TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (LifeSiteNews) –– One of Pope Francis’ closest aides, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, has publicly supported Fiducia Supplicans and its blessings for homosexual “couples” as being “not heretical.”
In a brief discussion held with local Honduran clergy and reported on by Religion Digital, Maradiaga gave his public support to the December 18 text Fiducia Supplicans, authored by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández and approved by Pope Francis.
“This statement is not heresy, but a pastoral explanation of the character of the blessings, which were limited in the liturgical field,” said the emeritus Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, during an impromptu visit with clergy in the Archdiocese of Panama.
He attested that opposition to the document was based on a faulty understanding or “lack of reading” of the text.
Instead, he praised the document, saying that its key theme was “an innovative contribution to the pastoral meaning of blessings to broaden and enrich their understanding.” He reportedly added that Fiducia Supplicans is clear in affirming the “traditional doctrine of the Church on marriage and no type of liturgical rite or similar blessing is allowed that may cause confusion.”
Maradiaga continued by noting that in certain countries such blessings would not occur even should the clergy wish to offer them, due to anti-sodomy laws.
Though details of Maradiaga’s statement are but scarce, his intervention is a key one given his close relationship with the pope. Created cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001, Maradiaga’s rise to power arguably did not peak until Pope Francis began his pontificate.
Four weeks after Francis’ ascension to the papacy, Maradiaga was appointed by the Argentinian Pope to be president of Francis’ famous “C9” council of cardinal advisers, with his term expiring in 2023. As such, he is deemed one of the Pontiff’s closest advisors and has previously been dubbed the “vice-pope.”
As LifeSiteNews has extensively reported, Maradiaga has been beset with reports of financial and sexual cover-up scandals for a number of years, for which he has still refused to answer.
The recently translated book Sacred Betrayals: A Widow Raises Her Voice Against the Corruption of the Francis Papacy, presents evidence that Maradiaga covered up the sexual abuse and misconduct of his auxiliary bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, and diverted millions of dollars of Church money to fraudulent investment schemes that have since disappeared.
The book is written by Martha Alegría Reichmann, the widow of Honduras’ ambassador to the Holy See, Alejandro Valladares. Both were friends of Maradiaga for many decades, even hosting him in their home, and Valladares’ lobbying was reportedly crucial to Maradiaga becoming the first Honduran cardinal. However, Maradiaga allegedly “betrayed” them after a time, lost their life savings in his investment schemes, and ignored their subsequent petitions for help.
Perhaps more than for his financial and political maneuvers, Maradiaga has become known amongst Vatican watchers due to his alleged protection of homosexual seminarians. In 2018, the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin reported about the on-going seminary crisis in Honduras, writing:
Latest word from Honduras: All homosexual seminarians have been sent away except those in Tegucigalpa archdiocese who joke they have a very strong and powerful ‘patron saint’: ++ Maradiaga. The cardinal has ‘again used his weight to break rules and agreements with other bishops.’
This was in light of the Register’s report that 50 seminarians in Tegucigalpa’s major seminary were speaking out about widespread homosexual activity in the seminary, and referencing “irrefutable evidence.”
Pentin’s sources told him that “about 40 seminarians [out of a total of 180] are actively homosexual, and about 20 more who are in the closet. Many repress it to be able to reach ordination but once ordained, they are ‘free and unbridled.’”
Upon an order from the Congregation for the Clergy, some 48 seminarians were subsequently sent out from the seminary. However, the homosexual seminarians were reportedly not dismissed, but merely assigned to parochial placement, leaving them free to continue their journey to the priesthood.
Speaking with the Register in 2019, Reichmann stated that Maradiaga “is very powerful because he has the absolute support of someone much more powerful, who is Pope Francis.” She added this is why it’s been easy for him to dismiss accusations as “slanders” or those accusing him as “attacking” him “so as to attack the Pope.”
In a January 2022 interview, Maradiaga himself revealed the closeness of the relationship he enjoys with Francis, perhaps explaining why his resignation had not been accepted at that point. RomeReports summarized Maradiaga’s comments regarding the Bergoglian pontificate, saying that Francis has “faithfully followed the agreements that came out of the so-called ‘pre-conclave’ meetings, in which cardinals defined a number of steps that must be taken by the next pontiff.”
These “agreements,” included the organization of the C9 Council of Cardinals, which Maradiaga heads.