Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa

Saturday, January 14, AD 2012

The following is a press release from Fr. Michael Rodriguez concerning the unprecedented legal action taken by (his) Bishop Armando Ochoa against him (I formatted the press release to eliminate spaces, content has not been touched or changed):

On January 12, 2012, Most Rev. Armando Ochoa, Administrator of the Diocese of El Paso, filed a lawsuit against me.  Once again, I want to reiterate that his action is dishonest and unjust.  I pose the simple question:  over the course of the past 9 ½ years, who is the one who has been laboring, struggling, sacrificing day and night, and caring for the spiritual and material well-being of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church?  Has it been Fr. Michael Rodríguez or Most Rev. Armando Ochoa?  Based on the factual record, which of the two has greater credibility when it comes to protecting and furthering the spiritual and material patrimony of San Juan Bautista?


Over the course of my 9 ½ years as parish administrator of San Juan Bautista, by the grace and mercy of God, the following spiritual goods were “achieved”:

1) Restoration of the glorious Traditional Latin Mass

2) Gradual restoration of the Catholic Church’s sacred language, Latin

3) Gradual restoration of Gregorian Chant and sacred music

4) Devout and worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist on the tongue and kneeling, accompanied by preparatory and thanksgiving prayers

5) Silence at Holy Mass and a real catholic sense of the sacred

6) Modest dress and reverent behavior at Holy Mass and inside church

7) Two daily Masses at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

8. Holy Hours with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at least four times per week

9) Regularly-scheduled Confessions at least five times per week;  Confession available at any time, day or night, by appointment

10) Stations of the Cross every Friday in both english (12:30 p.m.) and spanish (6:45 p.m.)

11) Parish Lenten Missions in both english and spanish

12) Numerous vocations to the priesthood and religious life

13) Christ the King, Corpus Christi, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Processions through the neighborhood

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35 Responses to Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa

  • Pingback: Bp. Ochoa’s Legal Action Against Fr. Michael Rodriguez (UPDATED) | The American Catholic
  • As Fr. R’s defence reads from here, he may be pushing the Latin Traditional Form too much. and seems to be overruling the desire of the US bishops to make standing the norm and the congregation with the choice for the ancient practice of receiving on the hand or the corrupt medieval practice of the tongue which is how babies are fed and can be quite unsanitary, I know both are the choice of HH BXV1 but that is his preference as bishop, not a demand as Pope. Reference to estoring the church building to the 2ancient foms of the Roman Rite” is open to question it would seem. The papal altar in St Peter’s Basilica which faces the people with a separate Sacrament chapel seems to be accepted. I seem to recall that the reserved Eucharist was removed from Cathedral high altars for epsicopal celebratons back there in the pre-Vat 11 days. The Eastern Church does not have the reserved Eucharist for prayer. That is perfectly legitimate for them but allright for the Latin Church. One may have to examine the definition of “reverence ” and not equate Latin Text w, but ut does highlight different ways of expressing Eucharistc devotion. Proper “reverence” is tricky, too many dismiss the Novus Ordo as intrinsically irreverent, and heretical for the extremsists. Father R is undoubtedly a very zealous and sincere but loyalty to one’s bishop is very important unless there are clear abuses of authority on his part which can be resolved by speciifc means

    IF there are fnancial iregularites as one report had it, one presumes that an audit of the books would solve that instead of being a public matter.

  • Did Jesus give Pontius Pilate a list of reasons – all the good spiritual and temporal works he had done – for why he shouldn’t be crucified?

    There is little doubt in my mind that Bishop Ochoa is a flaming lavender liberal Democrat, but should Father Rodriguez even defend himself knowing that Christ (who was always right) never did so.

  • What is not present here is any reference to the actual complaint, which concerns financial shenanigans.

  • Astute observation, Art Deco. It almost seems as though Fr Rodriguez is saying, “Look how many good things I have done,” and that becomes an excuse to ignore that he did them in the wrong way. I post this as a comment on Colleen Hammond’s web site:

    …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 practices, 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 achieved is wrong?

