Jolt: Texas bishop sues outspoken priest

Some may recall the story of Fr. Michael Rodriguez, from the Diocese of El Paso, who was promptly reassigned last fall after making some strong public statements — and taking out newspaper ads — condemning homosexual activity.

Now there’s more, and it’s getting ugly:

In a rare move, Catholic Bishop Armando X. Ochoa and Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas on Wednesday sued a controversial priest and his brother, alleging they mishandled thousands of dollars in church money.

The suit, described as an extraordinary measure by the bishop, alleges that the Rev. Michael E. Rodriguez improperly accepted donations meant for San Juan Bautista parish and opened certificates of deposit in his name that were meant for church construction projects.

The suit also names Rodriguez’s brother, David Rodriguez.

The Rev. Rodriguez, who was reassigned from San Juan Bautista Parish on Sept. 20, 2011, to Santa Teresa de Jesus Parish in Presidio, Texas, denied any wrongdoing in a statement released Thursday. The priest was reassigned for becoming politically involved in a recall effort against the mayor and two City Council representatives.

On Thursday, Ochoa said he could not comment on the lawsuit.

But according to the suit, Ochoa learned of the alleged mishandling on Sept. 7, 2011, when two former parishioners reported that the Rev. Rodriguez was soliciting money from them and others but asked that the checks be made payable to him instead of the church.

In a letter to parishioners on the El Paso Catholic diocese website, Ochoa said that Rodriguez failed to comply with diocesan policies relating to parish finances. He also stated that the priest has repeatedly refused to make a complete disclosure of how San Bautista church donations were used.

“I have had to resort to an extraordinary measure in order to protect the patrimony and restore the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista parish,” Ochoa stated in the letter.

The lawsuit gives a detailed account of how the Rev. Rodriguez allegedly inappropriately deposited donations in various accounts to keep them secret, solicited funds and completed building projects without the approval of the bishop and requested checks be made in his name.

The lawsuit alleges that David Rodriguez was paid $4,000 for unknown work. The suit alleges that David Rodriguez was a participant in some of the priest’s fraudulent practices and maintains at least one personal checking account with money meant for the church. David Rodriguez would not comment on the suit.

Police said neither Ochoa nor Bañuelas has filed a criminal complaint.

“We don’t have a case at this time,” said El Paso police spokesman Darrel Petry.

Renee Railey, spokeswoman for the district attorney, said there currently is no investigation of the Rev. Rodriguez and his brother.

In a statement Thursday, the Rev. Rodriguez said Ochoa’s legal action is unjust and he is ready to defend himself.

“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,” he said. “I’m confident that hundreds 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, you can see a video of Fr. Rodriguez in action here.

Comments

  1. This sounds like it will be a real donny brook. Rodriguez is saying it’s retaliation for performing the latin mass and upholding the Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts. Ochoa denying that. I can see this going all the way to Rome.

  2. What a mess.. more scandal being caused and division as well. What a shame.. This hurts me even though I live in another state.. What is happening in our Mother Church ?

  3. Warning signs from Fr Rodriguez’s press release:
    —Referring to himself in the third person.
    —Using the phrase “real Catholic” (in contrast to ?) to describe his work at San Juan Bautista.
    —Claiming that he, and he alone, is responsible for whatever goods, spiritual and corporal, accrued to San Juan Bautista.
    Proverbs 16:18, Father. Pride is the deadliest of deadly sins, because it makes disobedience and greed and all manner of other offenses so easy to self-justify.

  4. I know both Father Rodriguez and Bishop Ochoa. Father Rodriguez I know in closer way than I do Bishop Ochoa. And I doubt, very, very much that Father Rodriguez committed any fraud or larceny or any other thing of that nature. As far as Bishop Ochoa, he is cut out of the same cloth as his mentor, Cardinal Mahony. He was distant, aloof and my personal opinion lost touch of his flock long time ago. A bishop suing his own priest in a court? Whatever happened to Saint Paul’s dictum about suits between Christians? I give the benefit of the doubt to Father Michael.

