Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fr.Rodiguez is Being Bishop Ochoa

Update: Article in El Paso Times

In a press release dated January 11, 2012, Bishop Armando X. Ochoa former bishop – now Administrator – of the Diocese of El Paso disclosed he is taking legal action against Fr. Michael Rodriguez, former administrator of San Juan Bautista Parish in El Paso.
Fr. Rodriguez was removed from San Juan Bautista parish last September when the Bishop alleged that the public statements made by Fr. Rodriguez against homosexual behavior and same-sex “marriage” were a threat to the Church’s tax exempt status. LifeSiteNews ran several stories about this development ( here and here), noting that Bishop Ochoa said in a news interview at that time that Rodriquez was being transferred because his statements “raised serious issues regarding whether his participation could be attributed to the Diocese of El Paso”.
“(Father) Rodriguez has recently challenged certain city officials to participate with him in a partisan debate on issues related to an upcoming election,” said Ochoa. “This type of intervention in the political in the political process by religious organizations such as the Diocese of El Paso and San Juan Bautista Church is not permitted under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.”
The Diocese of El Paso also distanced itself from Fr. Rodriguez, according to the El Paso Times. An article in that newspaper quoted a diocesan official:
"These paid advertisements are the personal views and opinions of Father Michael Rodriguez," said the Rev. Anthony C. Celino, the vicar general and moderator of the curia for the diocese.
I’ve written about Fr. Rodriguez on this blog here and here.
According to the January 11th press release, Bishop Ochoa accuses Fr. Rodriguez of “intentionally and materially failed to comply” with the financial policies of the Diocese of El Paso, and alleges that the bishop has “appealed repeatedly to Fr. Rodriguez to make a complete disclosure and a thorough accounting of is financial administration but he has refused to do so.”
The press release also notes that the Bishop has filed legal action against Fr. Rodriguez and his brother David Rodriguez to enable the diocese and the parish “to perform an accurate accounting of the amounts and use of all donated funds and to recover any funds that have been misappropriated.”
The full press release is apparently available on the Diocese of El Paso website, but I’ve been unable to get the page to load on my computer. I do, however, have the full text available as an attachment to the email sent out by David Rodriguez.
Fr. Rodriguez has released a statement in response to Bishop Ochoa’s statement; it has been sent out in an email message from David Rodriguez. Here’s the full text:
JANUARY 12, 2012 PRESS RELEASE by Fr. Michael Rodríguez

It is unfortunate that Bishop Armando Ochoa, Administrator of the Diocese of El Paso and no longer our bishop, has decided to pursue legal action against me.  Such legal action is unjust.  Over the course of 9 1/2 years as the parish priest of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, I poured my heart and soul into caring for this parish, both in terms of temporal goods, and especially spiritual goods.  I'm confident that hundreds of my former parishioners will eagerly testify to this. 
In his January 11, 2012, press release, Bishop Ochoa stated, "Fr. Rodríguez's handling and use of donated funds has compromised the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista."  This is not true.  Bishop Ochoa's statement also refers to "Fr. Rodríguez's mishandling of funds."  Again, this is not true.  I have always honored, respected, and made good use of the financial patrimony of San Juan Bautista.  I stake my entire reputation on this claim. 
On September 20, 2011, I opened my heart to my bishop, like a son to a father, and was completely honest and forthcoming with him as to the financial affairs of San Juan Bautista.  I told him everything.  He chose not to believe me.  For the past four months, my canon lawyer has made repeated efforts to resolve this matter with Most Rev. Armando Ochoa, and he has refused. 
I have a great love for my former parish of San Juan Bautista, and my former parishioners.  I am ready to fight for and defend them, whatever the cost.  I am also ready to protect my own good name and reputation.  I have never misappropriated or misused parish funds. 
Finally, I am convinced that the real reason for my former bishop's actions against me is due to my defense of the Catholic Church's teaching with regard to homosexuality as well as my adherence to the Roman Liturgy of 1962.  If necessary, I will present prodigious evidence to support this contention. 
I will continue to do my best to be a good and holy priest, no matter the cost.  I will continue to proclaim and teach the truths of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the area of sexual morality, no matter the cost.  I will continue to adhere to the Ancient Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, no matter the cost. 
Please keep me in your prayers during this difficult trial.  Please entrust me and my priesthood to the loving protection of Sancta Dei Genetrix, the Most Holy Mother of God.  Thank you and may the good Lord bless you as this joyous Christmas season continues.

Fr. Michael Rodríguez,
Parochial Vicar, Santa Teresa de Jesús Parish
Presidio, TX            


  1. Well, I know who I trust more in this case. Bishop Ochoa's lawsuit seems ridiculous and gives the impression of being a reprisal, the only thing left to do to "get" Fr Rodriguez now that Bp Ochoa is being abruptly moved to California. If only Fr Rodriguez could be consecrated the new bishop, but this priest seems to only want to be a pastor and celebrate the EF Mass and preach and teach the Catholic faith. I hope El Paso gets a wonderful new bishop who reinstates Fr Rodriguez at his old parish on his first day in office.

  2. I'm with Elizabeth on this. The Bp said one thing at the time of Father's transfer and now is saying another. Smacks of a reprisal to me. I too hope for a good Bp for that Diocese--right after we get a good Bp in ours


Please be courteous and concise.