Incoming Bishop of Fresno files lawsuit against priest before leaving El Paso

The soon-to-be Bishop of Fresno has filed a lawsuit against a problematic and outspoken priest in the Diocese of El Paso, alleging financial irregularities and violations of diocesan policy on the handling of parish funds. The priest claims he is being unjustly punished for speaking out against homosexuality.

El Paso Bishop Armando Ochoa, named as the new Bishop of Fresno on Dec. 1, issued a press release last week outlining his reasons for filing the lawsuit against Fr. Michael Rodriguez. (A Mass of Installation for Bishop Ochoa is scheduled in Fresno on Feb. 2.)

“As Bishop and shepherd of the Diocese of El Paso, I have a pastoral duty to safeguard the resources of the diocese and each individual parish,” said Bishop Ochoa in the Jan. 11 press release. “This includes a fiduciary responsibility to hold accountable all those who manage the financial affairs of each parish, especially those in administration.” 

According to the bishop, Fr. Rodriguez was removed as administrator of San Juan Bautista Parish in El Paso on Sept. 20, 2011 “based on credible information and documents that show that he intentionally and materially failed to comply with the Manual of Policies and Procedures of Parish Finances of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso.”

“Fr. Rodriguez’s handling and use of donated funds has compromised the financial integrity of San Juan Bautista,” Bishop Ochoa said in the press release. “I have appealed repeatedly to Fr. Rodriguez to make a complete disclosure and a thorough accounting of his financial administration of the parish but he has refused to do so.”

The bishop said Fr. Rodriguez’s refusal to provide financial information left him with no alternative but to take the “extraordinary measure” of filing a lawsuit against the priest and his brother, David Rodriguez.

The suit seeks a full accounting of San Juan Bautista’s finances during Fr. Rodriguez’s tenure there and recovery of “any funds that may have been misappropriated.”

“Fr. Rodriguez and those acting in concert with him, had no right to appropriate for themselves funds donated to the parish…” said the bishop’s press release. “We are mere administrators of the Church’s temporal goods and we all must be accountable for all things entrusted to us.”

Bishop Ochoa and Fr. Rodriguez have been at odds since 2010, when the priest began attending city council meetings to speak out against homosexuality. Fr. Rodriguez also authored several opinion pieces in the El Paso Times critical of the El Paso City Council for extending health insurance to all employees regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.

When Fr. Rodriguez became involved in a recall campaign against some in city government responsible for that policy, Bishop Ochoa removed him as parish administrator. “This type of intervention in the political process by religious organizations such as the Diocese of El Paso and San Juan Bautista Church is not permitted under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code,” said Bishop Ochoa in a statement issued at the time.

Fr. Rodriguez denies any wrongdoing and vows to fight on.

“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,” he said in a Jan. 12 statement. “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,” continued Fr. Rodriguez. “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,” said the embattled priest. “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.”

According to Fr. Rodriguez, he met with Bishop Ochoa on Sept. 20, 2011, and “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… I have never misappropriated or misused parish funds.”

Fr. Rodriguez said “the real reason” for Bishop Ochoa’s lawsuit against him “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.” He said he would “continue to proclaim and teach the truths of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the area of sexual morality, no matter the cost” and would also “continue to adhere to the Ancient Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, no matter the cost.”



Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 12:26 AM By charlio
It’s well to remember that, 1) most Catholics in history have not been American, so the wide swath Church discipline has to cut doesn’t necessarily include our conception of “democracy” (by this time in history, often a buzzword term); 2) conceptions of “left” and “right” simply don’t pertain to essential Church matters. If Fr. Rodriguez is innocent and if the Lord has it in mind for him to suffer unjust persecution, the Lord will take care of him – far better than any of us could – He will make the situation even better, turning it to greater good after possibly refraining from preventing some significant evil, and this situation will serve to contribute to the faithful fulfillment of Fr. Rodriguez’ mission and his ultimate salvation. “God doesn’t shut a door but that He opens a window.” BE SURE TO PRAY BEFORE f.l.a.m.i.n.g.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 12:43 AM By Clinton
It is quite obvious Bp Ochoa has it in for Fr. Rodriguez. If Fr. Rodriguez was an advocate for homosexuality, false ecumenism, liturgical abuses and the like, then these allegations would most likely would not have been raised. Based on this situation, it would seem no priest in the Fresno diocese better dare say Mass in the Extraordinary Form or uphold the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. Let us pray for Fr. Rodriguez that he may be vindicated on all matters. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:25 AM By Loraine
This action taken against Fr. Rodriguez makes Bishop Ochoa look very bad. It seems to me that Bishop Ochoa is trying to dispel the belief that he was punishing Fr. Rodriguez for his public writings on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality by filing a lawsuit. Not because Fr. Rodriguez is guilty of any financial wrongdoing, but that if he (the Bishop) doesn’t take legal action it will appear that the bishop did punish Fr. Rodriguez for his statements and writings on homosexuality. This of course is my opinion.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 3:18 AM By Joe
While the vast majority of priests are honest, these types of issues can be avoided when the temporal affairs are placed in the hands of a lay committee. The Russian Orthodox Church is a great example of this where each church has a board of lay people administering the financial matters of the individual parish so as to allow its priest to focus on the spiritual needs of the people. It would do well for Catholic parishes to follow this same model.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 4:22 AM By Gabe
If His Excellency considers defending the traditional liturgy and teachings of the Church to be crimes… this does not bode well for the Diocese of Fresno. Does this mean he will find some reason to discontinue the traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of Fresno, and also expel the Fraternity of St Peter? We shall soon see about that.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 5:10 AM By Ted
An audit of parish finances should tell the real story. The fact that he was removed for not answering the bishop’s questions other than to say he denied wrongdoing doesn’t convince me. Also, accusing the bishop of another motive than the stated one seems a distraction from the financial issue. He owes obedience to the bishop, whether he likes the bishop’s views on any particular issue or not. Personally I suspect the bishop will be vindicated when the facts are all in the open.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 5:10 AM By Juergensen
Notice how it is only faithful, anti-abortion, anti-sodomite priests who get persecuted by the bishops for “financial irregularities”? Corapi … Pavone … Rodriguez … It’s all just a coincidence, “right”?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 5:38 AM By Gabriel Espinosa 
I’ll believe Fr. Rodriguez.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 6:10 AM By AnnAsher
Im going to pray daily for Fr. Rodriguez! Of course he is free as an individual to be involved in the public square- there is no violation of the IRS code.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 6:45 AM By Life Lady 
What could be happening is a terrible misunderstanding by two well meaning people in how they both understand their individual missions and how to carry out those missions. We can support them with prayer and ask God in the Holy Spirit to bring His light into this situation. How sad that this is happening.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:02 AM By DJR
“Fr. Rodriguez and those acting in concert with him, had no right to appropriate for themselves funds donated to the parish…” said the bishop’s press release. “We are mere administrators of the Church’s temporal goods and we all must be accountable for all things entrusted to us.” Coming from a post Vatican II bishop, a more disingenuous statement than the above quote has never been made.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:06 AM By JLS
People are capable of attending either good parishes or bad parishes. They are also capable of either giving money to bad bishops or to worthy causes.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:18 AM By Larry
We need to wait and see how the evidence comes out regarding financial matters before either judging the priest guilty of malfeasance or the bishop of calumny. I applaud Father Rodriguez for his outspoken defense of the moral law regarding sexuality, and if the bishop was uncomfortable with that–too bad! Having said that, though, I do not think it proper for the clergy to be involved in temporal matters to the extent of taking part in recall campaigns against specific politicians–and in this regard I care nothing at all for the IRS Code, and I fault the Bishop for citing the federal code as his basis for action. Rather I see this as a doctrinal question. Politics is the realm of the laity. Involvement by clergy should be limited to voting. A priest (and especially a bishop) ought to denounce strongly immoral actions taken by politicians, but should stop short of demanding an official’s removal, just as he should stop short of promoting a candidate’s election or re-election. As for Father Corapi–I can no longer have the slightest doubt that he is guilty of gross immorality and disobedience of his superiors in a grave matter. Regarding Father Pavone–it is right and just that his bishop order him to take part in ministry within the diocese. However, I am still waiting for that bishop to reveal the basis for his insinuations of financial malfeasance within Priests for Life, including comments in writing to his brother bishops that PFL may be unworthy of donations from the faithful. I suspect I may have to wait a very long time, and in this I would appeal to the Holy See to sternly hold the bishop accountable for his accusations that PFL’s books are not what they ought to be. Where is the proof?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:10 AM By Tm
While Fr Rodriguez’s liturgical reforms and strong moral witness are wonderful, I fear the Bishop may be in the right. Fr Rodriguex has spoken disparagingly about the Novus Ordo. No matter his preference, no priest should demean the Ordinary Form of the Mass. It is a valid form of worship. Sure work to resolve liturgical abuse and bring back some Latin, but to eschew the Novus Ordo all together is plain arrogance. Secondly, the financial improprieties also speak to arrogance and disobedience. Yes, I know their are many rogue priests out there who idolize disobedience as the norm, but a true holy priest loves obedience, even when it’s hard and unjust. Pray for Fr Rodriguez and the bishop. this whole ordeal is still salvageable.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:15 AM By charlio
Interesting idea, Joe (at 3:18 AM), placing clerical “HR administration” matters in the hands of a lay board a la the Russian Orthodox Church. (Cast your eyes over various articles on Chiesa Espresso Online, you’ll see that what the Russians do is held to be of very weighty account in Rome.) To make this discussion really move, you would want to include the history of the Byzantine Emperor’s high level of involvement with the Eastern Church – to the extent of traditionally regarding himself as “the Thirteenth Apostle”. (Significant disadvantages to this arrangement are well known.) I do know that in much of the east, Russia included, the Church is regarded as a department of the State, including paying clerical salaries. Such a discussion would need to include the 2nd Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty “Dignitatis Humanae”.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:18 AM By charlio
Well, Juergensen (5:10 am), it would be interesting if you would deliberately take on the opposite viewpoint for a minute (like in Speech & Debate), to see whether some “leftist” clergy have ever had similar problems. In the event, we can say perhaps that it is faithful priests who have been in the news about such things.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:30 AM By Prof Helen
Advice to the Bishop from the Good Book: “Physician cure thyself.”

