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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The End of the Church of Slogans?

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Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga


 Like every other propaganda theme concocted by the Vatican apparatus since Vatican II, including “the conciliar springtime,” “dialogue with the world,” “the liturgical renewal,” “the ecumenical venture” and “the New Evangelization,” the theme of “Francis the Great Reformer” is a hoax that conceals an underlying, ever-worsening state of ecclesial dissolution whose scope is without precedent in Church history. “Francis the Great Reformer” was supposed to accomplish the mighty work of converting a “self-referential” Church into the “Church of the Poor”—another hoax—with the aid of a Council of Cardinals—yet another hoax—that would help him reform the Roman Curia and decentralize Roman authority in favor of “the peripheries”—still another hoax. 

But Francis’s handpicked coordinator of the Council, Cardinal Oscar (“Mad Dog”) Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, has just been exposed as a financial huckster thriving on the backs of the poor about which he pontificates constantly in the usual manner of a Latin American leftist ideologue.  Is anyone surprised? Before discussing the details of the scandal and its significance for the Church at large, a few words about the Cardinal’s background are in order.


Who is Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga?

Before Francis’s election, Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga (commonly referred to by his second surname despite the Latin American convention) had fallen into obscurity during the reign of John Paul II, following his involvement in the Caritas Internationalis scandal. As Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, Maradiaga had been appointed head of that organization when the lay woman Lesley-Anne Knight was barred from seeking a second term by John Paul’s Vatican on account of what John Allen euphemistically describes as “unacceptable coziness between Caritas and secular NGOs, some of which provide birth control and support abortion rights.” Maradiaga himself (Allen notes) studied moral theology under Bernard Häring, the infamous dissenter from Humanae Vitae and promoter of the Modernist heresy of the evolution of dogma. Häring’s subversion has been praised by none other than Francis in connection with his project of attempting to relativize application of the Sixth Commandment in keeping with his astounding, publicly expressed disdain for “black and white” morality. Among his other blunders, Maradiaga “set off a tempest in the United States by comparing criticism of the Catholic Church over the sex abuse scandals to persecutions under Nero, Diocletian, Hitler and Stalin.”

After his failed attempt to protect Knight and resist new rules for Caritas aimed at eliminating any association with abortion and contraception, Maradiaga “had almost no remaining influence” in Rome, says Allen. “In truth, he became the kind of figure whose entrance into Roman salons triggered an embarrassed silence. As one Vatican wag phrased it at the time, ‘You can put a fork in his career, because it’s done.’” With the election of Francis, however, Maradiaga was not only rehabilitated but elevated to the status of “arguably the second most powerful man in Catholicism,” commonly referred to as “Vice-Pope.” As Allen concludes, Maradiaga is now “the leading symbol of an entire cohort of center-left [i.e. neo-Modernist] churchmen who seemed marginalized not so long ago, but who today are clearly back in the game.” Allen quotes one Vatican official following the news that Maradiaga had been made coordinator of the Council of Cardinals: “Dear God, Oscar is back!”

The Scandal in Honduras

As reported by L’Espresso, Maradiaga has been siphoning off some €35,000 (or $41,000) a month from the Catholic University of Honduras as “salary” under the title of Grand Chancellor of the University, as well as a December “bonuses” of around €54,000 ($64,000). This is evidenced in large part by a Spanish-language exposé, complete with bank statements for the year 2015.

There is also, as Pentin reports, 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).

Mad Dog“Mad Dog” Maradiaga laughs all the way to the bank while promoting the “Church of the Poor” 

Pineda, Pentin further reports, “said he wanted an investigation to clear his name, but the Register has been told he is a ‘cancer’ for the cardinal due to these accusations, including misappropriating funds for a number of ‘intimate’ friends. These relationships are said to be of ‘far greater concern’ than the allegations of financial impropriety.” One of Pineda’s “intimate friends,” called “Mike,” “is said to be a police chaplain and has celebrated the sacraments for a number of years, despite not being ordained, nor even a Catholic. ‘The cardinal knows everything,’” says Pentin’s source. 

Maradiaga denies everything and claims the allegations are part of a plot to prevent Francis’s wondrous “reforms,” including washing the feet of Muslim women on Holy Thursday, fast-track annulments and Holy Communion for public adulterers. He claims the vast sums involved were not paid to him but rather to the Archdiocese for the support of seminarians and other legitimate purposes. But the article linked above, including the bank statements with check numbers and names of payees, shows that hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid directly to Maradiaga personally.

