Huge news about Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, vast amounts of money

The Cardinal of the Poor

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. majuscule says:

    Fortunately the comments seem to be turned off on articles at the Fishwrap or I might have found myself sinfully engaged in their combox when I headed over to see if Wile E. Winters had anything to say.

    I tried using several different browsers in case the problem was on my end. Seems like all comments are off.

    Thank you dear Lord from delivering me from my own temptation.

  2. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Who the current Pope demotes and fires and who the pope attracts and surrounds himself continues to speak volumes.

    I think I had read on other sites that some considered Maradiaga papabile.

  3. TonyO says:

    Well, it’s always nice to be proven right after all, Fr. Z, isn’t it? Also, it should feel good to have the right (errr, the wrong) people who make you out to be the enemy. With enemies like that, you have to be doing something right!

    I have 2 thoughts about Card. M. First, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. What did the cardinal spend all that money on? Once you get above a certain point, it is actually kind of hard to spend more money non-conspicuously and without getting into grave sin. There’s only so many first class plane flights, only so many steaks you can eat. Watch the news, the other shoe has not dropped. In our diocese about 14 years ago, 2 priests who were found to be embezzling parish money were also found to be using it for pornography.

    Secondly, I love the cardinal’s comment (speaking of Card. Burke): “They are the words,” Maradiaga said, “of a poor man.”

    Christ’s words were the words of a poor man. Cardinal Maradiaga’s words, though, are the words of a rich man. In whose shoes would you rather be, Burke’s or Maradiaga’s, if judgment were tonight? In whose mouth would you expect truth to be found?

    Poor Pope Francis. Picking the wrong guys to head up the reform. Maybe he should put Burke in to replace Maradiaga?

  4. kurtmasur says:

    Well, well, well. I can only hope this receives as much press coverage as the case of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the so-called “bishop of bling”. As the readership here may recall, he was a conservative German bishop that Francis fired because of some building projects in his diocese that seemed to be “too expensive” (at least to certain groups of people).

    At the same time, may Maradiaga’s case serve as an eye-opener for Francis to stop going after conservative bishops and cardinals exclusively. Hopefully the pope will realize that just because a prelate is “liberal” it does not mean that he is of sound character and integrity. Furthermore, if the pope takes measures against Maradiaga (not unlike the measures he took against the German “bishop of bling”), the pope will have earned my respect by acting in a fair and just way.

    To sum up, I guess this was Francis’ turn to letting himself be “surprised by the Holy Spirit”, as he usually preaches the flock to do.

  5. jaykay says:

    It must be a true via crucis to work in the Curia, and I do truly believe that many very good, very talented and holy people work there. As well as the opposite.

    I’ve been a public servant for 40 years now, but our chiefs, political or career, just don’t criticise us in that manner. Well, they do criticise us, and often justly, but it’s in a hell of a sight better-expressed way, and usually privately. They have the confidence in our basic professionalism, and theirs, not to have to play to the gallery – in other words, their criticism is intended to encourage, admonish, or even punish, when necessary, but ultimately to produce a better result. Parents do the same – because it’s fundamentally the same thing. Scatter-gun stuff doesn’t work at any level.

    Yeah. Mercy, and all that. But, God forgive me, stupidity. And all that.

  6. byzantinesteve says:

    No wonder he hates capitalism. He thinks the only way to get rich is to get a sweetheart contract to be an “adjunct professor” at a Catholic university.

  7. ChrisP says:

    This is smoke and mirrors I fear. Francis knows he had to say something and put on a performance given THAT book.

    No one knows what he means or meant. Maybe not even him.

    But things are about to change. Fast.

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    There are only a tiny number of Cardinals that I actively dislike.

  9. Imrahil says:

    Dear kurtmasur,

    to be fair: Bishop Tebartz was not dismissed for his (apparently) too expensive (in itself necessary) renovation of the bishop’s house, though that made all the negative press, and it appeared in a Vatican (or so) inquiry afterwards that he tried to keep the Cathedral chapter out of it in the specific attempt to not get it into the press (which apparently broke some rules).

    He was not even a particularly conservative bishop, but a normal German bishop in a particularly liberal (in the inaccurate sense of the word) diocese. “He wouldn’t be a bad guy; he just doesn’t fit to Limburg”, as Limburger diocesans said about him.

    He was dismissed for being in bad press; in matter of fact, it played a not unimportant rôle that he, at least before growing the beard he has now (good idea), was a less than photogenic person. These are the times we live in.

    But the actual reason higher authorities felt he couldn’t be defended in office was that he equivocated under oath, saying, “we had been flying in business class (to a project in India)” with the unsaid next sentence “that is, that’s the bill we forwarded to the diocese; it is noone’s business that the airline upgraded us to first class and I paid for it myself (or didn’t have to pay at all)”.That is, he didn’t swear to it at first, but he was then heavily badly counseled to sue journalists of libel who said “first class”, which involved repeating the statement under oath. I’m not entirely sure whether this qualifies as perjury in morality, but he was accused of it in German court… and this includes the ultimate nowadays’ crime of “having made oneself impossible”.

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Pope Francis’ hands went up to his skullcap.”

    Obviously, I don’t wear a zucchetto, but my hands did pretty much the same thing when I first saw articles about this yesterday. Then, after a bit, I had to admit I wasn’t all that surprised.

    It seems those who are the most snarky, condescending and arrogant are always the ones who have something to hide. I’ll continue to follow and admire the humble and unassuming giants, like Cardinal Burke.

  11. TomG says:

    One of my Twitter mates noted that HE turns 75 on 29 December. We’ll see what, if anything, happens.

  12. Jacob says:

    I have to agree with ChrisP on this. Just look at the Holy Father’s conduct in the recent affair with the Order of Malta and the fight for control of the millions that had been donated to the Order.

    Why the sudden about-face when it comes to corruption?

  13. Benedict Joseph says:

    If you can’t be trusted with doctrine, why would you be trusted with filthy lucre?
    That Pope Francis could not take the measure of this individual up close and personal when any other adult Christian could do it from a vast distance does not speak well of him. Yet again.

  14. Pingback: FRIDAY CATHOLICA EXTRA – Big Pulpit

  15. Kent Wendler says:

    I just do not understand it. Life is short, and when it ends everything we think we “own” will be taken from us. We are, after all, only stewards of the things of this world. We will only retain the spiritual gold we merit in this life. I can see that maybe a poorly catechized lay person might be ignorant of it, but surely every consecrated person and ordained man knows the parable of Lazerus and the rich man.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Kent, I think most ordained men know it. But some have entered the religious life as hypocrites; some have lost their faith and are just grabbing at toys and pleasure while they live; some are mad at God; some try to do enough good works or virtue-signalling politics to convince themselves that they’re good; and others just comfortably presume that the Lord couldn’t possibly be bothered by their sin.

    It’s not a new problem.

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