Pope Francis Has Launched a New Renaissance — in the Borgia Sense of the Word

Pope Francis, Cardinal Maradiaga, sex abuse, James Martin, SJ, homosexuality, Vatican bank, L'Espresso, Catholic News Agency, National Catholic Register,

By John Zmirak Published on March 7, 2018

Management gurus tell us, “Personnel is policy.” Southern mothers say it differently. “You can tell everything about someone from his friends.” Historians will look at the men Pope Francis promoted. They will draw interesting conclusions.

Meet one of the pope’s closest aides. Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga. He faces appalling charges of financial corruption. They keep getting worse. Maradiaga’s handpicked deputy stands accused of sex abuse.

Maradiaga seems to have more in common with Marxist politicians than we thought. In socialist systems from Venezuela to Soviet Russia, the oligarchs might sound like ascetics. But in fact they live like Tsars. The only lubricant that can make a system as inhuman and pseudo-rational as socialism function at all is corruption.

We will deep-dive into the latest scoop about the “Red cardinal.” But first let’s review some other men Francis boosted. (Be sure to click on the links for more.)

Pope Francis’s Renaissance Cardinals and Advisors

  • Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium. Pope John Paul II criticized him publicly. The reason? For allowing the complete collapse of faith in his country. Danneels waved on the legalization of abortion. And same sex marriage. He retired in disgrace. Danneels had bullied into silence a young man abused by a bishop. (The bullying turned up on audiotape.) The coverup led Belgian police to pry open a dead bishop’s coffin. Why? To see if Daneels had hidden documents there. Pope Francis plucked Danneels out of obscurity. He asked him to address the 2014 Synod on the Family. (Fair’s fair. Danneels had pushed Francis for pope in 2005.)
  • Bishop Marcel Sorondo. In 2015 he vaunted Pope Francis’ statements on climate change. He claimed they’re of equal weight to the Church’s 2000-year stance on abortion. He recently praised church-smashing Red China. As a better example of “Catholic social teaching” than the U.S. Sorondo serves Pope Francis as the highest church spokesman on both natural and social sciences.
  • Fr. Antonio Spadaro. He edits the quasi-official Vatican magazine La Civilta Cattolica. In 2016, he denounced Catholic pro-lifers and their Protestant allies. How? As advocates of “theocracy.” He also smeared the Christian Right. He claimed it opposes civil rights for minorities.
  • Archbishop Víctor Manuel “Tucho” Fernández. He’s widely cited as the “ghostwriter” for Francis’ Amoris Laetitiae. (A part of the baffling statement apparently reverses 2,000 years of Catholic practice on divorce.) Fernández also wrote Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing. As Andrew Guernsey wrote, “This book, filled with erotic poetry and images, and written by a priest, now an archbishop, who took a vow of celibacy, provides disconcerting insights into the bizarre mind of one of the world’s most powerful theologians.”
  • Father James Martin, SJ, a gadfly media courtesan. He works to obscure the 6,000 year-old teaching on homosexual activity. Martin praised same-sex couples kissing during Mass. Martin encouraged priests to get ready for same-sex marriage prep. He called for bishops to condemn doctrinally faithful Catholic laymen for what they write online. Martin also twisted the teaching of his own order’s founder, Ignatius of Loyola. The goal? To claim that Jesus “wants” priests to apostasize in the face of persecution. Pope Francis made Martin a special adviser on communications to the Vatican.

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The Court of the Red Cardinal

Now to the Red Cardinal. Many have called Maradiaga the “vice-pope.” He was widely seen as a new broom. He would clean out decades-old financial corruption at places like the Vatican bank. Certainly, his frequently Leninist rhetoric fits someone driving out the money-changers. In a vaunting address at the University of Dallas, Maradiaga quoted Fidel Castro fanboy Jean Ziegler.

Maradiaga denounced the “world dictatorship of finance capital. … The lords of financial capital wield over billions of human beings a power of life and death. Through their investment strategies, their stock market speculations, their alliances, they decide day to day who has the right to live on this planet and who is doomed to die.”