The allegations of corruption compelled Francis to send Argentine Bishop Alcides Jorge PedroCasaretto on an apostolic visitation to Honduras. Bishop Casaretto, Pentin writes, “was shocked by the extent of the corruption he discovered, including accounts of sexual abuse perpetrated against priests and seminarians.”  His damning report to Francis is supported by the testimony of 50 witnesses. L’Espresso reports 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 is said to be “very sad.” Yet Maradiaga, who ought to be disciplined solely on the basis of his criminal attempts to play the saxophone, remains in his powerful Vatican office even though Francis has been in possession of Casaretto’s report for some seven months during which the Vatican revealed nothing. The Church of “Vatican transparency,” one of the many Bergoglian editions to the catalogue of post-conciliar hoaxes, remains as opaque as ever.  Only the secular press revealed the truth.

And it looks like the Vatican cover-up may continue.  Francis, Pentin notes, has “decided to take the matter into his own hands rather than have a commission or a more extensive apostolic visitation deal with it further, but so far the only action that has been taken has been to send Bishop Pineda to stay with Jesuits in Madrid on a short retreat.” Popes do not send bishops on retreat unless something terrible has happened. As for Maradiaga, he will turn 75 on December 29. We will see very soon whether Francis accepts Maradiaga’s resignation or leaves him in place, and whether the entire nest of scandal over which he and his close friend Pineda presided will be buried.

The Bergoglian Hoax Unravels

The scandal in Honduras is a devastating blow to this pontificate, in itself a grand hoax among all the ecclesial hoaxes that have plagued the Church since the Council. What is to become now of the vaunted “Church of the poor” headed by the merciful “people’s Pope” who “goes out to the peripheries”? It was none other than Maradiaga who, shortly after his appointment to head the Council of Cardinals, laid out the Bergoglian program, which one wag rightly described four years ago as “the  next decade of disaster.”  He did so in a speech redolent of the hoaxes and related doctrinal and disciplinary about-faces which have marked the ongoing ecclesial debacle. Entitled “The Importance of the New Evangelization,” Maradiaga’s manifesto outlines the laughably hubristic Bergoglian “vision” according to the classic neo-Modernist theme: that the Church finally rediscovered her true nature at Vatican II and will regain the right path under the inspired leadership of Bergoglio, bearer of the gnosis of renewal. Quoth Maradiaga:

  • The Second Vatican Council …  meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism [!], which was condemned in the First Vatican Council [!].
  • [N]either the world is the realm of evil and sin –these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II—nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue….
  • The Vatican II Council officially acknowledged that things had changed, and captured the need for such a change...
  • The Church is not the hierarchy, but the people of God…. Neither the clergy are “the men of God,” nor are the laity “the men of the world.” That is a false dichotomy.
  • But, even today, the greatest challenge is to examine the mission of the Church to conform it to the mission of Jesus….
  • Returning to Christ, the founding and fundamental rule of the Church… There is no possible reform of the Church without a return to Jesus….
  • With the New Evangelization we restart (start anew) from the beginning: we once more become the Church as proclaimer, servant, and Samaritan…
  • Returning to the Church as “communion”… [T]this goal certainly cannot be attained through a hierarchic mindset, understanding the Ministerial Order as a superior presbyterium, privileged and exclusive…To undertake this journey, one has to go back to the life of Jesus… This original priesthood of Jesus is the one that has to be continued in history.
  • Return to a Church of the poor… the mandate of the Lord to evangelize the poor should lead us to give actual preference to the poorest and the neediest sector, and to the ones that have been segregated for any reason…. [T]this conciliar option made a good many Christians reconsider the curse of their own lives; it made many religious congregations review their rules and their ways of life; it brought about in much of the episcopate a spirit of reform, freedom, and prophecy…
  • Primacy of the last.… [W]e must fight for establishing relations of equality and to eliminate their greatest obstacles: money and power. We have to establish as a priority that those majorities who suffer poverty and exclusion (the last) will be the first…. ‘The original Christianity faces the reign of money and power as means of domination and introduces a passion into history: that the last stop being the last…”
  • Returning to a profoundly humane Church that will establish a new relationship with the world… The Church could not continue posing as a reality facing the world, as a parallel “perfect society,” which pursued her own autonomous course…
  • Presence of an open Church in constant dialogue… The Church, bearer of the Gospel, knew [at Vatican II] that she could not close her doors to dialogue… The Church did not have a monopoly on truth anymore, nor could she pontificate on a thousand human matters, or hold stances denoting arrogance or superiority. Instead, she should go out into the common arena, plainly and humbly, and share in the common search for truth…. Dialogue should precede the mission, as a simple attitude of listening, to build on what is common, rather that to insist in what divides…
  • The New Evangelization… The Christian identity should be built on a par with what is truly human, as a ferment as well as a service… without renown, with the barest visibility… [a] hidden presence, like that of a fermenting agent…. Blessed John Paul II challenges the Church at the end of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, to leave behind the shallow waters of maintaining the institution and travel to the deep waters of evangelization.
  • After the papacy of Benedict XVI, a time that was virtuous and heroic, the person of Pope Francis has arrived. I do not find naively optimistic to say that we are in the beginning of a new and dynamic period in the history of Catholicism, where the Church will constitute a missionary movement for the conversion of culture, propitiating and multiplying the signs of growth, of great vigor and hope –like for instance the world youth days…
  • [T]he Pope reminds us that the mission of the Church is the mission of Jesus Himself. And to do the right thing, and to become authentic, all she has to do is return to Jesus…

