December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An investigative report by the respected Honduran digital publication Confidencial HN gives new details on accusations previously reported against Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga’s auxiliary bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, and against the cardinal himself, a close associate of Pope Francis, of abuse of funds and homosexual misbehavior.
Confidencial HN’s report confirms the accusation that Pineda Fasquelle embezzled approximately 1.2 million USD of government money destined for poor parishes and spent the money on a lavish lifestyle for himself and his homosexual lovers. It also highlights the claim that the wayward auxiliary bishop’s cavorting occurred within sight of Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, who lived on the same property as the bishop.
“To pass beyond the curtains of Villa Iris, the residence of Cardinal Rodríguez, one begins to become aware of the existence of some mutual relationships of convenience” related to homosexuality, the author writes. “According to the testimony offered to the Vatican commission by a protected witness,” Pineda and his accomplices “practiced sexual relations in a way that was disguised but that always left the windows open to curiosity and suspicion.”
Confidencial HN’s investigation of the scandal has revealed, in its words, accounts of “orgies, homosexual practices, conspiracies, removals from leadership, and death threats,” although many of its claims it leaves unspecified and vague. It also mentions accusations of sexual abuse committed by Pineda against seminarians, an accusation that was also reported by the National Catholic Register in March of this year.
The charges are particularly significant for Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, a very close associate of Pope Francis and a member of the pontiff’s elite “Council of Cardinal Advisors.”
Rodriguez Maradiaga is reported to have personally ensured that Pineda could have access to the seminary after he was expelled for homosexual misconduct in 2016. He has also privately denounced a group of 48 seminarians who have made public their complaints of widespread homosexual behavior in the seminary of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, calling them “gossipers” who are seeking to make their fellow seminarians look bad, according to sources who spoke to the National Catholic Register.
Following the initial flurry of accusations, the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin reported in August that, despite orders from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy to remove several dozen homosexual seminarians from the seminary, Rodriguez Maradiaga and another bishop had arranged for their accused seminarians to be sent on a year-long assignment at a parish for “pastoral work.”
However, regarding the embezzlement of money, sources cited in the article portrayed the cardinal as the dupe of his auxiliary bishop, who deceived him into signing documents to approve the illicit transfers of funds. The sources claim that Rodriguez Maradiaga had no other involvement. No audit was ever performed by the archdiocese, reports the publication. Rodriguez Maradiaga has also been personally accused of mismanagement of funds, an accusation he has vigorously denied as a distortion of his financial activities.
Confidencial HN also describes in new detail the schemes used by Bishop Pineda and his associates to deceive the government of Honduras into giving the bishop the money, and accounts for how he spent it on various favorites, with whom he seems to have had homosexual relationships.
The publication says that its information comes from anonymous witnesses as well as a report regarding the corruption that was commissioned by Pope Francis and delivered to the pontiff in 2017.
Money used for gifts, sexual favors for auxiliary bishop
The article’s author, David Ellner Romero, says that the money was used “to pay for sexual favors, to maintain a network of lovers, for whom he purchased various forms of real estate, cars, trips to other countries with a paid lover, among other things.”
As examples he names a policeman named Ronny Cáceres, for whom the bishop purchased a motorcycle and constructed a house. For his assistant Oscar, whom the bishop called “Oscarito,” he purchased a Toyota Yaris, a motorcycle, and a house. He purchased a motorcycle and a house for a security guard, Luis Fernando Rodríguez, the latter in the same neighborhood as “Oscarito.” He reportedly did similar favors for the family members of his favorites.
Ellner Romero also reports information from sources regarding purported paramour Erick Cravioto Farjado, who also received a Toyota Yaris from Pineda. He describes Cravioto Farjado as “a layman of Mexican origin whom Juan José Pineda brought to Honduras, and whom he made out to be a priest, but the reality is that behind the cassock he used there was hidden a man who, according to the testimonies of various people close to the priest, was the husband of Bishop Fasquelle, for whom, by the way, he purchased a vehicle of the well-known model Toyota Yaris.”
The money was purportedly obtained following the submission to the government of various proposed projects by pastors of parishes in the archdiocese, which were solicited from the pastors by Pindea. However, the money was never used for the projects, and was instead diverted to Pineda’s private use.
Pineda reportedly would maintain his relationship with “Oscarito” by going out to visit various parishes with his friend in tow, and asking for a single room for the two of them to stay the night, according to Ellner Romero.
Some of this was known – or should have been known — by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, according to the National Catholic Register, which earlier quoted sources saying that “Cravioto’s room was ‘right next to the cardinal,’ who knew ‘perfectly well that Pineda spent hours and hours with him and never said anything, never did anything.’”
Threatening messages scrawled on a mirror in red
When the clamor of protest against Pineda’s misdeeds reached Rome, the bishop reportedly became unhinged with rage against those among the clergy and laity who he believed had betrayed him, and left threatening messages against them on display in Villa Iris, where he lived close to Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga.
“Pineda, overwhelmed by all of the accusations against him, especially of sexual abuses in the major seminary of Our Lady of Suyapa, searched out those who were guilty of his disgrace and among them found various colleagues in the Church in lay friends who supposedly conspired to put him in a bad light with the cardinal and with Pope Francis, by denouncing him for all of the evils that for years he had hidden underneath his cassock and his Christian oath,” writes Ellner Romero.
Ellner Romero reports that, according to an unnamed source, the bishop used a mirror in the “grand hallways of Villa Iris” to deliver his threatening messages of accusation against more than a half-dozen perceived accusers, writing his accusations in red. “They were all threatening words,” said Ellner’s source. Those accused by Pineda included laymen and priests.
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Pineda in July of this year following public revelations of the accusations made against him published in the Italian and English-speaking media.
At that time, Pineda denied that the accusations being made against him were true. He claimed that he himself had requested the investigation launched by Pope Francis, a fact confirmed by the National Catholic Register, which states that both Pineda Fasquelle and Rodriguez Maradiaga made the request. Pineda added that he has nothing to hide but will not respond to news reports or internet posts about his purported behavior, challenging his critics to take him to court.
An Honduran source told the National Catholic Register that the Confidencial HN article is a “confirmation of all the filth.”