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:31 AM By Ken M.
Bishop Ochoa is right in demanding total transparency in the financial administration of a diocese or a parish. What happent to the concept of obedience on the part of a priest toward his Bishop?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:51 AM By Loraine
I think it would be a very good idea if Catholics in the El Paso Diocese started an investigation of their own. Perhaps Bishop Ochoa is the one that needs to be investigated. I think El Paso and Fresno Catholics would like to know why Bishop Ochoa chose to publicly rebuke Fr. Rodriguez when Fr. Rodriguez declared Church teaching on the matter of homosexuality. Bishop Ochoa, I believe, tried to mislead the public into thinking that what Fr. Rodriguez was writing and saying about homosexuality was not official Church teaching, when in fact it most surely is.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:51 AM By JLS
So, despite a Vatican cardinal’s admonishment to bishops to stop with the administrative focus and get with the episcopal focus, this Bishop Ochoa goes even further and opens up a public circus of administration …

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:01 AM By BUD
I believe Bishop Ochoa wants to intimidate Fr. Rodriguez at this point. Only time will reveal the real reasons. Abluse of our divine liturgy is widespread. The desire to personally innovate so much of the Mass has caused the abuses.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:03 AM By Juergensen
Ann: “IRS violations” are a favourite pretence for stifling orthodoxy.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:07 AM By Truthlover
Before the facts are securely known, there’s no point in making judgments. He who makes judgments before the information is in, manifests to be prejudiced.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:16 AM By SoCal
@Juergensen: Where can I send contributions to help Fr. Rodriguez?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:18 AM By cda
REWRITING HISTORY The bishop, in his current press release, is attempting to rewrite history. Fr. Rodriguez was not removed because of any mishandling of parish finances. At the time (Sept. 2011), the bishop, according to his own press release, removed Fr. Rodriguez over concerns that the latter’s outspoken opposition to municipal same-sex benefits ran afoul of IRS regulations. (See El Paso Times 09/22/2011 “Controversial Rev. Michael Rodriguez transferred to another church”). Thus, the bishop, by the discrepancy between his own current and former accounts, forces one to conclude that he was either being disingenuous then or is being disingenuous now.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:22 AM By Ray
The Remnant Newspaper has comments of Father Michael Rodriguez on the work he had done, both spiritually and church renovation, at San Juan Bautista Parish in El Paso before he was removed and sent to a very remote location.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:26 AM By Maryanne Leonard
If the bishop hadn’t taken public action against the priest and an audit had shown financial irregularities, the bishop’s failure to act could have suggested complicity or at the very least, failure to supervise properly, which could have ended the bishop’s career. The bishop had to do this to maintain the parishioners’ trust and keep the Church’s name clear with the press as well. An outside audit either will clear the priest’s name or justify the bishop’s inquiry.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:37 AM By Gregorian
Juergensen, it’s priests who set themselves up as Bishops of their private universes that end up in this kind of trouble. There are plenty of priests, even under liberal bishops, who do good work and are left to do it in peace. Why, because they’re contented to serve God’s people in the quiet, hardworking role of a parish priest. Pavone and Corapi and Rodriguez all gave into the temptation to be bigger than that, as if there were something more important than serving souls and administering the sacraments. They all wanted to be celebrity priests. And they all ended up called on the carpet for financial reasons. Coincidence, or pattern?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:42 AM By JOHN
I wonder who the Diocesan attorney is representing the Bishop? Fr. Rodriguez will need financial help to hire his own gutsy lawyer.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:13 AM By Anon
What an embarrassing, shameful thing for our Catholic Church, regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:19 AM By Stella
Hear Fr. Rodriguez on ABC TV News Go to KVIA in El Paso and watch their video of him. Truly, a persecuted priest!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:48 AM By Bob One
There is nothing in this case that involves the NO, homosexuality or any other religious issue. The case is about the Pastor’s fudiciary responsibility to his people and to the Diocese. Each Diocese should have a standard chart of accounts for each parish to use, proper software, rules on how money is allocated to different budgets, who has authority to spend the money, sign the checks and up to what level without a second signiture, etc. The notion that a parish priest will not open the books to the chief financial officer at the chancery is the first sign of a problem. Let this go forth, but lets keep the religious issues out of it. This is about money and proper stewardship.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:49 AM By Martin
Please read the actual lawsuit as filed by the bishop. It’s available on a link from the online edition of ElPasoTimes (unfortunately the system doesn’t allow it to be posted here.) Fr Rodriguez’s press release does not contest the facts of the lawsuit, namely, that he put nearly a half million dollars from donations into CD’s in his own name. It looks like we may have a priest determined to do things his own way, regardless of Church discipline. And it’s just scary when he speak of the “Ancient Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.” That’s the way a lot schisms seem to start.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:16 AM By Anh
Anon, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU. I feel the sad it’s in public for the whole world to know a Bishop have to sue a priest. What’s next? Bishops sueing bishops, priests sueing Bishops, priests sueing priests, nuns sueing priests, priests/bishops sueing nuns, lay people sueing Bishops, priests, nuns, etc??? How does one stand up the pulpet preaches (bishops and priests) and not living what they preaches, living the 10 Commandments, the Bible, but taking their brother priests to court! I SURE DON’T WANT TO TO GO TO COURT OR BE PUBLISHED IF I WAS A CATHOLIC BISHOP OR PRIEST. SAME ON US. THAT’S WHY I DON’T DONATE TO MY LOCAL ARCHDIOCESE TO TAKE MY MONEY FOR LAYWERS when they’re poor people needing our help! The true will set us free but may God bless us all. I’m sure the Non Catholics are happy and laughing at the UNIVERISAL CATHOLIC CHURCH RIGHT NOW. JESUS HELP US!!!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:50 AM By Juergensen
“cda” makes an excellent point. The reason given by Bishop Ochoa for his treatment of Fr. Rodriguez appears to have shifted over time. Back in September 2011, when Fr. Rodriguez was removed, Bishop Ochoa said: “Father Rodriguez has recently challenged certain city officials to participate with him in a partisan debate on issues related to an upcoming election. This type of intervention in the political process by religious organizations such as the Diocese of El Paso and San Juan Bautista Church IS NOT PERMITTED UNDER SECTION 501 OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE” (KVIA ABC-7, 1:09 pm MDT Sep. 21, 2011) (LifeSiteNews, Fri. Sep. 23, 2011 09:44 EST). Now, in January 2012, Bishop Ochoa says that Fr. Rodriguez “intentionally and materially failed to comply with the MANUAL OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES OF PARISH FINANCES OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EL PASO.” Well, what exactly is the issue here? The Internal Revenue Code? Or the Manual of Policies and Procedures of Parish Finances of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso? Or is it something else? Just as changing the story is not a good thing for the accused, nor is it a good thing for the accuser.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:53 AM By charlio
Life Lady (6:45 AM) – Amen and again, AMEN! If our “opinions” are of any importance, let us pray that our opinions are God’s opinion (which is truth itself).

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:59 AM By Juergensen
Would that these bishops who so aggressively prosecute their orthodox priests exercised equal aggression in protecting the Holy Eucharist from profanation and enforcing Canon 915 of the Church.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 12:33 PM By John Sr.
Full stop. All Fr. Radriguez needs to do is turn over his financial records. Period. If his finances are in order, he has nothing to loose. Then the issue of his public stands can be discussed. But the ball is in his court, and a refusal to turn over what are legally PUBLIC records smells very bad.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 12:50 PM By MacDonald
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. Rodriguez on Thursday denied the accusations, but he couldn’t be reached on Friday…The suit alleges that Rodriguez also paid his brother for construction work, paid his sister to run a bookstore and made his mother the beneficiary of some of the funds in the event of his death…” This sounds just like the very same problems a LIBERAL priest had with his bishop in the diocese of Venice, Florida. In other words, MONEY, HONESTY, NEPOTISM. That priest got removed as administrator, too.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:00 PM By MacDonald
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (Jan. 13): “The lawsuit says Ochoa on Sept. 7 learned from two ex-parishioners that Rev. Rodriguez solicited money for a building project, but requested the checks be made out to him.” When I give money to my parish, I sure in the heck don’t make it out to the pastor! We’ve had enough money scandals in the papers involving lay people, priests, even nuns. No way!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:11 PM By Fr. J
I seem to remember that Archbishop Weakland misappropriated several hundred thousand dollars of church funds. He paid off his homosexual lover. He is retired, receives a nice pension, and continues to function publicly.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:16 PM By Jacqueline
Who in their right mind would want to be a priest in America, today and be persecuted by the hierarchy? Who in their right mind want to become a priest to be silenced and muzzled for speaking the teachings of the Catholic Church? Who in their right minds would want to be obedient to the faction that want to change the Catholic church to be the American Catholic Church condoning anything that appeals to the paying public. God help us and give us back pure, humble, holy, bold, courageous and obedient priests….Yes, obedient to the Word of God and not to the word of false prophets.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:23 PM By Kate
Since this is a very bold step for a bishop to make, he must be pretty sure there is something fishy going on. One doesn’t file lawsuits on a hunch or for retaliation (especially since he’s leaving El Paso). I don’t understand why people think that just because a priest defends the Tridentine mass or speaks out against homosexuality, he is incapable of wrong. For most of the history of the Church priests said the Tridentine mass and were theologically orthodox, yet we had plenty of sinners and rogues among them – even in the papacy!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:25 PM By Larry
Amen to Juergensen’s 11:59 a.m. post, Jan 16.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:29 PM By bettybbret
I think this kind of thing does not belong in the public eye. I always despise people who make public statements like “his financial records look suspicious”. I can’t possibly know what kind of financial records he keeps and whether they are correct or not.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 1:47 PM By Clinton 
Doesn’t St. Paul condemn the brethren for bringing suit against one another in 1 Corinthians 6? St. Paul admonishes the Church in Corinth for not resolving legal issues amongst themselves instead of bringing the matter before non believing judges. In other words, St. Paul is warning them to not bring scandal to the Church. May Our Lord bless His Holy Catholic Church. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 3:00 PM By Pat Breen
There is another fact in this story that reveals more than a bad motive on the part of the bishop against Fr. Rodriguez. The fact is that although Fr. R was at San Juan for over 9 years, THE BISHOP NEVER APPOINTED HIM AS PASTOR! Fr. R was named an “administrator” and as such, was deprived by the bishop of many of the faculties and rights of a pastor that are afforded by Canon Law. I can’t overemphasize the meaning behind this, as well as the legal ramifications. And it all benefits Fr. R now and backfires on the bishop; one of the consequences of the bishop’s “penal” action against Fr. R is this… undeniably this…since Fr. R was not the canonical pastor of San Juan, (by the bishop’s own hand), that means that the bishop did not fully entrust the responsiblity of the parish to Fr. R, and the BISHOP was therefore primarily responsible for overseeing the parish, while Fr. R was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the parish and the sacramental ministries. It must be asked: why did the bishop not appoint someone from his own accounting department to look at the finances of San Juan annually? How hard would that have been? Not only easy, but necessary, since the parish had no pastor. Moreover, most parishes are audited by the bishop every 2 or 3 years. Did the bishop perform the audit at San Juan and not find any financial problems…until he wanted to nail Fr. R? Or did the bishop not bother to oversee the operations of the only parish in the diocese that did not have a pastor? Either way, it is the bishop who is at fault for inept and negligent management.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 3:09 PM By Abeca Christian
This lawsuit is a scandal. How can we express to this bishop that we find his decision appalling! What can we do to support this innocent priest.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 4:03 PM By k
The lawsuit is posted online. The point of the lawsuit is: the auditor who has been hired to assess the parish’s finances cannot finish the audit without some information that Fr. Rodriguez has not provided. There is $27,000 that is unaccounted for. The lawsuit asks the court to force Fr. Rodriguez to explain where the money went and, if it is his personal account, to return it to the parish. Apparently, two parishioners contacted the bishop because Father Rodriguez was soliciting funds for improvements to the church and asking them to make the checks out to him instead of the church. In addition, they told the bishop that he had written two checks to construction companies for a construction project to the church that was never done from a parish St. Vincent de Paul account that he knew would not be monitored by the diocese. He then had the construction companies write him a personal check for the same amount. This is why his brother is involved. He was the one who took the check to the construction companies. He apparently was soliciting funds from people and putting it in the St. Vincent de Paul account then putting it in Certificates of Deposit in his name with his mother listed as beneficiary. The construction projects which required permission of the diocese were never cleared with them and never occurred.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 4:18 PM By Tony R
What is going on down in Texas? someone in authority in Rome needs to investigate that state. Fr. Pavone, Fr. Corapi, the priest named above. All three accused of not handling funds correctly. yes there was more accusations in reguards to one priest. not saying that they are all guilt OR innocent because I honestly don’t know but they have all been accused by bishops in the state of Texas.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 4:41 PM By Catherine
What does Holy Scripture teach us about Bishop Ochoa’s decision to sue, his brother priest, Father Rodriguez? First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians 6:1-9 “How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgement instead of the holy ones? Do you not know that the saints shall judge this world? If the world is to be judged by you, you are unqualified for the lowest law courts. Do you not know that we shall judge angels? Then why not everyday matters? If therefore, you have courts for everyday matters, do you seat as judges people of no standing within the church? I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers? But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers. Now indeed [then] it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with the injustice? Why not rather let yourself be cheated? Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers. Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?”