    Now of course everyone will say, “Hey, Paul, you deal with the fires of Creation in nuclear reactor cores, and what you do can affect hundreds 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 (I am really not nearly that important), 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 achieved, 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.

  • I haven’t been following this case particularly closely, but my reaction to this statement is the same as Art Deco. This is a very nice non sequiter, but has nothing to do with the actual charges against him.

  • This is a very nice non sequiter, but has nothing to do with the actual charges against him.

    Exactly… I haven’t been following this either, but, if anything, this response supports rather than refutes the charges.

  • What Fr. Michael Rodriguez is doing is not helping him at all.

    But what Bishop Ochoa did by filing a legal action is unfathomable.

  • Consider the lawsuit
    It dimishes the teaching authority and the slavific ability of the Roman Catholic Church

    Why was the lawsuit filed?
    Was there no way to resolve the differences without making the difference public?
    Was it that priest who in his recalcitrance forced the bishop into this action? And if yes, what would the motivation be?
    Was it the bishop who in his pride who fully engaged the act?

    Consider: The renovations took place over a nine and a half year period. Is it possible that the bishop would be unaware for that long? If this was a serious concern of his, is it likely he would have waited until over a month after he stopped being the bishop of El Paso to file the lawsuit? Or is it personal? The bishop will soon be officially installed in Fresno, and will no longer be the administrator of the diocese of El Paso. He needs to inflict as much personal damage as possible before he is no longer able to. And the cost to the diocesan faithful and the universal church be dammned.

    If a string of San Juan Bautista parishoners is led before a judge in open court, what will their testimony be? Will they say they trust the priest with their money? Or will they say they trust the bishop? What would have inspired them to make their checks out to the priest as opposed to the parish? May personal conclusion is that I have stopped giving to my own bishop’s yearly appeal because I don’t trust him to make Catholic decisions. It makes sense to me that other Catholics in other dioceses would reach the same conclusion. Anyone who is truly Catholic prays incessantly to our heavenly father to send us not the bishops we deserve, but those who can take care of our souls, because the great majority of American bishops are possessed with a great poverty of fortitude, and bow lower before the godless laws of the United States than before the eternal Laws institued by Almighty God.

    My prayer: My God grant the vacant See of El Paso a holy bishop soon, that he may resolve the mess for the greater glory of God and the triumph of the Holy Catholic Church.

  • Father Rodriguez is listing the material and spiritual thing he did for the parrish. Let the lawyers talk now. And father Rodríguez, if you want to really remain catholic, come any time to the Fraternity of St. Pius X. We need priests just like you, to keep the faith and Tradition alive. Modernist Rome is beyond redemption.

  • $1000 / wk x 52 wks = $52,000 yr
    Less expenses, salaries, utilities, upkeep per yr.

    What a common household budget for a family would likely be.

    How the improvements were made – even with volunteer labor – is a good stmt.

    So many opportunities for worship and Sacraments for the parishioners is also a good stmt. And rare. How are these people now? I just wish this flash of oversight were in place for government spending instead of for a parish feeding souls so well.

  • I have not been following this closely, so someone please correct me if I’m wrong. It is my understanding that the issue had to do with the money collected for various renovations was kept in a private bank account rather than in the parish account. There is no suggestion that any money was used inappropriately–i.e. for anything other than renovations. However, the Bishop is arguing that the parish was attempting to keep money it had collected from the Diocese–i.e. that the Diocese had not received its ‘cut’ of the money collected by the parish. Now that money has ALL been taken by the Diocese, but the parishioners want it back, since they had not donated to the diocese but to the parish renovation fund.

  • “Hermit Talker”

    Summorum Pontificum makes it clear that every ‘stable group’ of Catholics who want the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite have that right, irrespective of a Bishop’s wishes. It is Church Law. If Bishop Ochoa wants to deny these people the EF, he is violating the law of the Church. Unfortunately, far too many Bishops have decided simply to ignore Summorum Pontificum, and to act with hostility towards any members of their dioceses who want the EF. We have, in fact, a silent revolution within the Church of modernist Bishops who have nothing but contempt for the Holy Father and tfor Catholic Tradition.

