“One of the Worst Crises in the History of the Catholic Church”

On the eve of the 2013 conclave, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga busily phoned cardinal voters from the Honduran embassy in Rome. He was one of the conclave’s key kingmakers—and he was vigorously promoting then-Cardinal Bergoglio for pope.

That same day, Maradiaga attended a private meeting of Bergoglio supporters, including key revolutionaries from the St. Gallen mafia. Together, they tallied at least twenty-five votes for Bergoglio—who later opened, notably, with twenty-six. On the conclave’s second day, Maradiaga was back at work, shooting down a rival group’s lunchtime rumor that Bergoglio had only one lung. Four days later, the newly elected Pope Francis asked Maradiaga to head his powerful new Council of Cardinals.

Six years later, the pope and his “vice pope” are both accused of perpetuating “one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.” A new open letter addressed to the bishops of the Church accuses Pope Francis of being “guilty of the crime of heresy” and says “a heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.” The authors, many of whom are prominent priests and scholars, argue that Francis has now “publicly and pertinaciously” demonstrated belief in seven “interconnected” heresies—including one that legitimizes “many kinds of sexual activity outside of marriage.”

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily

Email subscribe inline (#4)

The 20-page letter asserts a crucial “link” between the pope’s “rejection of Catholic teaching” and his “protection and promotion” of dissident and immoral clerics. As the authors continue:

Canon law has traditionally considered that protecting, promoting and helping heretics can itself be evidence of heresy… By choosing heretical prelates for the most important posts in the Roman Curia, [Pope Francis] manifests an intention to impose these heresies upon the whole Church. By protecting clerics who are guilty of immoral and criminal sexual acts even when this protection causes grave scandal to the Church and threatens to lead to calamitous action by the civil authorities, he manifests disbelief in Catholic teaching on sexual morality…

The pope’s words and actions, the authors say, “amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins.”

Affirming that Amoris Laetitia allows Communion for adulterers; claiming that conscience can discern that God is “asking” one to break the sixth commandment (AL 303); naming Cardinal Danneels to the family synod even though he protected a pedophile; favoring Cardinal Coccopalmerio despite his call to emphasize the “positive elements” in homosexual relationships; promoting a cleric who reportedly got “trapped in an elevator with a male prostitute”—all these words and actions of Pope Francis (and more) are marshaled as evidence against him. In particular, the authors note that “Pope Francis has protected and promoted homosexually active clerics and clerical apologists for homosexual activity. This indicates that he believes that homosexual activity is not gravely sinful.”

As one part of its voluminous evidence, the letter cites the papal favor enjoyed by Maradiaga, a revolutionary accused of fiercely covering up for a protégé bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle. Pineda ultimately resigned amidst allegations that he sexually abused seminarians and embezzled over $1.3 million to “pay for sexual favors” and “maintain a network” of homosexual lovers. According to Martha Alegría Reichmann’s Sacred Betrayals, Maradiaga ferociously ruined the careers of at least six priests who spoke out against Pineda. She claims that the Vatican then “maneuvered so that Maradiaga would not be officially implicated as Pineda’s concealer.”

Maradiaga has also attacked seminarians reporting homosexual misconduct and downplayed the gravity of Theodore McCarrick’s homosexual predation on seminarians. According to Archbishop Viganò, both men were behind the meteoric rise of Cardinal Cupich, a top revolutionary on homosexuality. Maradiaga has himself repeatedly pushed for groundbreaking “pastoral care” for those in same-sex relationships.

Despite the scandals surrounding him, Maradiaga was recently in the media hailing a curial reform document that he helped draft. The overhaul will, reportedly, downgrade the CDF—five years after Maradiaga loudly rebuked the CDF’s then-head, Cardinal Müller, for defending the Church’s ban on Communion for adulterers. According to Paul Vallely, that high charged clash between Müller and the vice pope signified that the CDF “was supreme no more.” Now, any further downgrading of the CDF—critics fear—could pave the way for doctrinal and moral “anarchy.”

Like an emissary of entropy, Maradiaga has knowingly courted that chaos. In a 2013 blueprint for this pontificate, Maradiaga glowingly announced that Vatican II “meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and Modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council.” It was an astonishing admission from the vice pope himself: this pontificate would promote pacific accommodation with the super-heresy of Modernism. Indeed—as one signatory of the 2017 filial correction shortly thereafter warnedAmoris Laetitia’s underlying premises expose the revolutionaries’ Modernist view “that doctrine is basically changeable.”

Another signatory of the 2017 filial correction, Roberto de Mattei, once described an ominous “new wind” blowing in our times: “Instead of construction there is destruction. Instead of rebuilding there is demolition.” He was speaking broadly of the “nihilism” of “the new left,” but his diagnosis hauntingly fits the Church’s hardcore revolutionaries, intent on burning down the Church’s moral tradition like “spiritual arsonists.” Blazing moral anarchy—that is what the St. Gallen mafia and its allies plotted to ignite under this pontificate.

In “so grave and unprecedented an emergency,” the authors of the open letter write:

We … request that you take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a
heretical pope. We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.

[We] believe that it will no longer suffice to teach the truth as it were abstractly, or even to deprecate “confusion” in the Church in rather general terms. For Catholics will hardly believe that the pope is attacking the faith unless this be said expressly; and hence, merely abstract denunciations risk providing a cover for Pope Francis to advance and to achieve his goal.

[We appeal to you] publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed… If—which God forbid!—Pope Francis does not bear the fruit of true repentance in response to these admonitions, we request that you carry out your duty of office to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime.

It is an extraordinarily grave request, but it must be assessed in the context of the revolutionaries’ ironfisted will to irrevocably alter the Church. As Maradiaga himself said in 2015: “The pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible.”

(Photo credit: Bohumil Petrik / CNA)


  • Julia Meloni

    Julia Meloni writes from the Pacific Northwest. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale and a master’s degree in English from Harvard.

Join the Conversation

in our Telegram Chat

Or find us on

Editor's picks

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Signup to receive new Crisis articles daily

Email subscribe stack
Share to...