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 5:03 PM By Bob One
Abeca Christian, you know that this priest is innocent? How? What facts do you have? Where did you get the facts? How were you able to come to a judgement about this? What powers of forsight do you have that the diocesan lawyers don’t have? Really, how do you know he is innocent. I have no problem with him being innocent until proven guilty, or not, but I don’t know the answer. And, I really don’t think you do either. This is about how policies were followed, or not. Its about how the law was followed, or not. Its not about religious opinion.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 5:16 PM By Dottie
Isn’t this financial thing similar to the Texas Bishop who has tried to shut up Father Pavone in Priests for Life against abortion?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 6:54 PM By k
JOHN, Father Rodriguez hired both a canon lawyer and a civil lawyer in September. betty bret, he returned most of the money to the parish but there is still $27,000 missing that neither of his lawyers will explain. The lawsuit asks to have the court order Fr. Rodriguez to answer questions about where the money is and, if any is still in another personal account, that he return it to the parish.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:09 PM By Jay S.
Very well said Tm. Those were my thoughts exactly

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:04 PM By Janek
Total rubbish on the part of Bishop Ochoa, Father Rodriquez has a zeal for The Traditional Latin Mass and complete loyalty to The Holy Roman Catholic faith. During his time in El Paso the bishop had a total TWO priests that were ordained. Bishop Ochoa has a total dislike of the TLM and all things traditional, I pray for you Father and believe in you!!!!!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:25 PM By Harry
Bishop Ochoa says he found “credible information and documents that show that he intentionally and materially failed to comply with the Manual of Policies and Procedures of Parish Finances of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso”. Then “Fr. Rodriguez was removed as administrator of San Juan Bautista Parish” (presumably by the bishop). Up to that point the bishop did exactly as he should. But then he did something bizarre, namely filed a law suit against Fr. R because he “intentionally and materially failed to comply with the Manual of Policies and Procedures of Parish Finances of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso”. That is not a matter for civil courts to deal with! It is merely a breach of diocesan regulations and should be treated as such unless and until some evidence of criminal wrongdoing comes to light. The bishop should have removed him from ministry in the parish and assigned him to some ministry where there would be no question of breaching those regulations. Or if Fr. R was proving really uncooperative, he could have suspended him. Why on earth drag this matter into the courts?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:57 PM By k
Catherine, excellent point.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:04 PM By k
His transfer was reported on Sept. 22. It was early September when the parishioners approached the bishop with the information and Sept 20 when he received notice of it. It was December 5 when The Remnant printed his guest column about the need for a better bishop in El Paso.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:41 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Please pray for the orthodox priests of the Diocese of Fresno! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:22 AM By serafino
” Involvement by clergy should be limited to voting.” Someone should have told that to Pope John Paul II. He brought down the whole communist goverment in Poland by his active involvement its political life

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:28 AM By JLS
What was Bp Ochoa doing with the money from the parishes in his diocese?

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:36 AM By MacDonald
I sometimes read the blog called Abuse Tracker and find incidents among Catholics, Jews, Protestants, etc., of clergy and church employees who have very sticky fingers with money. Just because some man or woman seems pious or popular doesn’t mean they are immune from the temptation to steal — we need to wait and see what the evidence shows. The Orthodox Church in America chose a young man to be their new Metropolitan a couple of years back PRECISELY because they had suffered through leaders who had stolen money, caused scandal, been addicted to drink, etc. The new Metropolitan openly spoke of these problems after his election, rather than trying to sweep everything under the carpet. If Father Rodriguez is indeed innocent of these financial charges, time will reveal his innocence.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:46 AM By Larry
Harry: If money were stolen or misused, then recourse to the courts through either civil or criminal litigation would not only be proper, but I would think mandatory.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:57 AM By Dismas
Let me help by removing need for speculation in this matter. I am one of the parishoners now evicted from San Juan Bautista along with Father Rodriguez and I contributed a significant amount of the money that is in question. Do I have any concerns about what happened to my money? You bet I do. The diocese now has my money and that was neither my intention nor the intention of a long line of folks who will tell you the same thing I am telling you. We trust Father Rodriguez implicitly and we would not have donated a thin dime if we thought that the Diocese of El Paso and it’s bishop would have had any say whatsoever in how our money was spent. At this time we are preparing action to recuperate our money and the Diocese is aware of that. My money? I’ll do with it as I please, thank you, diocesan “regulations” notwithstanding. If a person understands the nature of the Diocese of El Paso on the one hand, and authentic Catholic teaching on the other hand, it might well be a mortal sin to give any money whatsoever to that diocese. Will the truth come out in this? That remains to be seen. But for anyone who might have reservations, you may avail yourself of these comments by a person on the scene. You will search Catholic history for an example of a priest, and that includes bishops, cardinals and popes, more honest and more heroic than Father Michael Rodriguez and do so in vain. You will find many who equal him, but not a one who surpasses. I’ll leave the topic of the other personages in this drama for posterity and God to comment upon.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:32 AM By Traditional Angelo
I wonder what else the Bishop had Fr. Rodriguez investigated for, and what were the outcomes of those investigations. Bishop Ochoa should make this public information, as it would give us all a better view of whats going on. Here the Bishop could justify his actions, or make known if he is not just retaliating against Fr. Rodriguez. The fact that the Bishop has been transferred, and only now is bringing up the Parish Finances against Fr. Rodriguez seems suspicious to many. Only the Bishop could dispel our suspicions, It would be a Pastoral duty to the people of God. I agree with many that this would be a Church matter and a responsibility of the Bishop alone. Why would it then be taken to a civil court? In the case of separation of church and state. Why should taxpayers carry the financial burden of the cost of the civil courts, in regards to a simple Church matter in which the responsibility rests soley with the Bishop of the Diocese.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:06 AM By Catherine
MacDonald, We do not need time. Holy Scripture already teaches us that it is *shameful* for Bishop Ochoa to sue a brother priest. Period!

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:12 AM By k
Dismas, thanks for posting. I am curious why you say you are evicted from the parish. I do not know if this kind of thing goes on in my parish because I am not wealthy enough to be asked. I hope you can get your money back. Any one looking at this-either at the lawsuit or at Fr. Rodriguez’ writings in The Remnant can see that there is something very wrong going on there. Hopefully, you will get a new bishop and things can be straightened out.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:02 PM By FrMichael
Harry & others, you should read the legal filings available at the El Paso newspaper’s website. Unless the diocesan lawyers wanted to put themselves into legal jeopardy with a filing with false allegations, looks like $27K is missing. That is potentially a criminal act, namely wrongful conversion and/or grand theft. As far as I could tell, the diocese tried to figure this out in-house and when the priest balked at providing a full accounting of the funds, the bishop went to court. IMHO no bishop in the US would put up with the mutliple financial shenanigans alleged in the court filing. This isn’t a liberal or conservative thing, it is an integrity thing.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 3:47 PM By Kevin
I have met both men and spent time with both on multiple occasions. If I had to choose which man to follow blindly on some moral issue unknown to me beforehand, I would follow Father Rodriguez every time.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:37 PM By Catherine
Gregorian, Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. Regarding the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians states, “All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each individual as the Spirit “chooses.” To envy the spiritual good of another is to question the Divine judgement of the Holy Spirit in His distribution of spiritual gifts. It is to be jealous of another person who has a different gift than one’s own gift. Through envy, one rejects the gift that he has received from the Holy Spirit, determining in his own mind that the gift he has received is not good enough and he want’s someone else’s gift.”

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:46 PM By Juergensen
Fr. Michael: “Liberal” and “conservative” are political terms that have no place in the Church. Rather, in the Church, which is not a political system but a divinely instituted hierarchy, the appropriate terms are “orthodox” and “heterodox”, terms that differentiate those who accept the Church’s teachings from those who don’t. What jumps out at us Catholics is that we are being asked repeatedly to believe that every orthodox priest (Corapi, Pavone, Rodriguez, etc.) engages in “financial irregularity” and needs to be dismissed, but the many more heterodox priests do not ever do so. We’re not stupid. We know these pogroms against faithful priests have nothing to do with “financial irregularity” but everything to do with their preaching against abortion and sodomy.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:07 PM By JLS
What Dismas has posted is the reply to the brief speculative question I submitted was which was not posted. When are the bishops’ financial doings going to be made transparent. Fr. J’s post brings up the same question as well. From what Dismas posts, I’d say that Bp Ochoa is in some serious trouble. Could it be possible that Bp Ochoa was moved out of that diocese to save all concerned from further misery?

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:14 PM By Catherine
Even if true…Two wrongs do not make a right and two wrongs certainly do not change Holy Scripture. Opinions never trump Holy Scripture. The diocese ignores the countless shenanigans of spiritual neglect but are ready to pounce when it is about $$$.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:15 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Why in the world is it shameful to sue an uncooperative priest when thousands of dollars are missing? Have we not learned that even priests are capable of wrongdoing? If not, please do feel free to contact me, and I’ll let you know the details of my own life as a 19-year-old. Believe me, priests are definitely not above the law, just because their mission in life is to guide us to holiness. Neither are bishops incapable of wrongdoing for that matter – Bishop Zavala being our most recent example of that truth. Father Michael is right again; this is not a political matter, and we cannot judge something just because the accuser or the accused has similar views to our own. To rush to judgment based on the basis of shared views on another subject is to betray oneself as not fully rational and in fact violates the basic traditional value in American criminal law of our being innocent until proven guilty.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:21 PM By Jim
Can a bishop be sued for malpractice?