  • I find it amusing that Fr. Rodriguez accuses Bishop Ochoa of not obeying Summorum Pontificum when he himself arguably does not obey it. As he has stated in an interview with the Remnant, he does not believe as the Holy Father states that there is no contradiction between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman rite, and does not agree with the Holy Father that it would be wrong to as a matter of prinicple refuse to celebrate Mass using the ordinary form.

    Also, the instruction Universae Ecclesiae states that:

    “19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.”

    Arguably under this, Father Rodriguez could be forbidden to use the extraordinary form.
    Finally, by teaching that the extraordinary form is the ‘true Mass’ and that the ‘novus ordo’ is a corruption, he is going against the ordinary magisterium of the church himself. So much for the ‘faithful’ priest Father Rodriguez. His bragging of his accomplishments, don’t justify his disobedience, seeding of confusion amongst the faithful, and financial misconduct. With Shepherds like these, who needs wolves?

  • The facts are not known to me. I have absolutely no idea if Fr R. imposed the Latin Extra. Rite on his people, nor about his other theology of Church and whether he in fact is a heretical dissenter from the Bishop of Rome and the Church Catholic. As to finances, there is absolutely no evidence as to that. of which I am aware. So I am off the record on this topic at this ;point

  • Dearest Father,
    Having lived in a religious community during the 1970’s, being forced to attend a “Mass” using pizza and beer, being judged as “dangerous” for practicing private devotions, and that’s only the beginning, I praise God for your priestly service so full of zeal for souls. I promise my prayers as you endure these present trials and remind you that the devil’s anger against a faithful priest is greatly aroused. This time, the scandal is not because of any immorality but the scandal of a Shepherd who appears to have fallen prey to the devil’s intention to destro the Church from within. A passing thought, may the green eyed monster of jealousy be at work here? Stay vigilant before the Most Blessed Sacrament!

  • OK, I’ll bite, please explain your meaning in saying that the Catholic Church is “beyond redemption.”

    That’s a pretty 19th century Protestant statement there. My Lutheran, UMC, and Presbyterian friends wouldn’t say anything so bold.

    Is this your view alone or the official stance of the Fraternity of St. Pius X?

    I haven’t followed this story and only now did some reading. Obedience is hard. It is made all the harder when one is a celebrity. Maybe the Bishop is wrong. Maybe he is being unreasonable. Maybe there is a lot more going on than we can see from the outside. Regardless, a priest obeys solong as doing so does not compromise his duty to God. He obeys even when he disagrees, for what is “obedience” if it applies only tothe things we agree with?

    Counseling priest to abandon his duties and follow you into schism can’t be a Christian act.

  • Alfred Rambit,

    Father Rodriguez does celebrate the OF every day. The FSSP, ICK, and other traditionalist groups of priests never celebrate the OF, but they are not considered to be in violation of that paragraph of SP. Refusing to celebrate one of the rites isn’t a claim about its legitimacy or validity.

    How about the reverse. How many priests refuse to celebrate the EF? Are they in violation of SP? If these two forms of the Roman Rite are equal; if the EF is to be actively promoted…why are bishops acting with such hostility? It seems to me that they are the ones in rebellion against the Holy Father.

  • Alfred Rambit,

    Just another example: The Eastern Catholics never celebrate ithe Roman Rite. Does that mean that they believe it to be invalid?

  • Ivan K,

    “Father Rodriguez does celebrate the OF every day. ”

    No, he doesn’t. Read the ‘Remnant’ interview.

    As for FSSP, ICK, and Eastern Catholics, their preists do concelebrate the OF, and they do not speak of the OF as being inferior, and the EF as being the ‘True Mass’.
    Refusing to celebrate the OF is a violation of that paragraph if the reason for this refusal is that the OF is a deficient or inferior rite, is not the ‘true mass’, is not ‘Catholic’, etc.

    “How about the reverse. How many priests refuse to celebrate the EF? Are they in violation of SP? If these two forms of the Roman Rite are equal; if the EF is to be actively promoted…why are bishops acting with such hostility? It seems to me that they are the ones in rebellion against the Holy Father.”

