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Corruption claims are an attempt to smear Cardinal Maradiaga, says aide

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras (CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

Honduran Catholic officials say reports of financial irregularities in the Tegucigalpa archdiocese are aimed at discrediting the archbishop, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top papal adviser.

Rodriguez Maradiaga turns 75 on December 29, the age when all bishops must offer their resignations to Pope Francis. An archdiocesan spokesman, Fr Juan Angel Lopez, told the Honduran church’s Suyapa TV that the airing of the allegations now were aimed at pressuring the Pope to accept the resignation immediately.

The Vatican on Friday confirmed that Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into allegations of financial irregularities in the Tegucigalpa archdiocese. Italian newsweekly L’Espresso said the issues include failed investments and payments by one of the cardinal’s deputies to an “intimate friend.”

Lopez said the allegations were an “attack on the Holy Father.”