Widow details ‘betrayal’ by Pope Francis and chief cardinal advisor in damning new book
ROME, April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican maneuvered to ensure that Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodriguez Maradiaga would not be implicated in concealing the sexual and financial misdeeds of his auxiliary bishop, the widow of a former dean of the Vatican diplomatic corps has written in a damning new exposé.
Such machinations, she says, allowed Maradiaga (one of Pope Francis’s closest advisors), to maintain his position on the C-9 Council of Cardinals, which advises the Holy Father on Church reform. The C-9 is meeting with the Pope this week in Rome.
Martha Alegria Reichmann, whose late husband, Alejandro Valladares, served as the Honduran ambassador to the Holy See for 22 years, calls such maneuvering “a grotesque action and a mockery of honesty” because it gave Cardinal Maradiaga “impunity.”
In her new book, titled Sacred Betrayal, Alegria says that she and her husband were longtime friends of the archbishop of Tegucigalpa. She details how, while her husband was still alive, Maradiaga pushed them to invest a large sum of money into a London investment fund managed by a friend of his, which led the couple to lose their life savings. She also exposes how Cardinal Maradiaga covered for his auxiliary, Bishop Juan José Pineda, who resigned last year after allegations came to light that he had sexually abused seminarians, had a string of homosexual lovers, and had engaged in financial misconduct.
In an explosive interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, Alegria explains why she chose Sacred Betrayal as the title for the new book. “I have been betrayed by people who carry a sacred investiture: former Bishop Juan Josè Pineda, Cardinal Oscar Andrès Rodrìguez Maradiaga and Pope Francis — three people I trusted blindly,” she says.
“In my book, everything is very well explained and demonstrated. There’s no doubt that’s how it was,” the Honduran widow and mother adds.
Mrs. Alegria said she wrote the book after discovering “a dark side” of Cardinal Maradiaga through the events surrounding his betrayal of her family. She says she could not live in “peace and serenity” unless she went public, adding that her “Christian, ethical and moral principles” did not allow her to “keep quiet about such terrible things.”
“That would have made me responsible for a cover-up,” she says. “To declare what I know and what they have done to me is not only a right that I have, but a duty; because I am a victim of the corrupt system that reigns in the current papacy.”
She says that, in the new book, she goes much further than just recalling her own “painful experiences,” because there are “things that many people don’t know.”
Alegria says she wrote the book because “the wicked triumph when the righteous are silent; and because God himself is being mocked.”
Asked why she believes Cardinal Maradiaga is still archbishop of Tegucigalpa, as well as coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, Alegria says the Vatican “maneuvered” so that Maradiaga would not be implicated as Pineda’s concealer. She added that the Pope has acted against coverups “on very few occasions” and “only when the external pressure is very strong.”
“I am just a widow to whom neither Maradiaga nor Francis have given importance because they do not practice the Gospel as it should be,” she says. “It seems that the teachings of Christ have gone out of fashion and the devil reigns. The reasons for this terrible situation are revealed in my book, and it’s something frightening.”
She says she finds Maradiaga’s “extreme protection” of Pineda over 20 years “incomprehensible,” but adds that it has caused the cardinals to lose credibility with the Honduran people.
Nor does she understand why the Pope keeps Maradiaga by his side. “Perhaps he needs his bad advice,” she said. Alegria then contrasted the Pope’s keeping Maradiaga in position with those who have given him good advice, such as Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, who was removed from his post in the USCCB after writing an open letter to Pope Francis.
She continued by saying that Maradiaga “is very powerful because he has the absolute support of someone much more powerful, who is Pope Francis.” And she added this is why it’s been easy for him to dismiss accusations as “slanders” or those accusing him as “attacking” him “so as to attack the Pope.”
Alegria went on to say that she hopes that Maradiaga will be replaced, and that there can be a “fresh start” with a shepherd who is “humble of heart, energetic, transparent, kind and just.”
She said that things won’t be cleaned up possibly until there’s another Pope, or “maybe if Pope Francis put into practice all those beautiful phrases that he knows how to say and that are blown away like clouds that disappear into nothingness.”
She also said she placed her hope and trust only in God. “God is merciful. God is just. God works miracles. ... ‘God alone is enough,’” she said, quoting the mystic and doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila.
It was put to her whether she had written the book, exaggerating some of the content, so that it would become a best-seller, and thereby recoup some of her financial losses. She welcomed the question, saying it was “easy” to answer it, because the facts can be backed up with evidence.
“Everything that is written is not exaggerated. I just narrated the facts exactly as they are, and those that needed to be proved are proved,” she says
“What is more,” she adds, “there are cases that are terrible and I did not include them because I do not have the evidence.”
She also showed how the revenue from the book will be relatively little and added that its success “depends only on God.”
She also indicated that Maradiaga offered her a large amount of money, but she didn’t accept it because she believes “the money of the Church is for the poor.”
“I did it with my conscience; I did it with the truth in my hand; I did it for dignity, for conviction and for love of God. I started with a sentence by Edmund Burke that says: ‘Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.’”
Editor’s note: Sacred Betrayal is currently available only in Spanish, under the title Traiciones Sacradas.