  5. It smacks to me to pure retaliation by the way. That is my perception and opinion, and let the fire begin, I guess.

  6. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Whatever the motivation may be, if you visit Colleen Hammond’s website, and check out her links, you can read the lawsuit. It appears the bishop has a pretty extensive and meticulously detailed paper trail — and that Fr. Rodriguez may not have been doing everything by the book.

  7. Yes, that may be.

    Father Pavone, now Father Rodriguez; Bishop against priest. It’s becoming all to common.

  8. Deacon Bill says:

    From my years on the USCCB staff, I came to know Bishop Ochoa quite well; I even staffed one of the committees on which he served. He is a gentle, kind man who would not take such actions unless he was absolutely convinced there was no alternative. In fact, he would be concerned first and foremost for the Christian stewardship of the dioceses resources on behalf of all the people involved, so if that means taking legal steps to steward those resources, he would do it.

    This legal step would have nothing to do with theological disagreements but with stewardship.

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  9. Curious as to why the Bishop chose to use the route of a suit rather than simply report the priest to the proper authorities as a theif? Why a lawsuit? Anyone know?

  10. Just out is Vorhis video on the different camps in the church and in many ways addresses these type of bishop versus priest issues.

    http://www.realcatholictv.com/daily/?today=2012-01-13
    Well done discussion about what is going on in the Church today.

  11. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    The article at this link offers some clues, “Mark.” One observer indicates that the bishop tried to handle the matter internally, without success. He may be trying to shake loose whatever money is unaccounted for, while also avoiding giving the priest a criminal record.

  12. Richard W Comerford says:

    Re: The Civil Action

    There appear to be two counts against the priest that stand out to an observer not familiar with the background & history of this case. That (allegedly) the priest:

    * Cannot account for $32K
    * His mother is the potential beneficiary for $200K.

    Quire frankly, and compared to many other Church scandals, 32K is not a lot of money these days. And the 32K may have honestly and innocently disappeared into the various Church repairs & renovations that the priest undertook. Indeed the good Bishop’s legal bills may very easily top 32K.

    However there does not appear to be an innocent explanation why teh priest’s mother is allegedly named a potential beneficiary of 200K in Church money.

    Another point: not only did the good Bishop fail to report an alleged felony, (such a failure itself a crime under Texas law); but the good Bishop has (so far) not initiated a Church action under Canon Law either.

    Curious.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  13. Richard W Comerford says:

    Deacon Bill:

    I visited the links provided by Deacon Greg. It appears that the good Bishop has recovered all of the money in question except for $32K (one report said $27K) that may have gone into Parish repair and improvement. Now the good Bishops legal bill will likely exceed 32K. This is going to be a very expensive lesson in “stewardship”. Any idea why the good Bishop would start WW III in the public streets when he may loose money?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  14. Richard W Comerford says:

    Kevin

    Re: Scandal

    As of 2004 the El Paso Diocese has paid out $4,600,000 for the benefit of victims, settlements, and legal costs. One in 20 El Paso priest were identified as predators. See: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/usccb/natureandscope/dioceses/elpasotx.htm

    Right now there appears to be 27K – 32K. The El Paso legal bills may easily top $32K.

    It makes no sense.

    You are right. This may turn into a “real donny brook”.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  15. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    I don’t think it’s quite that simple, Richard.

    If you read the lawsuit, you find multiple references to funds being diverted into private accounts, some being siphoned off to relatives and family members, and allusions to communications between civil and canon lawyers, seeking explanations and information. (There’s also the $200,000 that was inexplicably earmarked for the priest’s mother.) The lawsuit says that when he was pressed, Fr. Rodriguez “refused” to identify where the money went. Diocesan lawyers haven’t been able to have their questions answered, and Fr. Rodriguez’s lawyers have not been forthcoming. It also notes that the bishop was trying to perform an audit on the books but was told by an account that the audit could not be completed “without the information being sought through this suit.”

