12 Jan 2012

Former El Paso, TX Bishop Accuses Fr Rodriguez and Takes Legal Action

UPDATE: here is Fr Rodriguez’s Official Press Release.

Here is Bishop Ochoa’s statement, here are the court documents, below is Fr Rodriguez’s initial response, and finally here is the local news story about it.

Below is Fr Rodriguez’s official response.

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

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22 responses to “Former El Paso, TX Bishop Accuses Fr Rodriguez and Takes Legal Action”

  1. avatar


    Rodriguez the Padre
    Son of Our Madre
    Spoke the Truth down in Texas.

    The Bishop got mad
    For the sinners were sad
    Because true priests can give them complexes.

    So the Bishop said, “No!
    You’ll just have to go -
    You’ve no right to confuse confused sexes!”

    So he sent him away
    For he knew he’d obey
    But men of good-will made the nexus –

    Such Bishops expose
    Their long growing nose
    Like witches they try
    To put hexes…

    But Christ knows which witch
    Is digging his ditch -
    To be a corpse in the deep heart of Texas!

    1. avatar

      You always write good posts, and this is no exception. You are an inspiration to all who read your comments.

  2. avatar

    Very sad that the bishop has chosen to do this.

  3. avatar

    Bishop Ochoa is mad because Father Rodriguez has the good sense to stand up FOR, as opposed to, AGAINST, Church teaching. When I write to our nuncio, I will recommend Father Rodriguez be chosen to lead a diocese; I’ll have to think about where.

    1. avatar

      How about your neighbor, the diocese of Las Cruces? We would LOVE to have an orthodox bishop, and ours has submitted his letter of resignation.

  4. avatar

    Be careful to also read the actual law suit that the Bishop file:

    Court Documents: Bp. Ochoa Lawsuit Filed Against Fr. Rodriguez http://www.kvia.com/download/2012/0113/30201443.pdf

    Bishop Ochoa Press Release 2012 01 11

    “…some were serious complaints about missing funds ($31,000 worth) and making his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 in parish funds.”

    So this may actually be a case of a two corrupt clerics, one a liberal Democrat looking for any opportunity to slam conservativism and orthodoxy, and the other a defrauder and embezzler hiding behind the cloak of conservativism and orthodoxy.

    Now yes, I agree with what Saint Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 6:1-8:

    1* When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! 4 If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7* To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren.


    But we should be very careful because what little facts we do have seem to indicate two fraudulent parties.

    1. avatar

      It is obvious Fr. Rodriguez was not following diocesan policy. If he had done so the bishop would not have allowed any funds to be used in order to change the sancutary, especially the altar’s orientation in order to celebrate ad Orientem, nor in order to start a Catholic bookstore to sell real Catholic books instead of the heretical trash that comes from the Tepayac Institute. It is true that once you free yourself from a tight fiscal oversight it is too easy to be lazy with the dispensation of funds and in the retention of proper accounting records. The intentions were good, the methods questionable but perhaps “necessary”. Time will tell.

      1. avatar

        “M. l’abbe’ MR Gonzalez” would seem to be correct. That might explain the missing $31,000, but unless I am missing something, it doesn’t explain making the priest’s mother a beneficiary of $200,000.

        When we say, “The intentions were good, the methods questionable but perhaps ‘necessary’”, then we are saying what the liberals say: the ends justify the means. While I am the last person to ever defend a lavender-coated liberal Democrat bishop, the money-rules have to be obeyed. Failure to do this has resulted in the very scandal about which we are now talking.

        Let us pray for both Fr Rodriguez and Bishop Ochoa.

        Avē Marīa, grātiā plēna, Dominus tēcum.
        Benedicta tū in mulieribus,
        et benedictus frūctus ventris tuī, Iēsus.
        Sāncta Marīa, Māter Deī,
        ōrā prō nōbīs peccātōribus,
        nunc et in hōrā mortis nostrae.

