Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga : biography
Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB (born December 29, 1942) is a Honduran Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the current Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, President of Caritas Internationalis and was President of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) from 1995 to 1999. Rodríguez was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001. He was the Vatican’s spokesperson with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, on the issue of Third World debt. He had been mentioned as a possible contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned in 2013.
Early life and ordination
He was born in Tegucigalpa in Honduras, the third of the four children of Andrés Rodríguez Palacios and Raquel Maradiaga. As a boy, he dreamed of playing the saxophone in a dance band or becoming a pilot. Instead, he received an internal call for the religious life, and joined the Salesians on May 3, 1961.
He earned doctorates in philosophy from the Institute "Don Rua" in El Salvador, in theology from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, and moral theology from the Pontifical Lateran University. From the Austrian University of Innsbruck Rodríguez received a diploma in clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
He was ordained a priest on July 28, 1970, by Archbishop Girolam Prigione in Guatemala City. Father Rodríguez was named the bishop’s assistant in Tegucigalpa in the same year. He was rector for three years at Guatemala’s Francisco Marroquín University from 1975.
He then taught chemistry, physics, and music at Salesian colleges in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala over the next fifteen years. During this time he also became a professor of moral theology and ecclesiology at the Salesian Theological Institute in Guatemala. He is also trained in classical piano, and did studies in music in El Salvador, Guatemala, and the United States.
He speaks English, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese in addition to his native Spanish.
Bishop and Cardinal
On October 28, 1978, Rodríguez was named auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa and titular bishop of Pudentiana. He received episcopal consecration on the following December 8 from Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, with Archbishops Héctor Santos Hernández and Miguel Obando serving as co-consecrators. Rodríguez was named Archbishop of Tegucigalpa on January 8, 1993.
Archbishop Rodríguez was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Speranza by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001. He is the first cardinal from Honduras
In addition to his episcopal responsibilities, he is currently the President of the Episcopal Conference of Honduras. Rodríguez was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Rodríguez was elected on 5 June 2007 as the new Caritas Internationalis President by the Caritas Confederation members at their 18th General Assembly in Vatican City. He was reelected 24 May 2011. As its President, he is the global representative of the Caritas Confederation for the next four years.
Since December 2001 he has received a pension of 100,000 lempiras a month from the budget of the President of Honduras specified in Acuerdo Ejecutivo 046-2001 published December 7, 2002 in La Gaceta.
On 12 June 2012 Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga was appointed a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education for a five year renewable term.http://press.catholica.va/news_services/bulletin/news/29334.php?index=29334&lang=en
On 13 April 2013 he was appointed to a group cardinals established by Pope Francis to advise him and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, ‘Pastor Bonus’ with the group’s first meeting scheduled for 1-3 October 2013.
Rodríguez was the Vatican’s spokesperson with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on the issue of Third World debt, and has encouraged countries to give development aid.
He has said that a politician who publicly supports abortion excommunicates himself, and that it’s not question of receiving Communion or not, since he has already done serious harm to the communion of faith of the Church.
In 2009, Cardinal Rodríguez agreed with the Pope that condoms cannot be of any real benefit in the fight against AIDS.
Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, in a May 2002 interview with the Italian-Catholic publication 30 Giorni, claimed that in order to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis; Jews influenced the media to exploit the current controversy regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests. This provoked outrage from the anti-Defamation League.
Influence in 2009 Honduras Coup
Rodriguez was first Manuel Zelaya’s friend. In 2008 he criticized Zelaya for using public money to promote his plans instead of spending it on the poor. He stated: "We were good friends. But he changed drastically… It was Chávez."
The Church, according to a spokesman, did not favor deposed President Manuel Zelaya’s alleged re-election plans nor a coup. In a televised speech, Rodriguez warned that the return of Zelaya could lead to a blood bath. He also called on the new government to promote national reconciliation and let aside revenge, pursuit, violence and corruption. He further urged the Organization of American States to investigate all the illegal deeds that happened during the rule of Zelaya. Rodriguez was later accused by Zelaya of conspiring and collaborating with the coup leaders.