    It may be a lot of sound and fury over nothing — but it sure sounds like something.

    Dcn. G.

  16. It is disingenuous to pretend all of this is about a concerned bishop about money accounts. This is vengeance and retaliation of the worse kind. Even if Fr. Rodriguez is guilty of something, bishop Ochoa is giving the priest a pay back. Not very Christian or pastoral.

  17. Deacon Steve says:

    Rudy it sounds very much like the priest is not following canon law in his duties as pastor. He is not being open with his books, which is a huge red flag, he is not being obedient to his bishop when information is requested, and he is putting both himself and his bishop in a very bad position should civil authorities raise questions over the books. Depending on how the Diocese is organized his bishop could be solely responsible if things are amiss. In my Archdiocese everything is in the name of the archbishop as a corporation sole. The parishes are own by the archbishop not the pastor. canon law sets limits as to how much can be done monitarily without approval of the bishop. I forget if that limit is set by each Bishop or by the USCCB. This not a good thing on the part of the priest to be withholding information from his bishop. It sounds fishy, and if he has done nothing wrong he is doing everything he can to make it look like he has.

  18. naturgesetz says:

    Rudy, if it’s really some form of payback, Fr. Rodriguez could have stopped the bishop in his tracks by accounting for the money. That he hasn’t done so suggests that it really is about the money.

  19. What is extraordinary is the righteous patrol is so naive. Like I said, disingenuous…

  20. Richard W Comerford says:

    Deacon:

    “If you read the lawsuit, you find multiple references to funds being diverted into private accounts”

    Yes. However what is currently unaccounted for is around $30K.

    “some being siphoned off to relatives and family members”

    Siphon infers criminality. The links you provided allege that Father’s brother & a sister got paid allegedly to run the Church bookstore and do repairs to the parish.

    “There’s also the $200,000 that was inexplicably earmarked for the priest’s mother.”

    This money apparently is now under the good Bishop’s control.

    “The lawsuit says that when he was pressed, Fr. Rodriguez “refused” to identify where the money went.”

    Father will have to respond in his answer to the Bishop’s complaint. Father’s answer will be a matter of public record.

    “It also notes that the bishop was trying to perform an audit on the books but was told by an account that the audit could not be completed “without the information being sought through this suit”.”

    In the final analysis the whole purpose of an audit is to identify where the money went. An audit can be completed simply by stating that “x” dollars is not accounted for.

    If I am reading this correctly there is about $30K currently unaccounted for. One of your links suggested that this money went into Parish repairs. The easiest way to handle this matter is to initiate a criminal compliant – unless of course there is no criminal wrongdoing. The government then does all (or most) of your work for you. Other Bishops have taken this path.

    Civil actions are expensive. Worse, if this action goes forward then during the discovery phase the good Bishop & his chancery staff may be deposed.

    This entire matter does not make sense.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  21. Richard W Comerford says:

    Deacon Steve:

    “it sounds very much like the priest is not following canon law in his duties as pastor”.

    He is no longer pastor.

    “he is putting both himself and his bishop in a very bad position should civil authorities raise questions over the books”

    And how is the Bishop’s high profile civil action now going to prevent the civil authorities from raising questions about the books?

    “Depending on how the Diocese is organized his bishop could be solely responsible if things are amiss.

    Responsible to who? The Bishop has the protection provided by a corporation.

    “This not a good thing on the part of the priest to be withholding information from his bishop.”

    According to his statement Father alleges he told the good Bishop everything.

    A Bishop is supposed to be like a Father to his priests. A civil action which very well may cost more than the unaccounted money (which may have gone into parish repair) is simply not the act of a father.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  22. Roger Farmer says:

    The civil lawsuit was unnecessary. Technically correct, sure, but not necessary since Fr. Rodriquez doesn’t seem to be “getting away.” The only one leaving the diocese is the “good” bishop. And to a place he is better suited for, I might add. For all the “good” deacons, never met one I liked….unless they were on their way to the priesthood. The more I hear from deacons, the more I wish for the pre-Vatican II days.