A litany of catchphrases, Modernist bafflegab and fustian boasting as extensive as any post-conciliar churchman has uttered since the Council’s close. All of it complete nonsense that the pitchmen of the meta-hoax of the “renewal of Vatican II” still expect us to take seriously after a half-century of their heterodox, iconoclastic, corrupt and criminally malfeasant leadership.  Only the promises of Christ have enabled the Church to survive their oppressive reign, just as she survived the temporary tyranny of the Arian hierarchs.

More than this, however, Maradiaga’s manifesto exposes the rank hypocrisy of the entire Bergoglian hoax: Where can rank-and-file members of “the people of God” draw down €35,000 per month? How does conformity to “the mission of Jesus” square with riches and luxury for Maradiaga and his friends in Honduras?  What, if not a “superior presbyterium, privileged and exclusive,” does Maradiaga represent? What sort of “Church of the poor” enables prelates like Maradiaga (not to mention Francis and his men in the Vatican) to live in luxury while the poor about whom they constantly demagogue continue to suffer under the thumbs of the socialist gangsters of Latin America, for whom Francis and company have nothing but affection? How does one “go back to the life of Jesus” by living well on donations of the faithful?  What sort of “open Church in constant dialogue” conceals massive ecclesial scandals like that in Honduras, with the Pope sitting on the evidence for the better part of a year while doing nothing to discipline the prelates responsible, including his friend and confidant, “Vice-Pope” Maradiaga?  How is the Bergoglian cadre “establishing relations of equality” and  eliminating “their greatest obstacles: money and power” by amassing precisely money and power?

Catch Chris Ferrara's regular column in The Remnant Newspaper

The Honduran scandal is of a piece with the entire ring of ecclesial corruption surrounding this pontificate. As documented in Marcantonio Colonna’s the The Dictator Pope, Jorge Bergoglio’s episcopal career, including his ultimate elevation to Bishop of Rome, has been characterized by an inner circle of morally compromised mediocrities who do his bidding while posing no threat to his authority. Thus, as Colonna shows, every area in which Bergoglio was supposed to bring urgent reform—Vatican finances, the Vatican “gay mafia” and the bloated curial bureaucracy—has only worsened during his reign, while the members of the Vatican apparatus who might have opposed the direction of this pontificate have all been systematically sacked or neutralized: e.g., Cardinals Burke, Mueller and Sarah, three key members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the entire membership of the  Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the entire membership of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and the abolition of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.  As as result, Colonna concludes based on his inside sources, Vatican corruption is worse than ever under a Pope who governs like “a Peronist party boss.”

Colonna also provides further details on how the infamous St. Gallen’s Group of Modernist subversives launched Bergoglio on his trajectory toward the papacy. The core of the group, Cardinals Martini, Lehmann and Kasper from Germany, Bačkis from Lithuania, van Luyn from Netherlands, Danneels from Brussels, and Murphy O'Connor from London, “met in the so-called Villa Nazareth in Rome, the home of Cardinal Silvestrini, who was then no longer eligible to vote” in order to “discuss in secret a tactic of how to avoid the election of Joseph Ratzinger.” This “mafia,” as Daneels himself called it during a televised interview, involved cardinals and bishops “too many to name,” notes Colonna. They met every year from 1996 until the 2005 conclave at which, despite their efforts, Bergoglio’s candidacy failed and Ratzinger was elected. But in 2013 their influence continued, and this time their man was elected.  Colonna shows that Bergoglio knew very well the direction in which he was headed and that he agreed with the project of electing him. And, with the assistance of his “Vice-Pope,” he has relentlessly been imposing the agenda of those who helped him ascend to power.  Now, however, the tide seems to be turning against the first Jesuit Pope.


Like any evil that God permits, the Honduran scandal conduces to a great good: a growing awareness among the faithful that we have all been had by the hypocritical adepts of an illusory Church of Slogans, who dare to think they can remake the Church that Our Savior founded and “purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28)”, which they labor so diligently to conceal or suppress wherever it persists—maddeningly, from their perspective—in manifesting its truth, beauty, power and majesty.  

“Time is running out for the ‘Dictator Pope’ as a new scandal hits Rome,” declares the headline of a story by Damian Thompson in The Catholic Herald.  And time is running out for the post-conciliar revolution as a whole, which Francis has taken to its final extremity.  There can be no greater gift to the Church and the world from Heaven this Christmastide than the end of this madness and a return to ecclesial sanity. Let us pray that Our Lord, “for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted,” will “have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace” of that glorious restoration while we are still on this earth to witness it.

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Last modified on Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.