    That’s my whole point. It’s silly for Fr. Rodriguez and others to criticize those who refuse to follow Summorum Pontificum if they themselves refuse to follow it. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Some bishops and presbyters and the parish councils may consider resources that, given the distribution of presbyters to people today, and the need to provide music and lectors and other liturgical aids for a proper celebration of the Novus Ordo and the Extra’ary form of the Eucharist. There may not be enough of any required elements to provide adequately for all needs. It is also a continuing difficulty that as I read the story around the world, many Latin Mass devotees are in fact not in agreement with the Pope and Catholic Church as orthodox and authentic. I find them getting more evangelical “protestant” in their supposed definition and loyalty to what is orthodox.

  • Please avoid the silly. One knows who are in union with the Bishop of Rome, who are friendly but not in commmunion on all dogma and of course who are at the sign or get out stage!”

  • Pingback: Some additional updates on Fr. Rodriguez « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics
  • The fact that this bishop took the scandalous step of going outside the church to attack Fr. Rodriguez says ALL any of us need to know. First he destroys everything the good priest created and sends him off to the hinterlands but then he must destroy the man’s reputation – and do it outside the church!

  • Given Fr Rodriguez disobedience in financial matters, and given the Bishop’s flaming liberal disobedience, perhaps both ought to read today’s Old Testament reading from 1st Samuel 15:16-23. The late Father Al Lauer has an excellent homily on this which is well worth the 14 minutes to listen to. None of us are pristine when it comes to obedience, especially me. Here’s the web link to the audio recording – hope it works!

  • I read a comment following an earlier article about this controversy. Someone posted a comment that Bishop Ochoa might be the priest, Xavier Ochoa, who fled from Santa Rosa, Calif to Mexico. The Bishop is not that priest. While the internet can be very helpful in researching things, posting such erroneous information without completely verifying such insinuations should be strongly avoided.

  • Sounds like another example of the “sharing/caring” liberal bishop cracking down on Tradition in defense, no doub, of NO novelties…..bring up the first 1900 yrs of Catholicism, watch the smiling drop……..

  • Interesting the dislike in some comments of “the Latin Rite”……does this mean the Mass immorial?
    Also, the comments on “democrats” attributed to the Bishop…must we use inadequate and outdated secular, american terms? No real difference we have seen over last decades in principle in either major party…..a fw minor details….no difference at all…… Catholic should be above attributing Madison ave propaganda slogans and sound bites to internal Catholic issues…..would said Bishop be alright if GOP? Libertarian?
    The issue is Catholic vs Modernist……it appears that this priest spoke up for the Catholic Churches teaching and then, magically, this Bishop finds some “financial issues” wrong with him.
    A Church tribunal/trial should wee this out and if said priest has evidence, lets hear it through proper channels……..perhaps said Bishop has a history against him as a man-man or not liking a trad priest……would not be the first time……..again, liberals in the church have a thin veneer unti la trad comes, then it can be rather harsh, oppressive and hateful…….

  • “Arguably under this, Father Rodriguez could be forbidden to use the extraordinary form.”

    um, no the Moto Proprio was clear that priest no longer have to beg bishops to say it and Pope Pius V (yes, the “bad old days” pre-1962) was clear it was to be said in perp……

  • “IF there are fnancial iregularites as one report had it, one presumes that an audit of the books would solve that instead of being a public matter.”

    Exactly, so why call in the unCatholic state? and, odd timing, no?
    sounds a lot more going on then on surface……pray, pray…….

  • Bishops letter was vague, did not spell anything out…….so, to Rome to trial it should go….or UCCB (heaven help the priest there, in that “good ‘ol boys” club)

  • “too many dismiss the Novus Ordo as intrinsically irreverent”

    well, when one sees who the players are behind said movements for the NO, why it was instituted and how close it parallels the Anglican,etc,etc…..who would not not want to be a part of it… spiritual and pray life has improved since not attending the NO (except, for occ when I go for confessio and stay for NO or, when travelling.Try not to make much of a habit of NO-if I wanted to worship like a Protestant Luthern or Anglican, would be one!)