  23. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr Farmer:

    “For all the “good” deacons, never met one I liked….unless they were on their way to the priesthood. The more I hear from deacons, the more I wish for the pre-Vatican II days.”

    I like Deacons. I think we need them. Indeed we may prove key to reviving the Church in the USA.

    God bless

    Richard W Co
    merford

  24. naturgesetz says:

    “For all the ‘good’ deacons, never met one I liked….unless they were on their way to the priesthood.”

    If you’ve met more than two permanent deacons, the reason you never met one you liked is doubtless to be found when you look in the mirror.

  25. Richard W Comerford says:

    Rudy:

    From the EL PASO TIMES (Jan. 14): “The bishop contends that Rodriguez surrendered $200,000 after being confronted about discrepancies in parish finances, but is refusing to account for an additional $27,000″

    Something is very wrong.

    If the Times is correct and only $27K is missing then the proper response is both a secular criminal action and Church (Canon Law) action to ensure that Father cannot get into a position to do this again. The Civil action is going to cost the Diocese a lot more than $27K.

    However if the $27K that is allegedly missing is not missing due to criminality on the part of the good Father; but rather due to his incompetence then a secular criminal action would fail and a Church (Canon Law) action may fail also (Especially as inferred in one of the links from Deacon Greg that teh $27K went into Parish work).

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  26. Deacon Bill says:

    That’s OK, Mr. Farmer,

    We (deacons) still love you as a brother, and if you ever need us, we’ll be there for you.

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  27. irishsmile says:

    My son is a priest. He dreads all the complicated financial gobbledegook that running a parish involves as do most priests. Forget to dot an ‘I’ or cross a ‘T” and one may have bent some regulation. Most of us laypersons dread the Internal Revenue’s attention to our tax returns because even if we are being honest, we may have erred in some way. Can Father Rodriguez afford to hire an attorney and/or canon lawyer to defend himself? Probably not. Most priests can’t afford to defend themselves legally….. a problem that most bishops do not have.

  28. Yes legal fees will easily exceed 50,000 if discovery is taken, depositions, motion practice, etc. I just have a hard time believing that Father Rodriguez funneled 200k in parish funds into a trust for his mother. If he did something that egregious, he was either terrified of how he would care for her and not in his right mind, or he was being underganded. Too soon to know.

  29. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr. Kevin

    “I just have a hard time believing that Father Rodriguez funneled 200k in parish funds into a trust for his mother.”

    Allegedly his mother was the “potential beneficiary, in the event of Father’s death. According to the El Paso Times that money is now controlled by the Diocese. $27K is still unaccounted for. Curiously the good Bishop has not accused Father of stealing the $27K.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  30. Richard W Comerford says:

    irishsmile:

    “Can Father Rodriguez afford to hire an attorney and/or canon lawyer to defend himself? Probably not. Most priests can’t afford to defend themselves legally….. a problem that most bishops do not have.”

    Hence a secular civil action ILO of a secular criminal action or a Church action in which case Father would have been provided with a lawyer?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  31. naturgesetz says:

    Nothing “curious” about it at all — when money is unaccounted for, it would be premature and unjust to accuse someone of stealing it.

  32. naturgesetz says:

    I see that the bishop will become Bishop of Fresno early next month. That puts a new light on matters. He’s only got a couple of weeks left to put things in order in El Paso for his successor. If he expected to be there for several more years, he could have given the matter more time. But his imminent departure makes it urgent to get a process at least under way so the matter won’t get “lost in the shuffle” when his successor takes over.

