Pope Francis spoke via telephone with Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, following allegations that the Cardinal had inappropriately used monies received by the archdiocese from Catholic University of Honduras. According to Vatican News, the pope expressed his regret for the harm done to the Cardinal, who denies the allegations.
“I am sorry for the harm they have done to you,” said Pope Francis to Cardinal during the call. “Do not worry.” The Cardinal replied, “Holiness, I am at peace – at peace because I am with the Lord Jesus who knows everyone’s heart.”
The charges were reported in an Italian weekly, which resurrected them from a Honduran pamphlet that was discredited about a year ago, ZENIT’s French edition reported on December 23, 2017.
The Cardinal stated that this is old news, already disseminated in 2016, anonymously by a former employee of the University dismissed for the dishonest administration of the institute’s funds.
Asked about this on Friday, December 22, 2017, the director of the Vatican press room, Greg Burke, confirmed that there was “a personal investigation in person by the Holy Father”, without specifying on what or the result.
The allegations related to the use of “large sums of money” received from the university, of which the Cardinal is Chancellor. In an interview given to Suyapa TV, a television channel of the Church of Honduras, the Cardinal forcefully defined the allegations as calumnious.
The Cardinal explained that the money received by the archdiocese from the university is not used for personal purposes, but to help the poor, give healthcare to the needy, and to support priests in rural parishes. He suggested that the attack on him came from those who are opposed to the Pope’s Church reforms.
Cardinal Maradiaga is also the coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, the “C9” which assists the pope in the government of the Church and the reform of the Roman Curia.
With Anita Bourdin