Bishop Files Charges against Former El Paso Priest

By Sandra Ramirez
January 13, 2012

Bishops Press Release 2012.01.11

Sandra Ramirez - Producer

EL PASO - A local priest is facing major accusations.

Bishop Armando Ochoa accused Former San Juan Bautista Administrator, Father Michael Eodriguez of mishandling donated church money.

In a wrtiten statement, Bishop Ochoa said. "Fr. Rodriguez and those acting in concert with him, had no right to appropriate for themselves funds donated to the parish."

Father Rodriguez responded saying, "I have always honored, respected, and made good use of the financial patrimony of San Juan Bautista."

In September, 2011 Rodriguez ran a four page ad in the El Paso Times titled, 'The Truth About Homosexuality." The article included quotations from Bible passages which the priest says denounce homosexuality.

Rodriguez said the ads represent the teachings of the Catholic Church and were sparked by El Paso City Council's decision to reinstate benefits to domestic partners of city employees.

Rodriguez told Newschannel 9 that the ads were paid for by a group of Catholics who wished to remain anonymous.

You can read a release from Bishop Ochoa below, as well as a response from Father Rodriguez.

JANUARY 12, 2012 PRESS RELEASE by Fr. Michael Rodriguez

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. Rodriguez'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. Rodriguez'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 Rodriguez,

Parochial Vicar, Santa Teresa de Jesus Parish

Presidio, TX








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