  33. Richard W Comerford says:

    naturgesetz:

    If there is no criminal allegations against Father then why is the good Bishop launching a secular civil action to recover $27K from a party who might not possess $27K; but win or loose may cost the Diocese twice teh amount under dispute in legal fees?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  34. Fiergenholt says:

    Hmmm.

    I had totally forgotten that Bishop Ochoa was on his way to Fresno so trying to clean-up this mess before he leaves makes good sense. Odd way to do it but — if the above com-boxes are correct — he may have had few options left.

  35. What you may not know, is the long running feud between Bishop Ochoa and Father Rodriguez. Also that many of Father Rodriguez in his former parish before he was removed and reassigned were not happy about it and started a protest. Father Rodriguez was ostracized by many of his fellow priests for his conservative views and he fell out of grace with Bishop Ochoa because of his public stand against homosexual “marriage”. I once approached Bishop Ochoa and asked him about becoming a Deacon; the first thing he told me is if I liked to dress fancy in long garments. What a pastoral answer. When he relaunched the Deacon program, out of hundreds of men who step forward he reluctantly picked only 15. And then he sent them to train 55 miles away to Las Cruces, New Mexico in another Diocese, making the candidates drive there on weekends, while he had the necessary facilities right in El Paso, most of all in the Tepeyac Institute, a school ran by super-liberal and somewhat unorthodox Father Banuelos. In another occasion when I asked him about Hispanic Catholics leaving the Church for protestant congregations, he got angry and said that was a non-issue and that those people would eventually return, no need to reach for them. Who knows, but Bishop Ochoa is better gone to Fresno, I just feel sorry for those people there.

  36. Fiergenholt/Rudy:
    This whole thing to me smells like retaliation. IMHO, it appears like the Bishop was embarrassed by his “reassignment” by the Vatican to Fresno (under the watchful care of Cardinal Mahoney). The orthodox Catholics within the diocese have been very vocal about the heresy within it’s ranks, under the stewardship of Archbishop Ochoa , and particularly by the heretical “Tepeyac Institute”, sanctioned by his Eminence. Fr Rodriguez had the only Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of El Paso. He instituted daily confession, the public rosary, traditional Catholic para-liturgical devotion, etc, etc and the people responded to that. If there were disgruntled parishioner’s, it was probably those who don’t like the TLM because they are ignorant and uneducated and don’t want any further changes in the liturgy. What is ironic is that they are angry at how the liturgy has evolved from pre-Vatican practice to the modernist bent we have now. Change is difficult and when it involves not understanding Latin, they complain, instead of trying to learn rudimentary Latin. However, now, it appears the prayers of the faithful for an orthodox bishop were partially heard and answered. Bishop Ochoa was dumped but in order to save face, he is giving the appearance that there was financial impropriety going on and took the unprecedented action of filing a civil suit. All you need to do is study Fr Rodriquez and his calling out the situation in America in which very, very few Bishops are implementing Summorum Pontificum (the Pope’s Motu Propio Apostolic Letter which permitted the Traditional Latin Mass by any Catholic priest without the explicit permission from his bishop) and in effect, disobeying the Holy Father’s instructions. That is a fact. To those who criticize Fr Rodriguez, ask yourself this question..why don’t the Bishop’s obey the Holy Father instead of criticizing Fr Rodriguez for disobedience to His Bishop? All clergy have a responsibility to the authentic Catholic faith as handed down by Jesus and His 12 Apostles…they do not have a responsibility to follow a heretical Bishop. The “sin of omission” which Fr Rodriguez reminds all the faithful under his care, stepped on some toes..and that is OK..the Church needs rabble rousers to stir the “lukewarm” out of their stupor. The professional Catholics in the establishment and the liberal, dissident Bishops, are in de-facto schism and they did the same thing to Pope John Paul II and ignored all his teachings. The modernists agenda is to force a false Church on the laity and they will do or say anything to continue to push the false “spirit of Vatican II” and suppress the Traditional Latin Mass. Fr Rodriguez is a threat to their plans and hence, the setup of financial irregularity to slander and libel him (IMHO). Fr Rodriguez’ forceful defence of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and his political efforts to fight City leaders from trying to legalize homosexuality further by offering “same-sex” benefits, paid for by El Paso taxpayers, including Catholics, could not be tolerated, hence “setup”. The Word of God, as taught by His Church, cannot be silenced by man or government, though they try. Either you preach the Gospel, or you don’t. Our leaders needs to be fearless otherwise, they will be like salt that Jesus speaks about that loses its flavor. It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot!
    At its core, we are seeing the visible results of the spiritual battle being waged by those who want so cling to the true 2,000 years + Catholic faith and those who follow a different, modernist faith. Fr Rodriguez is of the former and Bishop Ochoa is of the latter. Judge for yourselves and choose whom you will serve. Here’s a good source to provide a different take on what is transpiring: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/el-paso-priest-failing-to-oppose-homosexual-agenda-a-grave-sin-of-omission/