Speaking for himself, Maradiaga dismissed systems like America’s. He damned “neoliberal dictatorships that rule democracies.” He warned, “To change the system, it would be necessary to destroy the power of the new feudal lords.”

But Maradiaga seems to have more in common with Marxist politicians than we thought. In socialist systems from Venezuela to Soviet Russia, the oligarchs might sound like ascetics. But in fact they live like Tsars. The only lubricant that can make a system as inhuman and pseudo-rational as socialism function at all is corruption. As socialists seek absolute power, they get corrupted absolutely. Or maybe a certain kind of envy-ridden, ruthless person craves socialism in the first place. So his palm is primed for grease.

The healing balm of hidden cash has been flowing. The centrist outlet Catholic News Agency cited Italian magazine L’Espresso. Apparently:

Maradiaga may have been involved in mismanaging Church funds, and may also have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa.

The article said that Maradiaga is being accused of investing more than $1.2 million in some London financial companies, including Leman Wealth Management. Some of that money has now vanished, it said.

Casaretto’s report was based on accounts from more than 50 witnesses, including diocesan staff members and priests, L’Espresso said.

That magazine kept digging. It turned up Martha Alegria Reichmann. She and her husband were longtime friends of the cardinal. She accuses him of fleecing her and her family of their savings. As Google translates the Italian text of that piece, Reichmann said of Maradiaga:

“In 2012, he pushed me and my husband to invest a lot of money into a London investment fund. Managed by a Muslim friend, Youssry Henien, who then disappeared into nothing with our money.

“We realized we were cheated. We did investigations, and found that this financier was already finished in the past in similar situations. I tried to contact Maradiaga, but was denied for months and months. I went to the Tegucigalpa cathedral when he celebrated mass, and I managed to exchange a few words. He told me that he was an injured party like us, that he too had lost money from the diocese, but he asked me for discretion.”

Molested Seminarians

Then there’s Juan José Pineda Fasquelle. Maradiaga handpicked him to manage his home archdiocese in Honduras. He’s also now accused of molesting his own seminarians. The eminently mainstream National Catholic Register reports:

According to the first former seminarian’s testimony to Bishop Casaretto, Bishop Pineda “attempted to have sexual relations … without my authorization, during the period I was in service with him. In the night he came close to me and touched my intimate parts and chest. I tried to stop him. …”

The second former archdiocesan seminarian testified that he witnessed firsthand an improper relationship between Bishop Pineda and a third seminarian, during a period when all three men were undertaking pastoral work together.

Subsequently, according to the second former seminarian’s testimony, Bishop Pineda undertook a series of punitive actions against him that defamed his reputation and culminated with his expulsion from the archdiocesan seminary.

A Jewish Plot

These alleged events occurred under Maradiaga’s nose. However, the Cardinal denied that a sexual abuse scandal even exists in the church. As Alan Dershowitz pointed out, in 2002 Maradiaga dismissed the epidemic of sex-abuse cover-ups. How? As the invention of Jews in the media. They allegedly targeted the church because of its advocacy for the Palestinians.

Pope Francis seems to have launched a new Renaissance in the Vatican. It has all the corruption, hubris, sodomy and worldliness of the original. But none of the art.

This article has been updated.

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  • Paul

    This is the one true Church as some often claim?

    • Ge0ffrey

      Yes, the same one true Church that had one of His disciples betray Him to his death, and ten others follow Him…”but from a distance.” Only one stood with Him at the foot of the cross.

    • ArthurMcGowan

      I presume that you have joined a church that doesn’t allow sinners to join?

      • m-nj

        Dude, you should know when you are backing a losing horse. No true christian would say a true church is void of sinners… but a true church also preaches repentance and holiness. The RCC seems extremely lax in both calling for repentance and exercising church discipline for leaders that fall into sin, and it seems to go all the way to the top… to your supposed “Papa”, the Pope… which was the point of the article.

        • ArthurMcGowan

          Many Popes have been saints. Many have been criminals.

          Your argument WOULD be valid–if none of them had been saints.