        1. avatar

          “Money rules” are not generally within the genus of intrinsic moral goods or evils, and usually are found in the area of prudence.
          It is prudent to have strict accounting and financial regulation. On one side Father had to weigh the the good of the souls of his parishioners in being able to offer a liturgy according to the ancient norms and other means of sanctification. He would have also had to weigh in the scandal that may have been caused by breaking diocesan fiscal policy, for one immediately thinks of embezzlement when they are so obviously disobeyed. Normally, one does not need to choose between both, in this case Father Rodriguez “thought” he needed to make a choice. Hopefully, it was in the end the better one. Yes, let us pray!

    2. avatar

      I read it and I think the telling part is 32n. Why would a Catholic Bishop oppose a Catholic Parish from having Mass spoken in the proper form? I’ll help you. Bishop Ochoa is from Mahoney’s Chancery. Is there anything else that needs saying here? Source of the Homosexual Priest scandal. Seminaries so full of apostates and homos that we are relieved by a scandal involving a bishop having kids.

      1. avatar


        I couldn’t agree more with you. However, the allegation of 31 thousand dollars in missing funds and the allegation of why Fr. Rodriguez made his mother a beneficiary of parish funds both need to be explained. Fr. Rodriguez’s most recent statement reprinted at the American Catholic blog site (http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/01/14/fr-michael-rodriguez-responds-to-bishop-ochoa/) does nothing to answer the questions that the law suit brings forth. Rather, it is a list Fr. Roriguez made of 30 spiritual works and 16 temporal works which he asserts that he did. Personally, I found the list to be just a bit more than self-serving. I am NOT, however, saying that Fr. Rodriguez did not do what he asserts he did. Rather, what I am saying is that when Jesus went before Pontius Pilate, he didn’t deliver a list of all the fine spiritual and temporal works that he had done. Perhaps, however, dealing with Federal nuclear regulators in my day job for 30+ years has made me too cynical and jaded, a character defect to be presented in the Confessional (again!).

      2. avatar

        David, I live in Los Angeles, so I know more about Cardinal Mahony than I’d like to; even liberals in the Church loathe him, and NOT because they think he’s not liberal enough. What really gets me is how Ochoa managed to get sent to Fresno.

  5. avatar

    I respectfully think Dwayne is correct about Bishop Ochoa, but I also think that the matter of 31 thousand dollars gone missing under Father Rodriguez watch, and the matter of his making his own mother a beneficiary of 200 thousand dollars in parish funds should be straightened out. Is the Bishop lying in the lawsuit? Or did Fr Rodriguez embezzle funds? I am not saying yes as an answer to either question, but am simply voicing the concern. Yes, the Bishop does seem to be a flaming lavender-coated liberal Democrat who can’t stand orthodoxy. But that’s a different matter than the accusation levied against Fr Rodriguez. Even given his animosity against Fr Rodriguez, the Bishop is surely smart enough to NOT bring false accusations of this magnitude before civil court, risking a damning counter suit.

    This is one reason why Saint Paul told the Church at Corinth to not go before the pagan courts. We make a mockery of the Body of Christ when we do so. Yes, the Bishop initiated court proceedings contrary to Scripture, but on the other hand, Fr Rodriguez has to straighten out these matters.
    :-( Scandal is always bad for everyone involved.

    1. avatar

      Paul, I got no indication of money being embezzeled, not that I’m okay with people doing that. However, I think Bishop Ochoa is lying through his teeth(he makes it hard to believe a word he says, and if I’m to believe Father Rodriguez is guilty of that, I need proof)!

  6. avatar


    I apologize if I belabor a point, but there is something essential and primary that we need to look at in all of this. The suggestion that perhaps because Father Rodriguez’s intentions were good, his financial errors can be overlooked is incorrect (no, I am NOT accusing him of fiscal malfeasance – I am using this as an object lesson). I learned this from the industry in which I work: commercial nuclear power. In my job it is not sufficient that I do the right thing, but in the wrong way, nor is it sufficient that I do in the right way the wrong thing. I am required to always and everywhere do the right thing in the right way. If I do the right thing in the wrong way, then my failure calls into question before our Federal regulator, the US NRC, whether I even did the right thing in the first place to begin with. And if I obey all the regulations, codes and standards, but have done the wrong thing, then I call into question the engineering pratices, procedures and programs that I used which I had claimed were the right way: are they really the right way when the result that I acheived is wrong?

