Honduran Bishops Decry ‘Human Tragedy’ of Migrant Caravan

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The Bishops of Honduras released a statement this week saying they had been “deaf” and “blind” to the needs of their people and calling on the Honduran government to address the “human tragedy” of the migrant caravan.

“It is a shocking reality, caused by the current situation in our country,” the bishops declared, “which forces a multitude to leave what little it has, venturing without any certainty for the migration route to the United States, with the desire to reach the promised land, the ‘American dream.’”

They seek “to solve their economic problems and improve their living conditions, for them and their families and, in many cases, to ensure a long-awaited physical security,” the text reads.

The crisis has been caused by a failure on the part of the Honduran government, the bishops suggest, while urging their politicians to act without delay.

“It is the duty of the Honduran State to provide its citizens with the means to satisfy their basic needs, such as decent, stable and well-paid work, health, education and housing, and when these conditions do not exist, people are forced to live in tragedy,” they state.

Moreover, “many of them hope to undertake a path that leads to development and improvement, finding themselves in the shameful and painful need to leave their families, their friends, their community, their culture, their environment and their land,” they say.

At the same time, the prelates also accept their share of the blame for the situation, confessing their own failure to act effectively on behalf of their people.

“We were deaf to the cries of their rights and blind to see that reality,” they state. “The news of this caravan is the massive form of thousands of people, mostly young people, who go with the hope of obtaining sufficient resources to transform Honduras.”

The highest-ranking prelate in the nation, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, has come under fire in recent months for a series of accusations involving financial mismanagement and embezzlement of funds, protecting a sexually abusive bishop, and covering up a homosexual “epidemic” in his diocesan seminary.

A letter signed by 48 seminarians and recently made public complained of widespread homosexual activity in the country’s major seminary, which has grown to the point of an “epidemic.”

One of the seminarians who signed the letter said homosexuality in the seminary “has proliferated in the past few years” because of an ongoing cover-up by Cardinal Maradiaga.

“The problem is that Cardinal Maradiaga is Pope Francis’s right hand. I think he has been lying to the Pope. The bishops here do not have power. They are afraid of the Cardinal, and too timid to make a decision,” the seminarian told the National Catholic Register.

Cardinal Maradiaga is the coordinator of the pope’s C9 council of cardinal advisers on curial reform and has sometimes been referred to as the “vice-pope” for his unparalleled influence in the Francis pontificate.

Although the 75-year-old Maradiaga has reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops, the pope has chosen not to accept his resignation and is keeping him in place as archbishop of Tegucigalpa.

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