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:42 PM By Joey S.
Since when does a bishop need a lawsuit to get a full accounting of a Parish’s finances? He is the Bishop; the finances are his to view by his authority. He may ask for assistance from local law enforcement if someone in the parish is physically preventing him from doing so; but everything official in the diocese belongs to the bishop.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:47 PM By Fr.Michael Perea
I am from El Paso, Texas and I know Fr.Michael Rodriguez and his family personally.His mother Bea Rodriguez and my mother Juanita Perea were good friends back in the the 1960’s and 70’s. My holy mother passed away in 1982. I have helped out at San Juan Bautista several times in the last two and a half years,most recently this past summer when I was at home on vacation. He is a good and holy priest who while he prefers the Traditional Latin Mass also celebrates the Novus Ordo both in English and Spanish. I know because I substituted for him and followed his instructions carefully. He is not a fanatic. He is a zealous and holy priest who makes other priests nervous like me for example. But that is my fault not his.I am not a saint but he just might be…not sure yet but he is getting there.I have also met Bishop Ochoa,briefly and Msgr.Arturo Banuelos his right hand man I don’t know if Msgr Banuelos remembers me but I was at his ordination about 30 years ago. Time flies. In the meantime, Fr.Rodriguez is suffering quietly maybe even cheerfully on the Cross.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:20 PM By k
JLS, Bishop Ochoa was named the Bishop of Fresno on December 1 of last year. I do not know of any trouble that Bishop Ochoa is in. He is well within his rights to transfer priests. I have heard of nothing about him except this (and the situation in September where he transfered Fr. Rodriguez because of his involvement in a local recall election over non-married partners receiving health benefits from the city) and that he has a Mass on the border of Mexico and the US once a year. El Paso is very close to some of the most violent areas in the drug wars. I was there only once and it was the year that they had to stop their mission work in Ciudad Juarez because of all the killings there. Father Rodriguez wrote a very scathing guest column in The Remnant when the Bishop’s appointment was announced.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:37 PM By JLS
Joey S., one poster from that parish says that his and others’ donations were made to Fr. Rodriquez and not to the parish or diocese … at least that is what it seems Dismas is saying. If so, then the Bishop has no business in claiming it at all. If this is the case, then it would explain why the Bishop is going after him in a civil court and has not pressed criminal charges.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:05 PM By Fr.Michael Perea
Dismas: I also know Fr.Michael Rodriguez and have helped him out several times at San Juan Bautista over the last two and a half years. By the way readers should keep in mind that Fr.Rodriguez celebrates the Mass according to BOTH the 1962 Roman Missal and the Novus Ordo in English and Spanish. I should know. From what I have been able to gather Fr.Rodriguez wanted to deal with this whole affair internally within the canonical legal system of the Church. It was the bishop who chose to go public with a civil suit and to bring it to the media. Why? I can only speculate.I have good reason to believe that Bishop Ochoa will lose his law suit and will suffer loss in the Church courts as well should he choose to go that route. On that I prefer to keep my reasons private. But suffice to say I do not think that his case is as airtight as it appears at first glance. Either way we have a big problem. If the Bishop wins, which I doubt, we will have a full blown episcopal and public relations mess on our hands. If Fr.Rodriguez wins,and he well might,we will have a different kind of mess but a mess nonetheless.How the Church ultimately resolves this God only knows. In the meantime, I will pray for both Fr.Rodriguez and Bishop Ochoa. I know that Fr.Rodriguez would agree with me wholeheartedly on this course of action and I think,or at least hope, that Bishop Ochoa would as well.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:02 AM By Bob ONe
I suspect that the church of El Paso is no different than most dioceses in this country. Because of tax laws, and cannon law most dioceses are corporation soles (sic). What that means is that technically all money, property, etc. is owned only be the Bishop. The deed to a parish, no matter who paid for it is owned by the Bishop, parish bank accounts are owned by the Bishop, etc. In most dioceses the parish can only have revolving checking accounts for weekly/monthly expenses. Saving accounts, etc., are held by the diocese. Obviously this varies, but in general. The point is, the pastor was likely in violation of fiscal norms when he had CDs stashed away so that the diocese didn’t know about them. In this case, or any like it, be sure that you understand the incorporation status of the diocese before you speak of “parish” money. It may not be.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:41 AM By JLS
Thankyou, Fr. Perea, for bringing some clarity and a deeper look at the situation.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 8:18 AM By Dismas
Father Perea: Obviously I know you since I attended San Juan. I will attest that you are a good, holy priest as well and that we were privileged to have you substitute for Father Rodriguez on numerous occasions. I can also attest to the fact that you make no error in anything you say here. Other readers should pay close attention to your comments. There is no need for speculation here. You good folks may avail yourselves of these comments by people on the scene if you prefer that to speculation. My donations were made with the clear understanding that they were not to be subject to any review by a rogue diocese. Had they been so, I would never have donated a cent. My donations were to a specific parish for a specific purpose. Should testimony ever become necessary we will find that this was the attitude of nearly every, and perhaps every, donor. Regardless, however, of the manner in which donations were made, I can assure you that no impropriety exists. Secondly, k, when I say “evicted” I simply mean that in a fashion that would astound you good folks, the bishop and his confreres swooped down on our parish and put an immediate end to the marvelous, true Catholic renewal that was going on there. If people understood the manner in which this was done they would gain some insight into the nature of this situation. We, however, were not surprised. We always spoke in terms of “when,” not “if.” Modernism is not a quirk, folks, it is a soul-destroying heresy. It is not simply another “form” of Catholicism any more than any other heresy would be. Do a review of Catholic history to remind yourselves of all of the enemies of the Church who actually held positions of authority within the Church. Begin with Judas. Catholicism and modernism cannot peacefully co-exist. Finally, Kevin, if you were to follow what you say here, you would be led to Truth as opposed to fatal error.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 8:42 AM By Fr. Richard Perozich
As a priest, I am ordained to teach, guide, and sanctify, preferably with my bishop, but even without him should he abrogate his duties to do the same. Under obedience, I must follow diocesan policy regarding the temporal goods of the church. Like Fr. R, I celebrate the traditional Mass as well as the Mass celebrated by the Pope and most priests. All our parish accounts and all monies are in the name of the parish. We are audited periodically, and keep records of all contributions, designated special gifts, and all expenditures according to the diocesan chart of accounts. The 501c does not pertain to commenting on morality, but a tax attorney would know if it involves recall elections which has to do with candidates for office. When you speak out, you must be squeaky clean in other matters, since if your enemy cannot attack your truth, he will look for another angle, and often find it.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:45 AM By Rev. Don Blickhan
I read this with sadness. I wonder why this dispute is being aired in the courts? Are there no church venues for solving this dispute? In any event, the court process will bring out the facts. Until then we owe both the priest and the bishop the presumption of innocence – and our prayers.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 1:31 PM By k
Dismas, thank you for answering. I saw a video from RealCatholicTV on the situation there. It indicated that with Fr. Rodriguez gone, there is no Extraordinary Form of the Mass offered at the parish anymore. There was also a story about the parishioners there doing their own catechism classes using the Catechism of Pius X. Were those stopped?

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 1:56 PM By Becky
Fr. Perozich: I am also a former parishioner of San Juan Bautista. I too did not donate money to the parish but rather to Fr. R personally. I don’t think you understand the gravity of donating money to the parish. If I put money into the basket, a percentage would be given to the diocese where it would be redistributed as they see fit.The diocese funds a center that claims to teach the faith to youth ministers and catechists but rather they are teaching heresy. One day I will stand before God and I will be held accountable for all my actions. I don’t want to be a part in any way of promoting heresy. I gave my money to Father R to do what he wanted with it. I didn’t claim it as tax deductible. If he spent it on himself I wouldn’t care, but I don’t know what he would spend it on. He lives simply. Almost everything he owned looked to be older then Vatican II.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:36 PM By FrMichael
Dismas and Becky: I read the El Paso financial policies, which are at the diocesan website. From what the diocese alleges and what you claim to have done, Fr. Rodriguez is cooked, since he shouldn’t have received any donations from you other than what he would keep for himself as a gift. There are no “go around” donations allowed in your diocese that is not subject to the review, and possible “taxation” for the cathedraticum, by the diocese. Orthodox priests beware! We must be squeeky clean on these temporal matters.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:00 PM By JLS
I would like to point out the amazing clarity posted by these faithful priests and laity: Can anyone find a modernist cleric who can speak with this pristine form of language? Those readers who have read only Vatican II documents can within a few minutes here read these several posts and take note. Then you can search up and read papal documents from before Vatican II and take note again at the true clarity of presentation. Not a single Vatican II document is so clear but every single one of them can be interpreted differently on their numerous levels: not that any of their levels is faulty, but that each document has several levels which require their own interpretational scheme. Maybe someone out there can explain this better, but it is as clear as a bright sunny smogless day to me.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:07 PM By JLS
Perhaps some laity professionals would establish a sort of holding tank for funds such as those that were donated to Fr. R, so as to make them available for the purposes of the donors, keep the priest off the hook, and keep the errant dioceses out of the cookie jar. Could be organized on any scale from local to international.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:34 PM By k
I want to make sure people know that Father Rodriguez is not being accused of “wine, women and song”. He is alleged to have taken the money and put it in Certificates of Deposit-most of which he returned. He claims to have given $5000 to a poor family and paid for a teacher for homeschoolers. Dismas and Becky- this reminds me of a pastor I had two decades ago. He always had special collections and the work never got done. When asked he would say that he hadn’t gotten enough donations to do the work or that people didn’t want the work done and complained. I think people finally said something to the bishop who told him “no more special collections”. There was never any idea of him doing something wrong with the money, just that he didn’t handle money in the right way. One of the things that is the most troubling to me is the article that Father Rodriguez wrote for The Remnant. He knew he was in trouble for the financial issues and he writes an insulting piece about Bishop Ochea? My first reaction when I read what he wrote (after my jaw left the ground) was that he was trying to make the bishop look bad to traditionalists. I wondered whether he was going to try to go national like Father Corapi. Now I see he may have had a different reason. The whole thing is really strange. Where were his lawyers both then and now? When you are in legal action, lawyers tell people not to talk about it. Father Rodriguez issued a press release. St. John Chrysostom wrote that the hardest possession for priests to give up is their reputation. God wants to strip us of everything of this world, but we resist. May the Holy Will of God be done in everything at all times in the way in which He wills.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:47 PM By Abeca Christian
Jim good one!