  37. The fact that the bishop is a doctrinally corrupt Mahony protege isn’t proof that Fr. Rodriguez is innocent of financial wrongdoing. I can’t imagine any bishop in the US shrugging off $200K in misappropriated-but-recovered parish funds, much less $27K in missing funds, if these indeed be the facts of the case. I think conservative Catholics misread the situation by making this into a liberal vs. conservative Catholic fight. I agree that it MIGHT be such a thing, but we don’t currently know that it is. I look forward to professional financial and legal investigation into the situation so that the truth prevail.

    Personally, I took over a parish with some “slush” funds not visible to the chancery. As far as I could tell (the accounts had all the paperwork one would expect of any checking account), they were used for good purposes but weren’t according to diocesan policy, so I brought them to light and folded the funds into the general operating budget of the parish so that even the appearance of impropriety would not exist. Same situation existed at the parochial school but with identifiable unethical spending, but the responsible retired principal died before restitution could be sought.

  38. Richard W Comerford says:

    Father Michael:

    “I can’t imagine any bishop in the US shrugging off $200K in misappropriated-but-recovered parish funds, much less $27K in missing funds”

    Archbishop Weakland misappropriated $450,000.00 of Diocesan funds to buy the silence of his ex-boy friend. Neither secular nor Church penalties were pursued against the good Archbishop. OTH, according to the El Paso Times, the missing $27,000.00 in missing funds in the instant case were most likely spent on the Parish renovations. The El Paso Diocese’s response is to initiate a Civil Action that in all likelihood will cost in legal bills far more than $27,000.00. Why not just quietly impose Canonical penalties on the allegedly wayward priest?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  39. Mr. Comerford:

    Not that I’m familiar with El Paso, but I don’t see how a bishop– in this case an outgoing bishop– could “quietly” impose canonical sanctions on a “celebrity” priest like Fr. Rodriguez. It’s hard enough with a typical parish priest, much less one with a lot of publicity for fighting the good fight like Fr. R.

    Weakland got away with his $400K hush money because he was an archbishop, and we all know through bitter experience how above-the-law bishops act in this country. There was effectively nobody above him to punish him. Had Weakland been a priest, you could bet that his bishop (or in his case, a Benedictine superior) would have been looking for restitution. Bishop Ziemann of Santa Rosa gambled away $40 million, ordained his lover to the priesthood in a public park, and ended his days in a comfortable retirement at a monastery. Believe me, as a priest I can see the double standard. As a pastor, the superiority of the chancery over the parishes and differing standards of behavior are rubbed in my face on a monthly basis. That in no way would justify me breaking the policies of the diocese or acting unethically in the fianancial matters of the parish.

    Meanwhile, we have the case of the allegedly missing $27K. Wouldn’t a bishop want to know if one of his young priests, who conceivably could serve as pastor for decades, is a thief? $27K is chump change compared to the millions Fr. Rodriguez could potentially be in charge of over the course of decades. The current bishop needs to know whether Fr. Rodriguez can be trusted with that responsibility or not. I would think his parishioners, present and future, would want to know the same. I would think Fr. Rodriguez would not want this cloud hanging over him.