          • Aliquantillus

            You know quite well that according to NT criteria grave public sinners have no place in the Church and should be excommunicated. St. Paul commanded the Corinthians (in I Cor. ch. V) to excommunicate a public adulterer. Not just to withold communion, but to throw him out and break off all communication with him, in order that he may genuinely repent in time and be saved. From the Second Epistle to the Corinthians we know that this man actually repented.

            This punishment was very effective for new Christians, because at that time the Church still operated under the embrulla of the Synagogue and enjoined the privileges connected to that status. An excommunicated person was no longer under that protection, which implied that in the long run he had either to return in repentance or become a complete apostate. For once a person was expelled from the Synagogue he had from time to time to sacrifice to the Roman Emperor as a god, a thing which Jews and Christians could never do without committing the spiritual suicide of apostasy.

            The Jewish religion was the only one exempted from this pagan obligation, and also Gentile Christians of the first century were reckoned to be a part of this religion by the Roman authorities.

            So an excommunicated Christian was really in a bad situation, and this helped many sinners to repent and to return to Christ and his Church before it was too late.

            The later Church has continually weakened its sacramental discipline, although there have been temporal restorations. But today the situation is worse than ever. There are child molesters and sexual deviants in the highest positions. All these people should be defrocked immediately and without any possibility to re-enter any clerical function.

          • ArthurMcGowan

            Have I said one word in defense of Bergoglio and his henchmen? No.

          • Aliquantillus

            My response wasn’t primarily about Bergoglio either. It was about the constant weakening of church discipline. In recent times this weakening has accelerated after Vatican II. Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI all contributed to the current diastruous state of affairs, so much in fact that the entire Bergoglio phenomenon couldn’t have occurred without their contributions.

            Bergoglianism is a sickness which ultimately has to be traced back all the way to the Jesuits of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries and their hypocritical approach of the Gospel demands of repentance and the sacrament of confession. They undermined the foundations for the sake of winning the favour of the powerful.

            Essentially, however, the NT norms of discipline became already disregarded in the Middle Ages. Since then excommunication of laymen has become very rare. Discipline was only excercised within the ranks of the clergy, and this has remained so until now.

          • ArthurMcGowan

            Discipline in the Church has become lax? Where did you pick up this conspiracy theory?

          • Aliquantillus

            When did Paul VI and John Paul II defrock and excommicate notorious underminers of Christian faith and morality like Hans Küng, Edward Schillebeeckx, Walter Kasper, Gregory Baum, Bernhard Häring, and a lot of other heretics and apostates? They didn’t. They looked away. They were cowards. What they should have done is defrock them and throw them naked on the street without money or means of existence. Now the problem has grown into such unmanageable proportions, that the tiny remnant of the faithful is in danger of being expelled from the Church by an emerging new modernist Inquisition.

            Fighting Modernists can only succeed by continual effort vigilance. One must be determined to hunt them down, one by one. The ancient device how to deal with giants is to kill them when they are still small. This is exactly what the post Vatican II Popes refused to do.

            The local clergy is also very guilty by neglecting the sacrament of penitence and by admitting practically everyone to communion, even if one never goes to confession. This is so obviously ridiculous, and such a complete abrogation of sacramental discipline, that one wonders how anyone can not get the point.

          • ArthurMcGowan

            Your sarcasm detector needs some tuning up.

          • Aliquantillus

            Why? These men were simply not Catholics, so they didn’t belong in the Catholic Church. Their high offices were null and void because non Catholics cannot have offices in the Catholic Church. Similarly, men like Wuerl, Cupich, Marx, &c, are non-Catholics, or catholic apostates, posing as Prelates. But they are nothing at all. There are two legal requirements to be a catholic: (1) being validly baptized, and (2) to subscribe to the catholic faith in all its details, which implies for instance all that is mentioned in the Professio Fidei that was attached to the Codes Iuris Canonici (1918) of Pope Benedict XV.

          • ArthurMcGowan

            I see. Monomania.

          • Aliquantillus

            I admit that Catholicism is monomania, because ultimately there can only be one truth. When push comes to shove each religion is necessary monomaniacal, and I personally take that characterization as a badge of honour.