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:48 PM By bev
JLS: If a pastor has received permission from his (arch)bishop to embark upon a building project, parishioners can make their checks payable to the parish building fund but NEVER to a pastor/priest personally. This money will be held in separate bank account strictly for this purpose. No need for “cookie jars.” Checks should be made out to the clergy only if they are personal gifts.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:05 PM By Fr.Michael Perea
Fr.Michael,Dismas,Becky and JLS: I do not think that Fr.Rodriguez is cooked. Fr.Rodriguez is a diocesan priest,part of the secular clergy, as we religious order priests sometimes put it. He can receive private gifts,own property and dispose of them as he wills. I know,by way of example, a diocesan priest who is extremely rich. His inherited wealth is his and thanks be to God, he has chosen to use it well for the benefit of the Church and the poor. As far as I know there is no limit on diocesan priests as to how much of this world’s goods they can own,use and control. I,on the other hand,am a religious order priest,a Norbertine to be precise. I,on account of my vow of poverty, can not own any property in my own name. Every gift which is given to me I turn over to my superiors: either to the parish or to St.Michael’s Abbey or to whomever it goes. I could not do what Fr.Rodriguez appears to have done and I would not do it but he, I think, can. Bishop Ochoa is asking a civil judge to decide in his favor and give him the money…which was given to Fr.Rodriguez in good faith. I do not see how he can win that one.If he does win watch for the original donors to sue the Bishop in order to get their donations back. I do not know how a Church court would operate but I suspect that Fr.Rodriguez would win that one as well. But either way we will have a mess as I mentioned in my earlier post. I originally wanted to study for the Diocese of El Paso which is where I grew up. But for various reasons I had to give up on that option. I also thought of joining the Jesuits. In the end I entered the Norbertines which was for me the best choice. I love the Diocese of El Paso and I hope and pray that this conflict is resolved soon. AMDG

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:56 PM By k
Just found a new press release from Father Rodriguez detailing the spiritual and material improvements he made at the parish. Sounds like a good church to go to, but he did say that the diocese stopped the spiritual things. Dismas and Becky, I would give money at my church for those kind of improvements, too. And I wouldn’t think anything of giving money to the priest who had done those things. But why does he feel the need to issue these press releases? It brought to my mind Luke 17:10.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 12:02 AM By StevenF
The priest shares in the orders of the bishop and act on behalf of the bishop. Without the bishop he has no orders. No priest has the authority to raise funds at a parish that are “outside” of the diocesan/parish structure. To do so is not transparent, not obedient and even with the best intentions is very dangerous and suspect. Those who don’t want the diocese to get its share forget that the diocese is their church. The majority of many dioceses’ budgets go for training (vocations and lay training) as well as start up parishes.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:00 AM By AnnCA
k, this bishop IS bad for traditionalists. That is objective fact based on his history in El Paso.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:13 AM By JLS
bev, the idea I tried to generate in my post is more like a financial lifeboat to protect priests from the ravages of errant and mean spirited bishops.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:56 AM By FrMichael
Fr. Perea: first of all, thank you for living out your vocation and bless the Norbertines! Wish they were up here in Northern California. Yes, as a secular priest (like myself) Fr. Rodriguez can receive private gifts for his personal benefit. And looking at the modest wage scale for El Paso priests and our heavy income tax burden, I would recommend that parishioners be generous. However, by the particular law of the Diocese of El Paso he has procedures he is required to follow for depositing money to be used for building and renovating. If he, as is alleged, tried to circumvent this canonical law in the amount of six figures, then he is cooked. Even if there was the fig leaf of people giving money to him as an intermediary, he himself was required to deposit the money according to diocesan law and fund the renovations from these auditable funds, not from his personal accounts.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:21 AM By bev
JLS: I understand what you are saying and you are trying to support such priests. I gather the parish is owned by the corporation sole and Bp. Ochoa refused Fr. R’s request to make whatever improvements in his parish. Fr. R. decided to proceed on his own, which the Church does not allow. Hopefully this situation can be explained to the donors and the money returned to them.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:56 AM By k
bev, no, Fr. Rodriguez never asked the diocese for permission for the projects, according to the lawsuit.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 3:03 PM By Traditional Angelo
It is a fact that Priests can receive private funds that Diocese’s don’t pretend to have a claim to. I knew one Priest Who was bought a new vehicle by a good family. He was taken along by parishioners for a prilgrimage to Rome, paying all his expenses and giving him spending money. Throuout the years for Fathers day, Birthdays and Christmas he was given monetary gifts. Some gave him private funds for many of his projects. The Bishop at that time claimed nothing for himself and was very grateful that parishioners looked out for their priests. It is good to remember that Diocesan Priests do not take a vow of poverty. And my understanding is that these personal donated funds given to a Priest are tax deductible. As I tried to say before, this is a case for the Apostolic Signatura, not a civil court, but a court that is under the Supreme Judge Jesus Christ. Let Christ be the Judge! My wife and I once gave a private donation to a Priest for a project dear to him and to us, namely putting back the communion rails. I’m sure the Bishop did not demand his share of the donated funds.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 3:42 PM By JLS
The Bishop will also be cooked when the donors sue for their money back, regardless of its course of transit.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:51 PM By Traditional Angelo
JLS, For parishioners to sue for their money back, is extreme. But you are right. When drastic measures are taken against good priests, then the time has come for the laity to take drastic measures likewise to defend them. We cannot allow for anymore of our good priests to be brought down. This may go down in history that the laity in union with the Holy Father brought reform to the Church. St. Don Bosco revealed a prophecy from Our Lady, that she would raise up an army of faithful to do intellectual battle that would win a great victory for the Church through her. Perhaps that prophecy is now to be fulfilled.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:47 PM By JLS
I think the poster, Dismas, mentioned that the donors were preparing a lawsuit to reclaim their money, on the grounds that it was donated under specific conditions which the Bishop is ignoring.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:03 PM By bev
Traditional Angelo: Be aware that monetary gifts given to diocesan (secular) priests are NOT tax deductible. Ask any Certified Public Accountant.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:17 PM By Fr.Michael Perea
Fr.Michael and everybody else:My personal prayer and hope is that the higher authorities in the Church intervene as soon as possible,withdraw this case from the civil courts and adjudicate it internally in accord with Canon Law. I think that Fr.Rodriguez will cheerfully accept their final decision whatever it is. Since Canon Law is based upon the principle of justice and charity then any donations that are voluntarily withdrawn by their donors would probably be returned. If the system works as intended then everyone will be at peace with the result. But whatever it is, it will probably be kept secret.Let us all pray for a just and charitable decision that benefits the common good of all.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:27 PM By John Feeney
Gregorian, the good Dominican nuns taught us that only God can judge a person’s motivations.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 1:12 PM By FrMichael
JLS, IMHO the legal grounds would the parish return the money are not so clear. If the donations were made from the donors to the person of Fr. Rodriguez and not to the parish, as is alleged for some or all of the donors, then it seems to me that he is legally responsible here to make restitution. The comingling of parish priests’ personal funds and those of the parish proper is neither recognized by universal canon law nor the financial policies of the Diocese of El Paso, so the diocesan and parochial legal obligation to return ill-gotten funds in defiance of universal and diocesan canon law seems a bit murky. BTW unless he has filed paperwork with the IRS and State of Texas, Fr. Rodriguez is NOT a non-profit corporation and gifts to him are not tax deductible under the aegis of the Diocese of El Paso. What a mess this is. Now morally, if Fr. Rodriguez did in fact raise money under these false pretences, then the parish has a moral obligation to return the money, as best as it is able. I’m no lawyer, so I don’t know how Texas law might compel the parish to pay. Should that come to pass, if I was the incoming Bishop of El Paso I would be preparing to bail out what will likely be a bankrupt parish.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 3:56 PM By k
FrMichael and Fr.Michael Perea, I was just reading an interview in The Remnant with Father Rodriguez in which he says since being transferred he exlusively says the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. At one point he says that he may be forced to say the “Novus Ordo” (his term for the ordinary form of the Roman Rite) but that he would use the Roman Canon (I don’t know what that means) the use of Latin (which I understand is always permitted) and distrubution of communion according to traditional norms. He was a seminarian trained the way all seminarians are and apparently had some kind of epiphany while learning to say the EF. Is what he is talking about doing with the Mass permitted?

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 4:01 PM By JLS
John Feeney, do you believe everything the nuns taught you? Have you ever read what Jesus says in the Gospels? Why would He explain to us about motives if we were not able to discern them?

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 4:09 PM By JLS
FrMichael, legal contracts can be oral as well as written, and might prevail with enough witnesses. Since the bishop of the diocese is likely liable for the actions of his priests, then he would be a legitimate target for a civil claim. This level might surmount the incredible complications you’ve listed. But as you say, it all might depend on Texas law … or if there is an IRS violation, then there would be some federal law involved.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 6:57 PM By Bob One
Fr. Michael, with all due respect, I think the average Catholic in the pew is fed up with Priests and others in the hiarchy hiding behind canon law. The “laws” of the church dealing with temporal matters are irrevalent. They are what got us in the abuse crisis. We no longer trust the church with our goods. When a Priest, or anyone else in the church commits an alledged crime, we will stick with criminal law for our protection. You and others in the hiarchy need to stop thinking that the church is something outside civil law. You are not. We have several money crises in the country, and we still haven’t put all the Bishops in jail who brought shame to the church from abuses scandals. Forget canon law when it doesn’t deal with religion or faith.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 9:44 PM By JLS
John Feeney, children are taught as children. Adults are capable of more profound understanding, and thus giving ourselves to learning Catholicism is not something that should be sacrificed for the sake of making more money but making more money should be sacrificed for the sake of learning more Catholicism.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 7:07 AM By Larry
Bob One: With all due respect, if you really feel that you “no longer trust the church with our goods,” you may as well leave the Church. Donations should be withheld in particular circumstances here or there as a way of voicing objection to certain programs, etc–but we are still required by the Precepts of the Church to contribute to its material welfare in general–and to make the sweeping statement that we no longer trust the Church at all with any of our temporal goods anyplace anytime is not an option as long as we choose to be Catholics. And the disgrace brought on by the abuse crisis is no reason to say “forget canon law”! Canon law represents a compilation of what you might call the executive orders of the various popes as to the governing of the Church. They are not infallible statements of faith and morals (by themselves), but they are a legitimate exercise of his authority to bind and loose which he receives from Christ via Peter, and if we are to call ourselves Catholics and claim we are loyal to Jesus, it is also not an option to say “down with canon law–I do not recognize it!” Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water!