    2 Churches running on same tracks, one will not get off and leave, like a fungus, it stays and a parasite, it sucks the marrow out…….Luther, at least, left……

  • “Dearest Father,
    Having lived in a religious community during the 1970?s, being forced to attend a “Mass” using pizza and beer, being judged as “dangerous” for practicing private devotions, and that’s only the beginning, I praise God for your priestly service so full of zeal for souls. I promise my prayers as you endure these present trials and remind you that the devil’s anger against a faithful priest is greatly aroused. This time, the scandal is not because of any immorality but the scandal of a Shepherd who appears to have fallen prey to the devil’s intention to destro the Church from within. A passing thought, may the green eyed monster of jealousy be at work here? Stay vigilant before the Most Blessed Sacrament!”

    Well said, many did not live through this time as you and I, or have rose colored blinders on….Satan happy, Christ suffering….

  • The wording used by Pius V in Latin did not imply the tridentine Mass would be forever, it was from this point on. He had reformed and united the various texts and rites in his time, which meant he corrected by unifying- not theologically but liturgically his predecessors’ work. Paul V1 had the exact same authority to allow vernacular translations of the official Latin texts and kept the authority to have his Vatican offices approve them. BXV1 following JP11’s initiative followed through with the same process for re-translating the Latin into English. Some try to say falsely and to me stupidly that Apb Bugnini, a Fremason and seven protestant clergy translated the Mass texts. The whole process was as noted, each episcopal conference or at least language group had input. Ther eference to Lutheranism and Aanglicanism is so humourous- their services were translations of the medieval, Reformation Catholic texts and they have always worked with our more recent texts and imitate them. Most mainline Churches in the USA are following our three-year cycle – and their liturgical scholars are seriously dedicated to healing the rift between us. The more Catholic than the Pope Catholics who are heretical sedevacante -ists and loyal Catholics who do not like the revised translations are using wrong arguments to justify fussing at it all. I remenber serving Mass at a very solemn High Mass for Christmas in the 1950’s in a Dominican church and the priest consectrated the bread and wine while the choir was going all-out with a magnificent Sanctus. That shocked me as a teenager, and as a younger Mass server I used see some priests fly through the Latin of the readings and the Canon, there was only one, the Roman with maximum speed and no sense of reverence. I am simply stating that there is no guarantee that a priest or musicians in the latest NO translations can be less reverent than a legitimate Latin Mass celebration. A dissenting SSPX Mass celebration is unworthy of attendance.

Bp. Ochoa’s Legal Action Against Fr. Michael Rodriguez (UPDATED)

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

UPDATE IV:  Fr. Michael Rodriguez Releases a Second Press Release

UPDATE III:  Excellent synopsis at the El Paso Times

UPDATE IIBishops Ochoa Press Release 2012 01 11 – PDF

UPDATE I:  Court Documents: Bp. Ochoa Lawsuit Filed Against Fr. Rodriguez – PDF

Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of El Paso has raised serious accusations against Fr. Michael Rodriguez, the brave priest who stood up for the sanctity of marriage at the El Paso city council, by filing a legal action against Fr. Rodriguez due to alleged financial misconduct.

Fr. Michael Rodriguez has released the following statement:

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.

End of statement.

This news is just coming in as I type this.  The El Paso Diocesan website has crashed where the bishops press release originates from.  When I am rested early tomorrow morning, I will transcribe the PDF file that I have of this press release in full.

Let us pray for all involved.

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37 Responses to Bp. Ochoa’s Legal Action Against Fr. Michael Rodriguez (UPDATED)

  • Pingback: . . .Bishop Ochoa Sues Fr. Michael Rodriguez. . . |
  • Sadly, I am unsurprised. In the end, the bishop will have to answe to God for doing what he is doing. Pray for our bishops and priests.

    I am absolutely flabbergasted and outraged. 🙁 The liberals in the Church have decided to do dirty fighting.

  • Why, on earth, would a christian, let alone a bishop(!), sue a brother in Christ? I am inclined, though not knowing all the ins and outs of the situation, to think that because the bishop has moved the issue into the public legal arena and is making such irresponsible attacks on a priest, who by the way has publicly suffered for defending the Church’s teaching while the Bishop fell short on defending doctrine, that the bishop has an axe to grind.

