Charity and evangelization

  • September 26, 2013

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is flying high at the moment, chairman of the “elite eight” cardinals going to Rome next week to advise the Holy Father on necessary reforms. He was invited to address the plenary meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops this week.

Cardinal Rodriguez was once the great Latin American papabile. Now he is the Pope’s chief cardinalatial consigliere, so the Canadian bishops were likely keen to hear what he had to say about a wide range of ecclesial matters. The purpose of his visit though was to discuss the Church’s corporal works of mercy — its relief, aid and development work — in his capacity as head of Caritas Internationalis, the Holy See’s global umbrella group of various Catholic development agencies.

In 2011, Cardinal Rodriguez was involved in a rare public fight with another cardinal, Robert Sarah, head of the Holy See’s charitable office, Cor Unum. Rodriguez wanted Lesley-Anne Knight re-appointed to another term as secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis. Sarah blocked it, desiring a new secretary-general who would emphasize the Catholic identity of Caritas. Rodriguez appealed to the highest authorities to overrule Sarah, but the Holy See backed the latter.