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 10:57 AM By MRamirez
There have been many interesting comments thus far. I would like to provide some important insight. I am a former parishioner of San Juan Bautista in El Paso, Texas, and I know Fr. Rodríguez well. Furthermore, I have contacts with very credible sources of information. Too many commentators are relying on the picture which Bishop Ochoa’s lawsuit paints. I can guarantee you that there are many facts which are misrepresented and misinterpreted in the lawsuit. Too many Catholics assume that simply because a bishop says something, that means it’s true. Wrong! Very credible sources confirm that (1) all parish financial records have been turned over to the diocese, (2) all parish monies have been turned over to the diocese and parish, (3) Bishop Ochoa has not followed proper canonical procedures and this is a major reason why he is pursuing a civil course of action, (4) it is the bishop who is “mishandling” funds by withholding money which does not rightfully belong to the diocese. Please take these points into consideration before commenting. Trust me, as time goes on, the truth of these points will come to light.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:01 PM By k
MRamirez, thank you for posting your information. It is true that we assume the information in the lawsuit is factual. I think we kind of assumed (1) and (2). It seems very likely that that the bishop did not follow canonical procedures, just because there is a lawsuit. (My impression was that the lawsuit was meant to expose Fr. Rodriguez.) I don’t know that the bishop is wrong to keep the funds until all money is accounted for. Here’s the problem: Money was collected by a representative of the bishop (that’s what your parish priest is). The collection was not authorized by the bishop. What is the bishop supposed to do? If good records have been kept, I assume he could return the money. I think the money will be returned to the parish, probably in a special fund. When someone does something they are not supposed to do and there are no procedures in place to deal with it, it can take a while to sort out and mistakes can be made. I hope everything turns out well for you. May God be glorified.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:49 PM By OSCAR
Larry, you are right again. CCC – 2043 “The fifth precept You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.” However, you are correct that we don’t have to contribute to things like the CCHD, and the national Catholic Charities who just honored a pro-abortion, pro gay marriage Mayor – so I’ll scratch them too. I usually give to my Parish, local St. Vincent de Paul, debt reduction for the Parish, and for traffic control after each Sunday Mass. That’s about all I can do. Occasionally a special collection may be good such as the Pope’s annual collection for the Propogation of the Faith.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 5:04 PM By Abeca Christian
Larry your comments from Saturday, January 21, 2012 7:07 AM By Larry. Were very charitable.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 6:48 PM By Fr.Michael Perea
MRamirez: I believe that you are correct. I do not have access to your sources but I have enough to strongly suspect that you are correct. But regardless of how all this turns out we have and will continue to have a mess. We are going to need a lot of prayer warriors to beseech Almighty God for a good result. In the end I pray that Fr.Rodriguez is vindicated,that Bishop Ochoa is promoted to suitable position in Rome and that God blesses El Paso with a great and holy bishop who will stay there a long,long time.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:05 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
k, 3:56 PM, Before the Novus Ordo Mass, there was only one Canon, the Roman Canon. If my memory serves me correctly, the Holy Father had to intervene in order to preserve the Roman Canon because the modernist had eliminated it, and Fr. Rodriguez is perfectly within his Canonical right to chose, as many others chose other Canons, to use only that Canon. The Holy Spirit is moving very forcefully in the Church today, I know many other young Norvus Ordo priests who are also making the same decisions, including the desire to learn and CELEBRATE the Mass of SAINT PIUS V! Two of them were VERY close to Fr. Aloysius Elacuria, CMF. Hope this answers your question. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 12:44 PM By k
Mr. Fisher, thanks, I think it answers it. I hope more priest will learn it; there are only a couple priests in our diocese who can say it.

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 2:18 PM By k
I had a friend who was fired from teaching CCD. She felt that the Lord layed on her heart to teach spiritual warfare to her class. The DRE called her in to tell her that more than one parent had complained and that she would have to let her go. My friend was devastated. She was very sure that everything that she had taught was right and that it was the Lord who wanted her to teach it. The DRE explained to her that it didn’t matter. She was supposed to teach a certain catechism and follow the lesson plan. It did not matter if everything she said was right. She could not be trusted to do what she had been commissioned to do.

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:40 PM By FrMichael
BobOne: I’m not sure what your disagreement with me is about. I’m all for obeying civil laws and secular accounting practices when it comes to financial matters. The more transparency, the better. Trouble comes when priests and parishes have secret accounts, use otherwise legitimate accounts for other purposes, and when priests directly handle parishioners’ funds instead of using book keepers, business managers, and money counting teams. Moreover, while Bishop Ochoa appears to be in the Mahony camp of bishops, his former diocese is to be commended for having publicly available financial policies that would allow the lay faithful, if they are so disposed, to objectively evaluate the financial policies of their parishes.

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:49 PM By FrMichael
MRamirez, I think that I have been appropriately agnostic as to the validity of the charges. None of us posting here know the truth of the allegations. But the allegations themselves are serious and deserving of comment. k: The pastor of the parish sets the Mass times, the form (OF or EF), and language. IIRC Fr. Rodriguez is not the pastor of his new parish. I doubt that he will offering many public Masses there if he disregards the parochial schedule.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 5:50 AM By k
FrMichael, thank you for your answer.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 7:20 AM By Larry
Kenneth: There is no such thing as a “Novus Ordo” priest. I assume you mean Latin Rite priests who have been schooled in the Novus Ordo and who now desire to learn the Extraordinary Form so that they may celebrate it. Also it isn’t quite accurate to call the EF the “Mass of St. Pius V,” since the form underwent a number of changes between his time and Vatican II. I understand that the EF is to use the 1962 Roman Missal, so it would more properly be called the “Mass of Blessed John XXIII.” I’m not aware that the literal Mass of Pius V is licitly celebrated, or is even authorized to be celebrated, anywhere.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 10:28 AM By Traditional Angelo
Larry, Why knit pick? The 1962 Missal still contains St. Pius V “Quo Primum” in the first pages. St. Gregory the Great was the author of the Old Mass, 1,600 years ago. When St Pius V codified it, it was in response to the fact that there were too many variations of it. So it was codified so that all Priests around the world would be saying the same Latin Rite Mass. Some ancient forms of the Gregorian Mass were retained such as the Ambrosian Rite, the Carmelite Rite, the Dominican Rite ect… Novus Ordo Priest is merely a term used for a priest who says the NO exclusivley. Tridentine Mass Priest is only a term that is used for Priests who say the Old Mass exclusivley. I prefer the Masses of Priests who follow the will of Bl. John Paul ll and Pope Benedict XVl in using both the “Usus Antiquior” and the Novus Ordo said correctly.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 10:52 AM By RR
Larry: The Mass of Pius V IS licitly celebrated today and forever and WAS authorized and codified by Pius the V in the Council of Trent.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 12:14 PM By Larry
RR: St. Pius V issued his missal in 1570–I don’t know of anyplace authorized to use the 1570 Roman Missal. That missal has been superceded five times: 1604, 1634, 1884, 1920 and finally 1962 which is the missal authorized for today’s Extraordinary Form. Pius V did not invent the mass of the 1570 Missal, he merely standardized it from existing liturgies–and today’s Extraordinary Form is not identical with the mass authorized by Pius V. The 1962 Missal incorporates many changes authorized under several subsequent popes, including Pius XII who issued several liturgical and calendar changes in the mid 1950’s. No pope and no time period has a copyright on the mass. It belongs to Christ and His Church.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 1:24 PM By Abeca Christian
Larry how can you say that there is no such thing as a Novus Ordo priest? That is a denial of what is. Let me give you a scenario of a NO priest, one who is trained as one and who does not know the Latin. Some even preach against the Latin Rite mass, spreading ill jokes and comments in regards to the Traditional Mass. Maybe that is why many are calling them the NO priest. We know that in the right terminology they are considered Latin Rite/Roman Rite but because of the differences in how the Mass is said, then you have those titles. If we talked about a Latin Rite priest that does not say the Traditional Latin rite, then we must clarify, that is where the terminology came from.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 2:10 PM By AgnusDei
Thank you to California Daily for paying attention to this very newsworthy item Our country was founded by Deists (who likely believed in a supreme being, but not in Jesus Christ as the second person of the Holy Trinity), and has since followed the logical path toward atheism and is headed in the direciton of Catholic persecuting paganism. We must focus on what is important, the salvation of souls, penance and prayer for poor sinners who have never received the gift of faith. It sounds like this is what motivates Fr. Michael Rodriguez to get up every morning, even from his physically banished location he can still offer the sacraments to fill the world with sanctifying grace.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 2:25 PM By RR
Larry:I NEVER said Pius V invented the Latin Mass or the 1570 Missal. What I did say is that he codified it. The Pius V Missal was never superceded. Slight changes may have been added, but it was not superceded. The Tridentine Mass is the traditional Latin Mass for the Catholic Church. The traditional Latin Mass was said by the Catholic Church for at least 1600 years. The Latin Mass has remained the same with only a few minor changes over the years. In 1570 Pope St. Pius V codified the Latin Mass which was later called the Tridentine Mass after the Council of Trent. The Latin Mass was the same throughout the world wherever it was offered. The Latin Tridentine Rite of Mass was the main Rite of The Catholic Mass in the Catholic Church up until 1969 when it was replaced with the Novus Ordo of Mass. Also, I NEVER said any Pope has a copyright on the Mass. Don’t put words into my mouth. Also, you are right when you say that the Extraordinary Form is not itentical with the mass authorized by Pius V. The 1962 Missal is a modernized version of the Traditional Latin Mass as well as the 1950’s missal. Nonetheless, the Mass of Pius V can be licitly said and offered. I know a priest who says the Mass of Pius V. The Tridentine Mass is the traditional Latin Mass of the Catholic Church. The traditional Latin Mass was the Mass said in the West by the Catholic Church for at least 1600 years. The Latin Mass has stayed essentially the same with only minor changes occurring over time. In 1570 AD, Pope St. Pius V codified the Latin Mass (called the Tridentine Mass after the Council of Trent). Now the Catholic Mass was uniform throughout the world wherever it was said and heard. The Latin Tridentine Rite of Mass (the Latin Mass) was the main Rite of Mass in the Catholic Church up until 1969 when it was replaced with the New Order of Mass.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 4:23 PM By JLS
Larry, you are mistaken in claiming that the Mass is copyrighted by God; it is not.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 4:35 PM By Larry
RR: Whether the numerous changes in the Mass between 1570 and 1962 should be characterized as “minor” or something more, is a subject that I think would require in-depth research and probably could not be adequately treated here. The point is, there were changes–and many of them. There is a twin theme that I often see running through posts on the subject of the Extraordinary Form (I’m talking in general–not necessarily about your posts.) It goes approximately as follows: A) This comes from St. Pius V, the man with the last word on what a real mass should be like–accept no substitutes! and, B) the EF comes pure and unchanged, exactly as it left Pius V’s hand. Well–neither statement is true. The fact is that Pius V, in accordance with Trent, made a landmark decision in ruling that henceforth and forevermore, no liturgy could be celebrated anywhere in the world without prior PAPAL approval. Until then, liturgical form had been a local/regional matter. He made it universal. Then he not only issued the standardized Latin form, but he allowed other liturgies to co-exist as long as they were at least 200 years old. There is a popular misconception that he ruled that the Latin-Rite mass could never again be changed until the end of time. He did not, nor did he have the authority to do so. He ruled that no one OTHER THAN THE POPE could change the form from then on. My whole point is that we need to get away from the nostalgist mindset of always looking back on the “good old days,” and live our faith in the present in today’s Church, whether we like the Novus Ordo, the EF, the Anglican-Rite or Eastern Rites.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 11:33 PM By Abeca Christian
Folks does it matter? After all, when we all die, will all this matter. Lately my faith has been shaken up a bit, I noticed that no matter how well we try to live our faith, there is always something wrong with us. I wish we would all be perfect but we are not. Look for instance our youth, many good devout parents try to raise their children well yet one wonders why some of our youth just go the wrong path? How about the parents who are rotten to the core, yet you find a good child that comes from that type of family. Not always the case but it does happen. What went wrong. Or how about the marriage where one is full of faith and genuine of heart towards purity yet people still mess up and get divorced. What makes one person embrace God’s graces easier while other struggle? We can’t always nag the truth into them, it’s prayer and perseverance with fortitude in prayer that we will see better actions and graces to be embraced as we pray for peoples change of heart and real conversions in Christ.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:55 AM By Larry
Does what matter, Abeca?

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:00 PM By k
abeca, these are growing pains. Stay in love with the Lord. Obey God, the Church and your husband. I pray that your trial will end quickly.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:18 PM By k
abeca, when the Pope lit the electronic Christmas tree last year, he annonced three wishes. “My second wish is that this (referring to the way the tree will illuminate the darkness) reminds us that we also need a light to illumine the path of our lives and to give us hope, especially in this time in which we feel so greatly the weight of difficulties, of problems, of suffering, and a veil of darkness seems to surround us. But what light can truly illuminate our hearts and give us a firm and sure hope? It is the child whom we contemplate on holy Christmas, in a poor and simple manger, because his is the Lord who draws near to each of us and asks that we receive Him anew in our lives, asks us to want Him, to trust in Him, to feel that He is present, that He is accompanying us, sustaining us and helping us.”