    We’ll see.

  • Pingback: Fr Michael Rodriguez Being Sued by Bishop Armando Ochoa « Fr Stephen Smuts Blog
  • Meanwhile, at the Archdiocese of Washington, DC blog, Msgr. Pope hides us all for difficulties we may be having in trusting our bishops. What strange times we’re living in. Oremus pro invicem.

  • That should say “Msgr. Pope chides . . . “

  • Is this the bishop who had two ordinations in ten years in his diocese?

  • Dunno. The report in the El Paso papers listed complaints that were disconcertingly specific. Most were penny ante and concerned with proper procedure and good accountng practice but some were serious complaints about missing funds ($31,000 worth) and making his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 in parish funds. I would reserve judgment for the time being.

  • “…some were serious complaints about missing funds ($31,000 worth) and making his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 in parish funds. I would reserve judgment for the time being.”

    Mehercule! So it’s possible that the Bishop isn’t all wrong! Scandal and corruption grow ever deeper. 🙁

  • When accused of misdeeds, the saints humbly submitted to the authorities.

  • Some time ago when I was reading the names of the pedophile priests Archbishop Mahony of L.A. was handling in the lawsuits against the pedophile priests, I encountered with the name of a Xavier Ochoa, a pedophile priest of the the Los Angeles Diocese. I kept on tracking the website where this name appeared and found that Xavier Ochoa was sent to Mexico and later on disappeared. The same website also disappeared.

    Soon after Fr. Xavier Ochoa was totally vanished from all websites, we have a bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa consecrated by Archbishop Mahony and sent to El Paso to become the Bishop of the El Paso Diocese. I have always felt that our Bishop has some sort of dubious origin. I have always wondered why he was more affiliated to the Archbishop of L.A. instead of the Archbishop of San Antonio.

    This is a point to ponder.

  • Pinky,

    Excellent point and I agree with your point.

    Not buts, just wanted say also that what Bishop Ochoa is doing doesn’t look right.

    Matthew 5:25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; (emphasis mine)

    Matthew 18:15-17 [step 1] If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. [step 2]If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [step 3]But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [step 4]If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; [step 5]and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (steps and emphasis mine)

    It looks as if, just based on the evidence in this post, that Bishop Ochoa skipped [step 3] and went straight to [step 5].

  • I suggest a comparison:

    What house does the bishop live in?
    What house does Fr. Rodriguez live in?
    What car does the bishop drive?
    What car does Fr. Rodriguez dirve?
    What kind of kitchen does the bishop eat from?
    What kind of kitchen does Fr. Rodriguez eat from?
    What kind of bed does the bishop sleep in?
    What kind of bed does Fr. Michael sleep in?
    What is the total personal wealth of the bishop? (not the diocses)
    What is the total personal wealth of Fr. Rodriguez? (not the parish)

    On a spiritual level —
    Does the bishop guide souls to heaven or hell?
    Does Fr. Michael guide souls to heaven or hell?

    How many hours does the bishop spend in the confessional?
    How many hours does Fr. Rodriguez spend in the confessional?
    How many Masses does the bishop celebrate a week?
    How many Masses does Fr. Rodriguez offer a week?
    How many Eucharistic prayer vigils does the bishop lead?
    How many Eucharistic prayer vigils does Fr. Rodriguez lead?

    Who would you trust with the eternal welfare of your soul?

  • I’m unclear as to why Bishop Ochoa felt compelled to file a civil (not criminal complaint) litigation action. That is publicly available.

    Were all other avenues exhausted? Canon Law? Was Father Rodriguez given the opportunity to make restitition and do penance? Did Father refuse?

    Here’s what pops into my sick mind.

    Bishop Ochoa has a beef with Father and is damaging Father Rodriguez’s otherwise good name by the revealing these non-public faults, not crimes or he would have gone to the DA, of which he believes Father is guilty. If Ochoa believes Father is innocent such as this is called “calumny.”

    I apologize to Msgr. Pope. Maybe it would have been better had I been not taught how to think.