      • Patmos

        It’s one thing to allow sinners join, it’s another thing to do nothing about sin. That you can’t make that distinction earns you face palm of the day. SMH.

      • Paul

        More importantly in this context is how we address sinning leadership.

    • JTLiuzza


    • Yes

  • m-nj

    This is a very odd statement…

    “According to the first former seminarian’s testimony to Bishop Casaretto, Bishop Pineda “attempted to have sexual relations … WITHOUT MY AUTHORIZATION, during the period I was in service with him.” [emphasis added]

    so, if the seminarian had authorized Pineda’s advances, it would have been OK??

    Come Lord Jesus!

    • ArthurMcGowan

      Why do you strain to put the worst possible spin on a phrase that was originally in Spanish? There’s no evidence that the seminarian was implying any such thing. You sound like Cathy Newman.

      • m-nj

        So, how would you translate it? My questioning is well in line with the overall pattern of rampant homosexual activity and pedophilia in the priesthood, consensual in the former case, and forced in the latter.

        • ArthurMcGowan

          If it gratifies you to fantasize that the seminarian is gay, and he approves of consensual sexual sin, when he said no such thing, no one can stop you.

          • m-nj

            Your response is invalid unless you pull up the original article in Spanish and demonstrate the translation is incorrect.

            I wasn’t fantasizing about anything, just asking a question, as the statement seemed odd if that is actually what he said. Did it hit too close to home?

          • ArthurMcGowan

            Troll. I.e., not a sincere inquirer but a Catholic-hater.

          • Kathy

            I have been an inquirer for many years, so I am not at all ignorant of the RCC. I was at the church for quite a while as well. I’ll just refer you to Joshua Charles’ March 2nd article entitled “What Did Jesus Mean When He Said On the Cross “It is Finished”? This Book Gives Us a Clue” Scroll down to Ken Abbott’s post quoting R.C. Sproul.

            During my years long “inquisition”, I had come to the same conclusion and it is consistently being reconfirmed for me the more I study. I am not trying to hurt Catholics, my aim is to encourage them to look into material other than just what the RCC teaches. You may or may not gather information you never did before. No harm in “sincerely inquiring” for yourself.

          • JTLiuzza

            You are not “hurting Catholics.” The damage to yourself, however, is immeasurable and eternal. Either convert to the one true Church, outside of which there is no salvation, before it’s too late. Or mind your own business.

          • Kathy

            Thanks for your concern. I experienced the new birth 6 years ago as Jesus told us we must to enter His Kingdom. I am assured of my salvation, as all born again believers in ALL Christian traditions are.
            Have you ever ventured outside your tradition to be sure what you are told is true, in other words, biblical? If you haven’t, I can relate…I just automatically believed what I was told…why wouldn’t it be true?

          • Are you serious? I doubt there is any Catholic in the west who has never been challenged to examine his beliefs by protestants, secularists etc. We don’t just believe what we’ve been told (by the Church). Most of us have tended to just believe what we’ve been told by the TV. You clearly have no idea what life is like for the average Catholic.

          • Kathy

            Sure am. For the most part, the Catholics on this website seem to have good knowledge concerning their faith….most I know personally are going through the motions with no clue why. I have no idea where JTLiuzza is on that spectrum. That’s why I encourage ALL people to research what they are taught.

            Just to clarify, I am non-denominational, or what is known as a Biblical Christian…we focus strictly on Scripture. Are you familiar with that at all, as I am about the Catholic faith? What IS your life like? Not sure what you mean.

          • I know a lot about your kind of churches and have found their theology greatly lacking. Protestantism is simply nonsense. I spent years reading about these matters. And even those Catholics who seem to just go through the motions are challenged so much about the Faith from secular attitudes that they have very little of it left.

          • Kathy

            I am challenged as well. I have corresponded with atheists, Unitarian Universalists., JW’s and Mormons, as well as Catholics. Why is Protestantism nonsense? Not all adhere strictly to biblical teachings…many have gone off the rails on numerous issues of faith. One of the many reasons for following God’s Word exclusively. How do we know what are the correct teachings otherwise?

