Pope Francis has strongly supported Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga against charges of financial improprieties, suggesting that the charges are an unjust attack on the Honduran prelate. “I’m sorry for all the evil they have done against you, but do not you worry,” the Pope said in a message to Cardinal Maradiaga, made public on the Vatican News web site.
Cardinal Maradiaga—who chairs the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis on Vatican reforms—said that the charges against him were really “an attack on the Holy Father,” prompted by “those who do not want the Curia reformed.”
The Honduran cardinal said that the reporter who wrote the story about a Vatican investigation into his financial affairs was lacking in “professional ethics” and had no real credibility.
Cardinal Maradiaga has received more than $40,000 each month from the University of Tegucigalpa, L’Espresso reports. In addition the cardinal has received year-end bonuses of more than $60,000. The cardinal reportedly invested more than $1 million in London financial concerns.
According to L’Espresso, the financial affairs of the Honduran cardinal came under scrutiny after reports that government auditors in Honduras were looking into the cardinal’s financial affairs. Sandro Magister of L’Espresso, who broke the story that Cardinal Maradiaga had received large payments from a Catholic university in Honduras, is a veteran Vatican journalist who, although often controversial, has an established track record of accuracy. And the Vatican has confirmed an investigation into financial affairs of the Church in Honduras, although not necessarily a focus on Cardinal Maradiaga.