Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of the pope’s council of cardinal advisers, has, according to a tweet from National Catholic Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin, been evacuated from a plane bound for Panama today due to political protests at Honduras airport.
According to Pentin’s sources, Maradiaga was secreted away out the back of the airport because of a belief that the crowd posed a “danger of lynching.”
“His support for govt’s bad policies means he’s seen as paid govt official,” Pentin said.
In a video Pentin later tweeted, a crowd of people, appearing to number in the hundreds, can be seen walking along the runways of the airport.
— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) May 30, 2019
News outlet teleSUR tweeted on their English Language account that the protests today in Honduras are “against privatization,” and that “protesters paralyzed the airport in the country’s capital.”
Mass protests today in Honduras against privatization, protesters paralyzed the airport in the country’s capital. pic.twitter.com/1XJXybiU0p
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 30, 2019
This news comes as the pope just defended Maradiaga from charges of corruption in his Interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki for Vatican News.
Accusing Maradiaga’s critics of “calumnies” — just as he did with those abuse victims who accused Bishop Juan Barros of Chile, before the pope relented and removed him from his post — Francis said that “No one has been able to prove anything [about Maradiaga] to me. Maybe he made some mistakes, he’s done some things wrong, but not at the level that they want to accuse him of. That’s important, so I defend him in that.”
Maradiaga has been accused of covering for his friend and auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda, who was accused by seminarians of sexual molestation and later resigned under pressure. Maradiaga is also under scrutiny as the subject of a new book entitled, Sacred Betrayal, written by Martha Alegria Reichman, the widow of former Honduran Ambassador Alejandro Vallardes. The couple lost their life savings after making an investment in what turned out to be a fraudulent scheme after being advised to do so by Maradiaga. Maradiaga has also come under fire for suspicion of misappropriation of Church funds, including taking an alleged $600,000 from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa. He has also been accused of investing over $1.2 million dollars in financial companies overseas.
Alegria said that Maradiaga has been able to act with impunity, running a “dictatorship” in his diocese. She says he can do so because “he has the absolute support of someone much more powerful, who is Pope Francis.”
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.