          • This is irrelevant to the article. I don’t know why you’re here

          • Kathy

            Not sure if you read any articles by Protestant writers on this site, but I read almost everyone’s if I am interested in the topic. I enjoy some of the Catholic writers and John is one, even if I don’t always agree with him. I will post if I feel the need to address something.

          • I’m not sure what you needed to address here

          • Kathy

            I was replying to Arthur who claimed that m-nj was not a sincere inquirer and was a Catholic hater. I don’t know m-nj, but was letting Arthur know there are sincere inquirers out there, like myself.

          • That’s irrelevant, if you think about it. Arthur was not saying that other people are not sincere inquirers.

          • If you read Cobbett’s book on the Reformation in England (available online) you’ll quickly see why it’s ALL nonsense

          • Kathy

            It helps to read about the Reformation from the beginning in Germany. I recently learned there was another man challenging the corruption years before Luther named Jan Hus, but he was put to death as a heretic. I read this in Eric Metaxas’ 2017 book “Martin Luther”. He addresses many misconceptions that have circulated over the years. I don’t follow Luther anyway…I may agree or disagree with him. I follow Jesus Christ and His teachings. No corruption there!

          • I said nothing about Luther.

          • Kathy

            I know you didn’t, but you referenced the Reformation in England. It began in Germany and certain people later perverted the movement to suit their own agenda.

          • Why are you telling me things I know already and which aren’t particularly relevant? But as it happens, the “Reformation” was simply perverse.

          • Anybody can challenge corruption. You don’t have to go Full Heretic.

          • Kathy

            You may know that Luther had no intention of breaking away from the CC, they excommunicated him for challenging them, so he had no choice.

          • Nonsense, but it’s irrelevant anyhow

          • Kathy

            ALL nonsense? Sure you realize that we worship the Triune God, profess the Apostle’s creed, observe Holy Communion and Baptism and, at least in my tradition, adhere to all of the same moral laws as the CC does. However, God’s Word always comes before men’s decrees and traditions. Are they biblical? If they are not found in Scripture, we don’t think they can necessarily be trusted.

          • Well, the bits it has in common with Catholicism are not in dispute. It’s the bits that differ which are.

          • Kathy

            Since you say everything else is “irrelevant”, I won’t bother responding. I am curious about what you think the bits that differ are, that we are so wrong about.

          • The absurd idea that the Catholic Church was wrong for hundreds of years and was the only Church for so long, yet -according to protestants- God did nothing about it until the Reformation. Sheer blasphemy.

          • Kathy

            Unless you feel inclined to, no need to reply to that question. I just read the Inspiration article “Loving Jesus Passionately” by Wade Trimmer. Check it out…it’s what our faith should be all about. No need to expand on that!

          • Don’t be a simpleton. 1. Clearly, there are serious doctrinal issues involved. 2. since you’re not interested in reading anything I suggest, I am certainly not interested in wasting my time reading heretical nonsense

          • Kathy

            I guess I could admit I am a simpleton at times. haha I just sent two replies to myself instead of to you.

          • Kathy

            Mmmm, so Wade’s article is heretical? Our doctrine is heretical if we follow God’s Word instead of mere man’s proclamations added to that Word? That is the reason we don’t subscribe to it. Many religions have done that..all different doctrines have been added, so who is right? They can’t all be true. Why not just trust in the Bible instead?

          • Kathy

            Accidentally sent the above to myself. Wade’s article is what our faith is about, or should be, mine AND yours. We could go on and on about our differences in doctrine, but I believe Wade sums it all up there. No need for improvement.

          • I’m from Australia. Hardly any practicing Catholics there any more. Most people there have no religion at all.

          • Kathy

            That’s sad.

          • James

            You are way off base and doing an injustice to Arthur and to the seminarian who courageously brought this assault to the attention of authorities.
            What, really, is your gripe?

  • dan hesko

    ‘In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph.’. Our Lady at Fatima

    • m-nj

      Deception at its best! Mary was a sinner born with a sinful nature just like everyone else before and after her… e.g., her heart was no more “immaculate” than Judas’ heart.

      • ArthurMcGowan

        What are you attempting to accomplish by parroting your Jack Chick nonsense here?