    I personally hope the priest is cleared of all charges and that the allegations turn out to be misunderstandings. But the most important thing is that the truth comes out.

  40. Oregon Catholic says:

    I wonder how many actually took the time to read the court filing. It seems pretty clear that at best Fr. Rodriguez was hiding money he solicited for building projects from the chancery, presumably so he could do what he wanted without any oversight. At worst he was shuffling donated money around in personal accounts in order to siphon off money for personal use. It states he basically used a construction company to launder 20K he took from a St. Vincent dePaul fund and the company returned the money to him in the form of a personal check.
    I suspect that if he is only found guilty of hiding funds from the chancery that’s where it will end and he will never be allowed to be a pastor again. If the lawsuit shows he was stealing for personal use then criminal charges will probably commence. Either way his apparent dishonesty is pretty shocking.

  41. Richard W Comerford says:

    Father:

    “an outgoing bishop– could “quietly” impose canonical sanctions on a “celebrity” priest like Fr. Rodriguez”

    Church penalties have already been imposed on Father R. He has been removed from his administrators post in the Parish.

    “Wouldn’t a bishop want to know if one of his young priests, who conceivably could serve as pastor for decades, is a thief?”

    This is the age of electronic money. The Bishop can hire a good PI to track where the $27K went for a lot less than the cost of a civil action. Clearly, as things stand, it is already unlikely that Father R. will be allowed to to an adminstrators of a large parsig aagin never midn a Pastor.

    “The current bishop needs to know whether Fr. Rodriguez can be trusted with that responsibility or not.”

    The current Bishop (not yet appointed I think) will have to live with this action of his predecessor. Not a great way to begin his trem as Bishop.

    “I would think his parishioners, present and future, would want to know the same. I would think Fr. Rodriguez would not want this cloud hanging over him.”

    This is not the way to do it then. Civil actions in secular courts are not about truth and justice. Usually the side with the deeper pockets prevails.

    What we need more than anything are Saints. Especially Bishops who are Saints.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  42. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr. Oregon Catholic:

    “I wonder how many actually took the time to read the court filing.”

    The complaint and reply often have little to do with reality.

    “If the lawsuit shows he was stealing for personal use then criminal charges will probably commence.”

    A judgement favorable to the plaintiff in an expensive civil action will not “show” that Father R acted criminally. That can be done by turning the matter over to the DA at no cost to the Diocese. However a civil action in a secular Court will give the side with deeper pockets (the Diocese) a chance to ruin the poorer side (Father R & family).

    “Either way his apparent dishonesty is pretty shocking. ”

    After 50-years of scandal by priest and Bishops the allegations against Father R. if true are pretty mild. So far has our Church in the USA fallen.

    What we need are Saints. Especially saintly Bishops.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  43. Thanks Richard! Your well reasoned replies are admirable. I wish I could be so eloquent and precise in my comments. I wholeheartedly agree..we need saintly Bishops. I think Michael Voris at realcatholictv.com had a great video talk on the heresy going on the Tepeyac Institute and how the Catholics in the Diocese of El Paso attached to Fr Rodriguez and Tridentine Mass were pleading with the Archbishop to reign it in but to no avail.

    We must soberly remind ourselves that the “great apostasy” spoken of by St Paul in II Thessalonians is well under way around the world and in the Roman Catholic Church (particularly here in America) and confirmed by Our Lady many times through her inner locutions given to Fr Gobbi at the various prayer cenacles held around the world by the Marian Movement of Priests. Truly, only the Heavenly intercession by Our Lady can help us now through the prayers of the Most Holy Rosary which she fervently and incessantly invites us to. Now is the time in which we must flee.. into the safe refuge offered by Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary….Maranatha..Come Lord Jesus, Come!

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