  • Perhaps what is truly revealed is a complete distrust of the faithful in the willingness of their bishop to sanctify, teach, and govern them in a truly Catholic way.

    If they had confidence their bishop would let them build a church to truly glorify God
    If they had confidence their bishop would not tax them to fund activities contrary to Catholic doctrine

    there would never have been a need to keep the money from the bishop.

    It would have been the bishop working hard to improve churches in a way that would truly bring honor, glory and proper worship of God.

    I believe the suit filed is really a greater indictment against himself than the holy priest.

  • The more I read about this, the more I think we have two corrupt clerics, one a liberal Democrat looking for any opportunity to slam conservativism and orthodoxy, and the other a money launderer hiding behind the cloak of conservativism and orthodoxy.

    I could be wrong, but……………..


  • This is really the end, the nadir, of episcopal malice. Bishop Ochoa should be as thoroughly disgusted with himself as we are of him.

    This vindictive move by him does, however, throw some light on things, one of which would be his extreme sympathy with the buggery enthusiasts. Indeed it may indicate that he is more than just sympathetic to them.

    Needless to say, I won’t be holding my breath for Rome to do anything about this travesty.

  • This whole thing could be easily be resolved by Fr. Mike if he would just explain his side of the accusation of money mishandling. Most of us are not qualified accountants but this is not rocket science or corporate stock manuevering. If Fr. Mike can explain the missing $31,000 funds or show he did not receive the missing funds, and if he can show that he did not make his mother a potential beneficiary of $200,000 of parish funds then that should end the argument. It is reasonable to ask these questions since he was in charge ? If he cannot properly answer these “ifs” then there may be something to chew on here. Why don’t we ask Fr. Mike to post his comments and any proof or at least say that he is open to an accounting review to prove his point. Until then we might consider giving him the benefit of the doubt and pray that this ends well for him and the Church that has so many black eyes already. We don’t need this (amen ?).

  • I’m kind of an accountant.

    Give me three or five years of bank statements and canceled checks, paid bills/receipts, three hours, and a fifth of Dewars. I’ll tell you exactly what happened.

  • I can guarantee you that you’re not going to get enough information to fairly judge a fraud case on its first day in the news, even assuming that the newspaper assigned their best reporter / forensic accountant to the story.

  • T Shaw – That last comment wasn’t a reply to you. I didn’t refresh before posting.

  • There seem to be a lot of Catholic faithful demanding money from the bishop
    Is the bishop the culprit here attempting to re-direct attention by accusing another of his own misdeeds?

  • and the other a money launderer hiding behind the cloak of conservativism and orthodoxy.

    I think the precise charges would be some combination of misapplication of property, fraud, and embezzlement, not money laundering. If he is hiding behind a cloak, it is now. I do not think we have any reason to believe his public advocacy was a pose. He has been the pastor there since 2002. If I understand the complaint correctly, the chancery is contending the misapplication of funds amongst parish accounts began in 2009 and the commingling of parish and personal funds began in June of 2010.

    It looks as if, just based on the evidence in this post, that Bishop Ochoa skipped [step 3] and went straight to [step 5].

    In fairness to Bp. Ochoa, it ought be noted that the Bishop of Kansas City is now under indictment for conducting an internal investigation and then informing authorities, instead of immediately informing authorities. (Yes, I realize the issues are different and that this is a civil suit).

  • Regarding the 31K and 200K with Fr. R’s mom as beneficiary: It wouldn’t be the first time a pastor and Parish Finance Board have had a trusted third party hold parish funds to keep them from being confiscated by an angry bishop in retaliation toward a troublesome priest or parish. I’m not saying it’s right, of course. I’m just sayin’.

  • Pingback: Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa | The American Catholic
  • This is so unfortunate, but to be expected from the Vatican II hierarchy. Perhaps good Fr. Rodriquez will end up thinking along the same lines I have been recently, that the Vatican II “Ecumenical Catholic Church” may longer be the Roman Catholic Church, but is a schismatic entity.

