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Pope Francis and Oscar Cardinal MaradiagaCredit: Vatican News

ROME, August 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Disturbing new details have emerged regarding Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga’s potential mishandling of a crisis involving widespread homosexual activity at the major seminary in his archdiocese.

Cardinal Maradiaga is an influential confidant of Pope Francis and a member of the C9 Group of cardinals advising him on Church and curial reform.

On August 4, respected Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, of the National Catholic Register, tweeted an update on the seminary crisis in Honduras, saying: “Latest word from Honduras: All homosexual seminarians have been sent away except those in Tegucigalpa archdiocese who joke they have a very strong and powerful ‘patron saint’: ++ Maradiaga. The cardinal has ‘again used his weight to break rules and agreements with other bishops.’”

In late July, the National Catholic Register reported that nearly 50 seminarians from Tegucigalpa’s major seminary had joined in writing a letter to their formators, protesting what they say is a widespread entrenched pattern of homosexual activity at the institution.

In the letter, the seminarians told their superiors that “irrefutable evidence” exists that a homosexual network pervades the seminary and is being protected by its rector.

In June, the letter was circulated to the Catholic bishops of Honduras.

Edward Pentin has told LifeSiteNews regarding his Aug. 4 tweet that, according to his sources, “about 40 seminarians [out of a total of 180] are actively homosexual, and about 20 more who are in the closet. Many repress it to be able to reach ordination but once ordained, they are ‘free and unbridled.’”

The source informed Pentin that “48 young people were sent away from the seminary, following instructions from the Congregation for the Clergy (headed by Cardinal Beniamino Stella). But, he added, “some bishops have cheated: it is true that the seminarians of the ‘gay club’ will not be in the seminary, but instead they have been sent to parishes for a ‘pastoral’ year.”

“The most notable case,” the source explained, “is San Pedro Sula, where 12 young men will be distributed in parishes. Tegucigalpa is the other case; one of the six under Maradiaga was expelled, the others were sent to parishes for a year of pastoral work,” he said, confirming Edward Pentin’s tweet.

“None of these dioceses has a ‘plan’ for training, accompaniment and therapeutic assistance established for their seminarians. Everything they are doing is outside the Ratio Fundamentalis [Institutionis] Studiorum,” the source told Pentin, referring to a document on the formation of future priests issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy in 2016.

“The need for a commission from Rome is urgent. Urge Monsignor Wong [a Mexican archbishop who serves as secretary for seminaries at the Congregation for Clergy] to do something. The seminary is in a very bad state.”

Today’s update on the Honduran seminary crisis comes one week after the National Catholic Register released the documentation used in their initial reporting. The Register released the documents after the Honduran bishops issued a statement blaming the Register for the bishops’ own mishandling and cover-up of a homosexual crisis in their major seminary in the Tegucigalpa archdiocese.

The documentation includes the letter of the 48 seminarians complaining of the ‘epidemic’ of homosexuality at the Tegucigalpa major seminary; comments from a seminarian who signed the letter; and a suicide note from a seminarian in the diocese who tried unsuccessfully to take his own life in April, after he discovered his male lover in the seminary was in another relationship. All the documentation can be viewed here.

The Register reportedly also obtained, but has chosen not to publish, “graphic photographic evidence of homosexual pornography, exchanged on WhatsApp between seminarians who did not sign the letter, as well as other obscene messages.” According to the Register, “the exchanges have been verified as authentic by computer specialists at the Catholic University of Honduras who searched computer memory and handed the exchanges to the country’s bishops.”

The Register first reported on the disturbing allegations at the Honduran major seminary after the scandal broke in the United States surrounding alleged sexual abuse of seminarians and minors by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington D.C..

As noted in their reporting, the Honduran allegations “echo some key aspects” of the current scandal unfolding in the U.S.:

Just as the revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick have provoked troubling questions about what his brother U.S. bishops and the Vatican knew about his interactions with seminarians and about why nothing was disclosed publicly for so long, the Honduran allegations call into question the actions of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa.

While Cardinal Maradiaga — a key confidante of Pope Francis who is coordinator of the ‘C9’ group of cardinals advising him on reforming Church governance and the Roman Curia — is not himself the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct, he is now under fire for appearing to have disregarded a wealth of evidence of homosexual misconduct by Bishop Pineda, whose resignation as auxiliary bishop was accepted by Pope Francis July 20.