In today’s Holy See Bolletino, it has been announced that the pope has finally accepted the resignation of the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, CMF.
In April of 2018, National Catholic Register Rome Correspondent Edward Pentin reported on Bishop Pineda, who despite allegations pertaining to the abuse of seminarians and significant financial malfeasance faced no repercussions, even after a Vatican investigation into his wrongdoing carried last year.
The head of the investigation, retired Argentine Bishop Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaretto, was reportedly shocked by the testimonies, taken from more than 50 witnesses, including diocesan staff members and priests. The Register obtained affidavits from two of the seminarians who accused Bishop Pineda of sexual abuse, and published them last month.
“Everything is kept silent and so everything continues as it always has,” an informed Honduran source told the Register. “Unfortunately, nothing has changed, only threats have been made against those who have revealed themselves.”
Another source, working for the Church there, also told the Register April 26 that “everything is the same” and that “Pineda remains in his position with the protection of Maradiaga.”
The Maradiaga mentioned here is none other than Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, the bishop of Tegucigalpa and the coordinator of the pope’s C9 council of cardinal advisers. Regular readers here are no doubt familiar with the man’s reputation, as he has been particularly aggressive in the implementation of the pope’s agenda of “reform” and has had no qualms taking shots at critics of the papacy — or other cardinals on the side of orthodoxy.
Maradiaga, who is 75, has reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops, but the pope has not accepted his resignation. This stands in contrast with the case of Archbishop Héctor Aguer of La Plata Argentina, whose resignation was accepted just seven days after it was submitted, and whose diocese will now be headed by papal friend and ghostwriter, Víctor Manuel “Tucho” Fernández. Aguer was considered by some to have been a rival of Bergoglio — and specifically of his unorthodox protege, Fernandez — when Bergoglio served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Aguer was also ordered by the apostolic nunciature to leave his own diocese rather than being allowed to retire there as he had originally planned.
Maradiaga, who despite being associated with Marxist viewpoints, has been receiving cancer treatment in the United States this year, faces his own allegations of financial misconduct.
The Italian daily L’Esspresso reported last December that a Vatican investigation suggested that Maradiaga may have been involved in misappropriation of Church funds, that he may have received close to $600,000 from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa, and that he has been accused of investing over $1.2 million dollars in overseas financial companies. When the story was reported in December of 2017, L’Esspresso said that the pope had already been in possession of the investigatory report for six months. An additional seven months later, no action has been taken against Maradiaga.
Once again, Vatican observers are forced to ask whether this so-called reformer pope has any intention to clean up the corruption not just in the curia, but within his own hand-picked stable of advisers, several of whom have now been accused of covering up for clerical abuse or being involved in other unfitting conduct.
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.