  • Frank,

    If the V-II Church isn’t the RCC, then what is? And what exactly is incorrect in the V-II documents themselves? Please be precise. Yes, I agree that the liberalism that’s crept into the Church like a cancer post V-II is satanic, but does that mean that V-II was wrong, or that liberalism is wrong?

  • Welcome to the world of Catholics who are attached to the traditional Mass. This is pretty much the attitude of most Bishops toward Priests who celebrate the Tridentine Rite. That’s one reason why the FSSP has not made much progress, in spite of the fact that they have more seminarians than most large Archdioceses: the average Bishop would rather see a parish close, for lack of a priest, than to hand it over to the FSSP or any other traditionalist group. Bishop Ochoa reminds me Bishop Nourrichard of Evreux, France.

  • Ivan K,

    I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud, but as I pointed out elsewhere, 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 still need to be explained. Fr. Rodriguez’s most recent statement reprinted here at the American Catholic blog site ( 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!).

  • Actually, I believe the parishioners more than the Bishop here, especially since they are the ones who donated this money. The parish was kept in a private account rather than a parish account precisely because they believed that the money would end up in the Bishop’s hands’ and that they wouldn’t be able to use it for parish repairs. The suggestion that the priest was some sort of high roller stealing from the parish is absurd, given everything that has come out about him. The priest listed the works that he had done primarily in order to explain how the money was spent.

  • Look at paragraphs 16 and 17 of Bp. Ochoa’s legal action. The issues are: raising money for building repair without the bishop’s permission and knowledge; and using raised money to ‘build an altar ‘to comply with the ancient norms of the Roman Rite.’

    The Bishop has not proved that any money was used for anything other than parish purposes. His charge is that the parish hid money from him, and used it on projects that he would have blocked. The issue for the Bishop is that this parish somehow got around him in implementing Summorum Pontificum. In doing so, they may very well not have followed all diocesan rules; but that, to me, is understandable given that the Bishop had intended to use those rules in order to block the ‘traditionalisation’ of the altar and sanctuary.

  • I wasn’t able to find any reference to 31,000 unaccounted for. The amount cited in the legal action is $25,000. And, again, there is no claim that it was used for the priest’s private benefit. There is even a suggestion that some of that was used for a family in need. Some, apparently was given to the priest’s brother (5,000, I believe), for ‘unspecified word, even though the brother wasn’t officially employed by the parish. I don’t know–we’ll see. To me it sounds like a Bishop using anything he can in order to harm this priest, and this parish. Small parish finances are by definition messy, and require a good deal of trust. However, when there is any real corruption going on, it’s usually pretty obvious, especially in a parish with such modest resources. There is no obvious malfeasance here.

  • The fact that Fr. Rodriguez named his mother as beneficiary of privately donated funds only means he trusted her to do the right thing in the event he was unable. One is required to do this when you open an account. If this was money that was taken from the Diocese that would be different. It was for the restoration of the sanctuary and the Bishop was trying to obstruct Fathers efforts to improve the Church. Father Rodriguez was not supposed to succeed at San Juan Bautista. He was sent there to disappear. If you go to the website you will see how many classes his brother has taught. $5000.00 is chump change when you compare it to the volume of valuable material on that website; which his brother operated and maintained. You can make innocent things look sinister and I think that is what is happening here. What a shame.

  • Thank you for the clarification, Robert. However, Fr. Rodriguez still disobeyed the established financial rules, however honorable his motives. The ends don’t justice the means.

    That said, I would love to have been in his parish. Indeed, he is a man of God, but like all men of God, he has failings. And yes, Bishop Ochoa’s embrace of liberalism and his focused pursuit of trying to ruin Fr. Rodriguez are wrong on so many levels.

  • Good to see a priest not playing partisan politics, but calling attention to elected officials behavior…..seems in line with ppoints 1 and 2 of the 6 point plan of Fr. Denis Fahey….not sure why this became public in secular media…..

  • “That’s one reason why the FSSP has not made much progress, in spite of the fact that they have more seminarians than most large Archdioceses”

    that and they have to rely on the current hierarchy alone……priests of the SSPX at least have 4 Bishops, with the full Holy Orders, to defend them against the wolves…..