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Card. Maradiaga: Don't pay too much attention to the Pope's critics. Jesus also faced opponents

March 13 marks five years since Pope Francis was elected. To give some perspective on his pontificate, we spoke with one of his closest collaborators, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga. 

CARD. ÓSCAR ANDRÉS RODRÍGUEZ MARADIAGA Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) “This pontificate has been full of positive experiences. It has offered so much. Not a day goes by without some type of spiritual lesson. The pope's daily homilies at Casa Santa Marta are a perfect example of this. They lay out a spiritual foundation that's both welcomed and appreciated.”

Cardinal Maradiaga was named bishop nearly 40 years ago. He recognizes that every pontificate is unique. What stands out about Pope Francis, he says, is his ability to communicate with people from all walks of life. 

CARD. ÓSCAR ANDRÉS RODRÍGUEZ MARADIAGA Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) “If you think about it, there are inspirational documents from every pontificate, but sometimes they are forgotten in bookstores or libraries. This pontificate is just as solid and profound, but it gets its message across in today's language. It's a message that can be immediately applied to everyday life.”

The pope's spiritual life plays a big role in this. He prays for two hours before celebrating Mass. In the afternoon, he dedicates one hour to Eucharistic Adoration. It's a daily routine that gives the pope inner strength, even when it comes to facing criticisms. 

CARD. ÓSCAR ANDRÉS RODRÍGUEZ MARADIAGA Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) “I wouldn't worry too much about critics. Our Lord Jesus faced the harshest opposition. He said it quite clearly: 'You will be persecuted and attacked, but do not worry. I will stand with you till the end of time.' These are not random words. They were said by God's Son.”

In the last five years, Pope Francis has led by example. His reforms aren't focused so much on structures, but on people. Even though Pope Francis is the reformer, Cardinal Maradiaga says the works are above all, led by the Holy Spirit.