Watch Evening News weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga is claiming it's a "sin against the Holy Spirit" for people to demand Pope Francis to resign.
Maradiaga, head of the Pope's council of cardinals and nicknamed the "Vice Pope," is asserting people are sinning against the Holy Spirit in calling for Pope Francis to resign because "[the Holy Spirit] is ultimately the guide of the Church."
He also claims he is being vilified, remarking, "Who am I, archbishop of a small diocese and in a small country, to appear in the world press slandered and defamed without the possibility of defending myself?"
He maintains the only reason the "enemies of the reform" are attacking him is because they are against so-called reforms in the Vatican and that "the main objective is Pope Francis."
Maradiaga claims to be a "victim … of media harassment," calling the National Catholic Register's Ed Pentin a "hit man" who has been harassing him for years.
The statement is in reference to the ongoing scandal in Maradiaga's diocese of Tegucigalpa where Pentin and others revealed Maradiaga had been covering up for homosexual Abp. Juan Pineda and his sex abuse of seminarians.
Maradiaga is also being accused of punishing the whistleblowers and mishandling millions of dollars.
Yet despite the years of investigations with credible and often damning evidence, Pope Francis has continued to keep Maradiaga as his closest advisor.
On Aug. 20, Cdl. Raymond Burke, former head of the Vatican's highest court, affirmed that calls for Pope Francis' resignation are morally and canonically lawful.
"I cannot say it is wrong," he said. "The request for resignation is, in any case, licit; anyone can make it in the face of whatever pastor that errs greatly in the fulfillment of his office, but the facts need to be verified."
Maradiaga is also mentioned several times in Abp. Carlo Viganò testimony, where he is referred to as a "kingmaker" along with homosexual sex abuser ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Viganò reveals, "The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least of coverup of abuses by the other two. Their names were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark."
He goes further to declare, "[Maradiaga] is so confident of the Pope's protection that he can dismiss as 'gossip' the heartfelt appeals of dozens of his seminarians, who found the courage to write to him after one of them tried to commit suicide over homosexual abuse in the seminary."
Maradiaga responds to the claims made in Viganò's testament, asserting, "I have known Viganò for several years and [the Viganò who wrote the document] is not the Viganò I know."
The statement is suggestive of claims by progressive liberal clerics, academics and journalist trying to discredit Viganò's testimony.
Joshua McElwee of the dissident National Catholic Reporter called Tosatti Viganò's "ghostwriter," to which he responded, "Ghostwriter my left foot! … I helped editing the text prepared by Viganò. The contents of the document are completely his."
Maradiaga finishes, "I do not harbor any resentment against any of my detractors, but I pray for them to convert and to continue their life in peace. The worst thing that can happen to a human being is to get away from God because of sin."