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:16 PM By MIKE
Abecca, you are a caring and good person. I have found that when I am obedient to the Lord and His Church (through the CCC) a great burden of trying to ‘figure things out’ has been lifted from me. It’s not easy but simple. That and most importantly being able to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. For those who have adult children who are not following the teaching of the Church, let us remember St. Monica who faithfully prayed over 17 years for the conversion of her wayward and sinful son – St. Augustine of Hippo who was converted by St. Ambrose. Sometimes we will not be the persons God chooses to lead those we love to Heaven, put HE does hear our prayers. We can never give up. We don’t know the day, time or hour of our last day on earth.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:57 PM By Abeca Christian
Larry all this talk on NO mass or trad mass etc. Sorry for bringing confusion. Right now, what we need is people to embrace God’s graces before any of these things can mean anything deeper to anyone.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:58 PM By JLS
What I find so virtuous in Abeca’s posts is here recognition of evils and then her immediate cut to the chase Gospel remedy. Too bad our bishops do not demonstrate this grace.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:03 PM By Abeca Christian
k I don’t know what you are assuming, but I am taking on many of my friends burdens lately and it has taken a toll on me. I am noticing that without our Lord’s graces and without people’s free will to embrace them, then all these laws and rules and what is right or wrong, will not matter. I now understand Saint Thomas Aquinas, when he was dying he expressed very well on God’s grace and what without it we will always have a deaf ear and cold heart. Blind to many truths, I hope that we continue to pray for one another and for all families. These are tremendous tough times, right now, all these rules and laws don’t mean anything to me without the Love of Jesus, His love is what makes everything sweet, even the hard things we often find to comprehend!

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:01 PM By k
abeca, then you are fulfilling the Pope’s third wish: “May each of us be a light for those who are at our sides; may we leave aside the selfishness that so often closes hearts and leads one to think only of oneself; may we pay a little greater attention to others, give them a little more love. Each small gesture of goodness is like one of the lights of this great tree: Together with the other lights it is able to illuminate the darkness of the night, even the darkest ones.” God bless you

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:53 PM By Abeca Christian
MIKE thank you. I understand what you mean with being obedient. I too have that zeal for our Lord and His truths but I usually try dig deeper. I think that sometimes our faith can be shaken, when God’s permits it for his greater glory, it is to help us grow more or to rid us of more imperfections, kinda of a cleansing and reflection, of course always willfully choosing God’s will and having the heart to obey and love our Lord. I love and have fear of my Lord and it is sometimes heartbreaking for me when others lack the zeal to love, honor and have fear of the Lord in their hearts. MIKE you are filled with God’s graces that is why you are obedient, but notice how many struggle at that simple task, what seems simple to us, it is not for many others. What I admire is one who struggles yet still chooses to love and obey our Lord, but I often wonder how come some just don’t have that extra zeal to place an act of will, it is because they have rejected unknowingly those graces. I have empathy and compassion for those in that situation.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:07 PM By Abeca Christian
JLS thank you, I shed tears when I read your comments, tears of relieve because they tell me that I am not as bad as I thought of me, I often blame myself for not doing better, I wonder where have I gone wrong. Your comments were good to read too, I appreciate your encouragement and as well of others too. I come to realize how much of a speck I really am. I am nothing without God’s graces, love, courage, strength etc…..I keep failing God miserably, I have looked in the mirror and saw some of my imperfections and even the ones people assume of me, even though they are not always correct as some may have judged me ill fully, I realized that when Jesus was here with us, he went through worst. Look how ill fully they have misjudged Him and they hurt Him miserably. Still till these times, man continues to be wicked. Praise God for his graces, mercy and Love. It’s no wonder the evil one hates us, With a contrite heart we can repent and God forgives us. Jesus tender Love, there is nothing like it.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:49 AM By Traditional Angelo
I spent the whole day yesterday in bed, wallowing in my frustration over my health and many other concerns. When I got up this morning the first thing I did was log on to calcathdaily. Reading these recent posts caused me to remember the spiritual guidance given me by a priest years ago. Here are some bits; “You cannot live the life of others, God calls you to live the life he gave you. Pray for everyone else.” “If you are deprived of peace, it comes from the devil.” “The spiritual life has many things, consolation, dryness, joy, sadness, failure and success, strenght, weakness, falls and the rising after the fall ect… It is called the School of Jesus Christ through his way, that is the way of the Cross.” I love this site, it is filled with people walking the same path as myself. We fall and we get up, we fail and we win victories. The joy of it all is that we are living our lives in union with God. Let us seek our Lady’s intercession for success in doing God’s will. “Christ makes all things new.” Lets offer our sufferings as a sacrifice for the conversion of poor sinners. Through the Communion of Saints, when they are in purgatory or heaven they will intercede for us. I’m not frustrated anymore, I’m now filled with hope again. This one experience out of many=Spiritual growth. Abeca God’s little girl, take courage. Deo Gratias!

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:58 AM By Larry
Abeca–I remember once hearing Archbishop Fulton Sheen describe an encounter with an ill and distraught woman. As I recall, she wailed to him, “Oh, I am the worst girl in New York!” Sheen replied. “No, you are not the worst girl in New York. The worst girl in New York thinks she is the BEST girl in New York.” We all feel like we’re failing God–and we’re right, because we’re sinners. But the people who fail God the most are the ones who firmly believe they are succeeding for God. So calm down. Remember St. Peter after the miraculous fish catch, who fell down and said, “Depart from me, Lord–for I am a sinful man!” Today the guy who wears the white hat in the Vatican is Peter’s successor. Then remember the Parable of the Two Sons–the father gave both of them an order. One said, “yes, sir!” but then shirked his duty. The other said, “no way!” but then later when his anger had cooled, he changed his mind and carried out the job. The Lord said that the SECOND son was the one who was in good graces with the Father. The person who somehow muddles on, maybe with some resentment or anger, maybe with a lot of confusion and discouragement is well ahead of someone who shouts “Alleluia! Praise the Lord!” at some Sunday service, then goes home and commits adultery or fornication without a second thought. You’re okay. Don’t despair.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:26 PM By Abeca Christian
Larry there was a flood of tears in my family room, they were tears that felt consoled by your most beautiful comments to me. An act of mercy and love were poured by your words. God bless you. Thank you, I’ll try to cling on to your words. As I have realized that without God’s graces, I am dysfunctional, I am grateful for those who are grace filled, because your very words of wisdom have lifted my spirits. Christ be with you always my friend!

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:31 PM By Abeca Christian
Traditional Angelo my dear friend, my heart aches for what you are having to endure with your health issues. Something tells me that it is a continuous suffering that you are having to endure. I pray for God’s mercy and to bless you the more during these health trials. Here I am going through my trials and having to feel helpless by the trials my close friends are having to endure, while dear good friends here are suffering with health concerns. I hope you heal and find the right doctors to help you and improve your health, Christ give you healing soon.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:39 PM By Abeca Christian
Traditional Angelo there was a big smile when you reminded me that I am God’s little girl. Well here you go, you are God’s little son and He is with you right now. May His healing hands be over you and give you strength and comfort. Thank you for your comments, you are right. I will listen to your advice. I have to focus on my kids, raising teens and a pre-teen isn’t easy in these modern times. Our teens always find fault with us and I’m probably the most sensitive because we have their best interest at heart, it’s sad that my sinfulness and imperfections stand out more to them right now but hopefully as they grow and with our prayers for them, they’ll someday see how much we really love them and that they know why we care enough to set boundaries and such.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:19 AM By Traditional Angelo
Abeca Gods little girl, Thank you. God knows better, if he does not heal me then I want to fully accept his will. I then only ask for the strenght to do some of the things I’m no longer able to do. My illness is Chronic Pancreatitis which is genetic in our family. 10 of us right now. It has brought on Diabetes, severe abdominal and back pain, and Chronic Fatigue and I mean super chronic fatigue. I have to take powerful meds including morphine to be able to sit up. Please ask God to do as he wills as I am confident he will listen to you, and ask for the grace for me to accept this without complaint, and to make the best of it according to his will. I think it saddens God for a sick man to get grumpy and lay around feeling sorry for himself. Thanks.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:09 AM By Abeca Christian
Traditional Angelo you are human, don’t be hard on yourself, there will be moments of down time and moments where you will find strength. I wish I could help you in some way, I will be praying more for you daily! have you tried alternative medicine? Try calling Dr. Mercola, he has a facility where they do alternative medicine as well, you can go there for treatment, I know that dumb insurances do not always cover these natural health options but if you can find a way to get to his facility, maybe there can be some hope there too. His website is just his name with a dot com. My heart is with you my dear friend, your suffering is not left unnoticed. I hope your family is doing all to give you comfort and support. May our ABBA Lord come and give you what He will’s. Also try Dr. Shultz but he has good cleansing products but I would not just stick to his stuff because he is not a complete regime, I feel that Dr. Mercola may have better resources though.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:03 PM By Larry
Angelo and Abeca–Whoa, now! If you’re referring to the same Dr. Mercola whose patient I used to be right at the end of the last century–well–I don’t think this is the venue for an in-depth discussion, but I cannot recommend him, and in fact I did stop seeing him after a couple of years, having not really improved in my long (since 1986) history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Without trying to offer judgements–I would just say that his philosophy amounts to an extensive and very complicated list of dogma including a complex diet which really has you wondering just what you CAN eat. His contention is that his medical teachings are prefereable to “traditional” medicine (meaning that offered by most doctors)–and basically you’re asked to trust him, because his teachings are controversial and unsubstantiated–and he has clashed more than once with federal regulators over advertising claims regarding products he sells. The last time I saw him, he asked me to lie on the couch. He then proceeded to wave a very small metal object–I couldn’t tell exactly what it was–back and forth a few inches over my abdomen. When he finished, he asked me if I felt any differently. When I replied no, I didn’t feel a thing–he expressed some surprise. He never really explained what he had done, and frankly the incident made me wonder what the heck this was all about. Look, your treatment is up to you–but I just don’t know about that particular doc.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 1:49 AM By Traditional Angelo
Larry and Abeca, There has always been much about calcathdaily that I was sure would please God and would please the Vicar of Christ. I think I have nailed it. There are 2 things that make this certain Catholic site outstanding. One is love of God and his Church, obviously by the topics presented on this site and the comments from the posters. The 2nd is the topics and the comments from the posters love of neighbor, the concern for the good of the Church, the concern for one another. A good example of Christ’s command to love God and one’s neighbor. I don’t know of any other Catholic site like this one. If we did’nt seriously disagree with each other at times, then this site would be fake. But we all seek God’s truth through his Catholic Church in Charity and Justice. Praised be Christ for all Eternity!

