Fr. Michael Rodriguez
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
UPDATE III: Excellent synopsis at the El Paso Times
UPDATE II: Bishops Ochoa Press Release 2012 01 11 – 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.