    Now of course eveyrone will say, “Hey, Paul, you deal with the fires of Creation in nuclear reactor cores, and what you do can affect hudreds of thousands if not millions of lives, so of course you always have to do the right thing in the right way.” While that statement makes unfairly grandiose what impact my work can actually have, my response to this is simple, “Why wouldn’t the same be true of the oversight being provided for people’s eternal souls.” Using the excuse that money has nothing to do with that is to ignore what St. Paul wrote in one of his epistles, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” As a nuclear engineer (my actual job title is longer and less comprehensible) I don’t have the luxury of telling a US NRC inspector (or even my own boss at my current job) that “I did the right thing.” The inspector could bring civil or even criminal charges against me regardless of the happy outcome I acheived, and my boss would surely bounce my behind on the pavement outside my place of work. And if I had sequestered 31 thousand dollars outside of my department’s allocated funds, or made my mother a beneficiary of company funds, then you can bet criminal charges would be levied and I would be officially barred by the US NRC from ever working at a commercial nuclear power plant ever again. BTW, that has happened to some now unhappy jokers who thought they could play fast and loose with the regulations – you don’t want your name and photo on the inspection enforcement page at the web site of the US NRC.

    As Catholic Christians we are always and everywhere required to do the right thing in the right way. No excuses. No rationalizations. No “Bill Clinton” waffling.

  7. avatar

    I can’t speak to the scandal, but the bulletin at San Juan Bautista was more inspiring and educational than most homilies I’ve heard over the last couple years at other parishes. The bookstore was great too, and I wish I had made the trip more often for Mass in the parish. Father Rodríguez, Bishop Ochoa and the Diocese of El Paso are in our prayers.

  8. avatar

    [...] of my former parishioners will eagerly testify to this.”Read more. Colleen Hammond has additional details. And the El Paso paper looks at the “politics” behind the moves.And for the curious, [...]

  9. avatar

    Isn’t it against Church doctrine and scripture to sue in court? The priest and bishop should appeal to a higher authority in the Church and accept their ruling. In any case it is shameful for a priest not to obey his bishop.

  10. avatar

    I’m surprised it didn’t hit me until as recently as 1 3/4 hours ago, but I find it suspect how Bishop Ochoa waited until he was sent to Fresno to sue Father Rodriguez. True, my assessment of guilt and innocence is based on evidence, nothing more. However, the more I think about the timing of Bishop Ochoa’s filing his lawsuit, the more convinced I am it’s a matter of sour grapes on Bishop Ochoa’s part.

  11. avatar

    Recently, I wrote to “The Catholic League” in praise of a series of articles in defense of Kansas City-Saint Joseph Bishop Robert Finn, and decided to take the time to “out” now-Fresno Bishop Ochoa for what he did to Father Rodriguez while he(Bishop Ochoa) led the Fresno diocese. Let’s hope and pray they at “The Catholic League” look into matters and it results in Bishop Ochoa’s episcopal career go up in smoke, for lack of a better term.

  12. avatar

    Another bishop that seems to be more than will to tell the good guys to get lost is Arlington’s Paul Loverde. He hates the Latin Mass, refuses requests(made by pastors) to restore altar rails, and coddles unchaste priests, while persecuting those who “blow the whistle” on their errant brother priests! He also brought altar girls to his see six years ago. When I right to recommend candidates for bishop, I will recommend Father Rodriguez for Arlington(Bishop Loverde is, for age reasons, scheduled to send in his resignation either the year after next, or the year after that, and that’s if he doesn’t get himself in enough hot water to where he gets removed, or is forced to resign; either way, he can’t be out soon enough).

  13. avatar

    I’m not one for judging books by their covers, but not only is Bishop Ochoa evil, he LOOKS evil!

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