe at the Pope, he [meaning Fr. Z … me…] goes after a few cardinals, adding, ‘I suspect other people might have the same reaction that I have when hearing/reading this stuff. It comes across as naive, out of step with history. Has any nation successfully dealt with poverty through redistribution? I don’t think so. Moreover, who would supervise this process of global redistribution? Angels? EU bureaucrats? The UN? Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga? Card. Kasper?’.”
I guess I was not too far off the mark to raise questions about how Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga might manage redistribution of wealth.
Now go back to the Espresso story and review the sums of money that he received and why and wonder where its all gone.
This, I also remind the readership, is the Cardinal who had such kind words for Card. Burke. Remember that? HERE
Perhaps over at Fishwrap, Winters will comment on the Cardinal.