      • James

        You lead one to believe you are projecting a reality about your own nature.

      • Val1

        How do you know someone else’s heart? But the divinely inspired gospel of St. Luke tells us Mary was “full of grace.”

    • dan hesko

      Perhaps our friend is unfamiliar with the Meaning of the N.T. Greek word, ‘Kecharitomene’ : Full of Grace in Luke 1:28.
      Volumes have been written, but the bottom line as understood from the early Church, (2 ct.) Is She is the Immaculate One Redeemed from the first moment of her Conception.
      Study the Greek.

  • kiwiinamerica

    Yeah, John. Rome is a cesspit.

  • Heh! Great closing paragraph. Good (but disturbing) summary.

    I notice the protestants can’t resist gloating. Just mean spirited.

    • JTLiuzza

      That shouldn’t surprise you, Louise.

    • Paul

      Gloating? No, I’m simply at a loss to understand having such leadership and nothing getting done about it. Who would knowingly convert and become subject to that organizational authority? Non-Catholic churches are certainly not exempt from corruption in leadership but when discovered they are often quickly exposed and booted from leadership. Seen it many times. That just doesn’t seem to be the Catholic way and it is really difficult to understand and painful to watch from the outside looking in. This stuff drags on for years and years. For example the sex abuse issues went on for decades and nothing seriously done until it started being exposed. Estimates of almost 2,000 victims and a cost of over $1 billion in the US alone. Is it over? Has the organization substantively changed to prevent it from happening again? I don’t know, I certainly hope so. Now here again more corruption at the top, such a destructive witness.

      • If you really wanted answers to these questions, you would have read the bazillions of pixels in writing that Catholics have *already* written on all this.

      • Who would knowingly convert… ?

        Interesting question. Are you thinking of it?

        • Paul

          I have looked into it, not with Roman Catholics specifically but another apostolic church in full communion.

          • In full communion with?

          • Paul


          • Couldn’t you add a link?

          • Paul

            Live links are not allowed in the comments section here. Replace (DOT) and you’ll get to the page.

          • I hadn’t realised that was the policy.

            I googled it, anyway.

          • The expression ” full communion” doesn’t make much sense unless you say which people or organizations the communion is between

          • Paul

            Per the link I provided, those churches are in full communion with the Roman Catholic church. Coptic, Eritrean, Etheopian, etc. In other words a parishioner of one can receive communion in the other. Or for example an Assemblies of God member won’t be served communion in a Roman Catholic church because they are not in full communion.

          • I see. I’m Catholic, so I disapprove of the use of Roman Catholic as an identifier. That’s the source of my confusion. All those churches are Catholic, but of varying rites. I would usually refer to us as Latin Rite and them as Eastern Rite.

  • BTP

    Some things can only be solved by violence. I’m sure this isn’t one of them.

  • Fidelisjoff

    Our friends say something about us.

  • Jim

    Dr. Zmirak, your article is consistent with a couple of books that I just read; namely The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy, by Marcantonio Colonna (author) 2018, and Lost Shepard: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock, by Philip Lawler (author) 2018.

    Thank you for the interesting exposé.

  • Father 4s

    I hope Pope Francis’ pontificate ends soon. It has been a disaster for the Church. Why, oh why did Benedict XVI feel he had to resign? What a terrible mistake!

    • It was a tragedy!!! Benedict was admired even by atheist, progressive friends of mine, because of his willingness to tell the truth. In their heart-of-hearts, his honesty spoke to them in ways that Francis’s scratching of ears never would. His abdication was a terrible setback. It caused new levels of disappointment among non-believers whose eyes had begun to open when hearing his words.

  • standtall909

    The Pope has surrounded himself in total with what appears to be thugs of the ‘deep state’. Why oh why would he allow Jeffery Sacks and his cabal into the Vatican to address the Cardinals? Dig deep enough, and you will most likely find a ‘connection’ between Francis and Soros. The Church is in deeper trouble than most Catholics are aware of.

  • Father 4s

    I hope Pope Francis’ REIGN OF TERROR ends soon.

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