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 5:01 AM By MIKE
Abeca, I was away from the Church for approx 30 years – talk about disobedience on my part. As recommended on EWTN through encores of Mother Angelica, I read the CCC, prior to coming back to the Church. I cried for my part in Christ’s suffering. And pray every night that I do “HIS WILL” as stated in the Lord’s Prayer – no longer my will. God bless you Abecca and never get discouraged – give all problems directly to Jesus – He will carry them for you.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 11:34 AM By bev
Abeca: It is important to pray for enlightenment…who can help me, who has the best advice for me and then follow it.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 6:16 AM By Abeca Christian
Larry I am sorry that you had a bad experience. What I like about Mercola is the resources of alternative treatments that I have learned from him, he has actually helped many get to the root of their health problems and as for myself, without the use of harsh drugs, I hope that Trad Angelo will at least do his research and not get discouraged. The medication that Traditional Angelo is taking now, are strong drugs, they are actually doing more harm than good, they may be help him live longer but overtime they are actually very toxic and are not getting him better, I would pray for a miracle for him to at least for him to find something that may gear him towards some sort of improvement. On a few personal notes, I appreciated Dr. Mercola for 1. being prolife 2. he wrote articles speaking against birth control, both morally and chemically 3. he exposes the many dangers of vaccinations and gives readers the facts so they can make an informed decision. 4. He spoke against the new laws that undermine parental rights especially the ones that allow 12 years old’s to vaccinate without a parents knowledge, he was very against those immoral laws and the list goes on. He is not a perfect man, I’m sure there are issues but I just see the key important moral elements as well and how he has helped me improve my health with informed knowledge as well.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 6:19 AM By Abeca Christian
Larry I also want to let you know that I will be praying for your health as well. God bless you always.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:00 AM By Larry
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Abeca. You’ll be in my prayers also.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:01 AM By Abeca Christian
MIKE praise God you returned to the faith. It’s your story that gives one hope for all the seeds planted that sometimes may take someone 30 years to return but all in all, they are seeds planted with faith, that helped a person embrace sufficient graces to help them return home to Christ. Perhaps the failures I see today, may blossom in 30 years towards seeing more conversions that I hoped to have helped in, but I’m human and maybe impatient for the ones I love, I pray for their salvation now. I need to get over that, it’s God’s timing not mine! The Lord lead you to the CCC and that was the tool that took for you to return, praise God! Thank you MIKE for your encouraging words. God bless you. : ) I appreciate them.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:37 AM By JLS
I have personally seen some beneficial effects of “healing services”, both non-Catholic and Catholic. But obviously you have to stay away from the ones that are dollar motivated … it does not take a dime to serve healing to one another, not even a penny. It neither requires any errant committments … All it requires is people to get together in prayer and worship with a focus on healing and curing, and not on any agendas. The simpler and more earnest those involved, the more authentic it gets. I think there are some good priests who work a circuit in Catholic parishes for this purpose.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 8:27 AM By Traditional Angelo
Abeca Christian, The reason I think twice about looking up Mercola is because I take many prescription medications. I have read many warnings about mixing prescription meds with herbal supplements. That the results could be fataly toxic is my main concern. Were it not for this warning I would be banging on Mercolas door right now. I am very grateful for your concern, and thats a spiritual medication that gives me hope. As for the CCC I was one of its staunch defenders when it first came out. Many liberals in the Church did all they could to discourage it from getting into the hands of the faithful. When I read how many on this site heralded it as if it were the one and only valid Catechism, it triggered an experince I had not gone through since the late 70’s. In that period many created a storm in the Church. Endless talk and action about “change, renewal, update, modernize, spirit of V2, outdated, reform ect..” And it was all negative to the Church. We traditional minded Catholics would LITERALLY cringe at those words and actions. I felt the same experince of cringing when it came to talk on this site that there is one and only one cathecism in excistance and it being the CCC 2nd Edition. I have developed a certain prejudice against the CCC that is not right, it was caused by others. I once as I said was a defender of the CCC debating priests and laity alike in its favor, and we succeded with the backing of Bl. John Paul ll. Terrible things happen to the human spirit when ideoligies are spread as the only truth. God Bless his faithful honorable Daughter! (And this means you Abeca)

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 8:49 AM By k
Traditional Angelo, I am sorry that you have chronic pancreatitis. My father-in-law had something wrong with his sphincter of oddi and had a surgery. He takes pancreatic enzymes which are extremely expensive (along with 18 other meds). I think you are right to be wary of supplements with a pancreatic condition and all the meds. I am sorry that you had a hard time last week. Chronic illness is depressing, especially in this world that puts such an emphasis on “doing”. God is not like that. I am sure your sufferings are benefitting many souls. I am glad, also, that you can isolate where your negative feelings toward the CCC came from. I am sorry that you had that experience. The words that make me cringe are “community” and “meaningful”. Saying a prayer for you.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 9:18 AM By Larry
“…He [Mercola] …gives readers the facts…” Well, I think it’s highly debatable whether he truly is giving “facts” or something else. His diet lists so many foods to avoid that preparing allowed meals becomes a major project. I never attempted it completely for the simple reason that not only was I ill, but I was living with my elderly father who was in failing health–and I was (and still am, by the way) too fatigued to try to tackle a project like that. As far as mixing herbs and standard medicine, I believe Mercola prefers that his patients have little or nothing to do with standard medicine–simply entrusting their fate to him and his diet. He doesn’t require that. But he lets you know he holds standard medicine in contempt. I’d say it would be pretty risky. Plus based on Angelo’s description, I think a trip to Chicago to see the doctor would be dangerously stressful to his health. Well–that’s my two cents worth.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:19 PM By Abeca Christian
Traditional Angelo trust your gut feelings on the negative feelings on how people go about preaching the CCC, because like I said before in my past posts from other articles, sometimes some go at it like the protestants do with memorizing of scripture and come across like they ignore the rest of the wholeness of Christianity. So I’m sure the holy ghost is helping you discern on that but remember to test the spirit of the persons or person doing that, then you’ll know if it be real evangelizing. I always check for time to tell, humility and I have other guidelines that I follow that help me discern. Also no worries about Mercola, I trust that Larry is discerning well too but I have learned well from Mercola and I can say that my gull bladder is much better with things I learned from Mercola. Also JLS is right, sometimes Mercola does push his products a lot and we have to be weary of that but I can say that I appreciate Mercola for speaking up on key moral points as I have mentioned before on my other post.

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:28 PM By Abeca Christian
I respect what you are saying Larry. Mercola also tests your blood type. If you are protein type he has changed his strict guidelines and there were no issues as you mention, I have not had the same experience. Maybe he changed his guidelines. I guess I am with the believe as him, the little we depend on drugs, the better but that is my own opinion. I think that once we get hooked up to med’s, then it is hard to leave them. Traditional Angelo the thing with heavy prescriptions, the key to healing is finding alternatives that help you start to ween off of prescription drugs (there are also natural things that you can do that do not affect the efficiency of the drugs as well) but that can be hard and will need a very good doctor to help with that process, one that is worthy of that trust, that knows well your health and body. I prayed for you Larry and Traditional Angelo today, my thoughts were with you all day and tomorrow at Mass, I will pray for you again. I meant it when I said I would be praying for you. Thank you for your kindness, God bless you both. : )

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:34 PM By Abeca Christian
Larry have you had a specialist check out your adrenal glands? Sometimes fatigue stems from adrenal glands that are over stressed. Just a thought. Again thank you for your comments. JLS you are right, I agree with your comments especially when there is dollar signs of them trying to sell their products, I have taken all that into consideration and checked out their products as well to make sure they were of great quality to my standards on what I have researched and I can tell you, that I don’t always buy their products. : )

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 3:52 AM By Traditional Angelo
JLS, I became wary of healing services at Mass. I knew many who claimed a healing, they felt better for about 3 days then all the symptoms returned. I argued “God does not deceive nor can he be deceived”. Then Rome came out with guidlines on healing services, no healing service during Mass, If their is to be Mass the healing service must take place before or after the Mass, not during. if a miracle is claimed it must be placed in the hands of the local Ordinary for a complete investigation. Some of those services I went to and heard first hand about, were wild free for all, singing, screaming, dancing on the pews emotionalism. God can heal without all the theatrics.

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 4:39 AM By Traditional Angelo
k, Thank you for your concern in our “meaningful community”. Just kidding k, I’m glad you understand what I mean about all those overused useless words that make us cringe. I have nothing against and everything for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But when it is spoken of as the only Catechism, all others notwithstanding, it reminds me of the late 70’s and todays reasoning of the Sedevantist Catholics. As for Mercolas methods, I think of a couple we know who pushed for herbal supplements encouraging others to avoid prescribed Meds. Her eyes got bloodshot and they finally went to a doctor. Her blood pressure was so high that it permantly damaged her eyesight. Now both go to their regular doctor checkups, after trashing all those miracle supplements. I do take some herbal supplements approved and encouraged by my Doctor, but I take them only under medical supervision, the other 13 prescribed meds I take is in fact a call for alarm. Thanks for telling me about the pancreas enzyme supplements. I was looking into that but if my insurance does’nt cover it, then I may not be able to afford it. I will be praying for your father-in-law and you and your whole family. Thanks for confirming that my medical problems in union with God will benefit souls. God Bless you a million times over!

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:08 AM By Traditional Angelo
Larry, Thanks, you confirmed my concerns. And a trip to Chicago would certainly be too stressful for my condition. I have been medicaly counseled that if I become very tired to rest immediatly. When I don’t follow that advice, I pay a hefty price for it. And I’ve been warned that it could be dangerous as you have said. At this point I have an astounding Doctor, she doubled my insulin intake, prescribed Fish Oil supplements, and told me to strictly stick to a bland diet. All of this has made my hospital stays less frequent. I understand your problem with fatigue, I have drinking water on my nightstand, sometimes I am so thirsty but am too tired to reach for that water bottle. I have lost much weight which is good as I am obese. But the way I lost the weight is because I’m too tired to eat. I constantly have to remind myself that this is not laziness but an actual illness. Your two “cents worth” to me has been worth a million dollars. Thanks. God Bless!

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:58 AM By JLS
Angelo, there can be gold under all the fluff of the various kinds of healing services. The emotionalism can be effective for certain categories of ailments. Obviously this would not include genetic problems such as you describe; however, often there can be a benefit in easing attitudes that might have arisen in conjunction with organic ailments. Some attitudes can decrease the efficiency of the immune system. I’ve witnessed long term and permanent “healing”, but only along the lines of issues which the natural immune system is able to deal with.

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:47 PM By Larry
Angelo: I like your currency exchange rate! And God bless to you, too.

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:57 PM By bev
LARRY & TRAD. ANGELO: For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I suggest a lamp which is used for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). You can find them online. They are quite expensive, but if it works, it’s worth it! Was recommended by my MD.

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:59 PM By JLS
One thing that might have some benefit: I used to jog or run or hike with each footstep to a syllable of the Rosary. Translated, it would be each movement of a body part to one syllable of the Rosary. So, not only your voice but your body prays the Rosary. If you slow down, then the Rosary goes slower too. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone to sleep this way, maybe, but so far I’ve never awakened saying the Rosary in this manner … never thought of it before … maybe it’s worth a shot.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:00 AM By Traditional Angelo
Bev, My Doctor suggested what you suggested about that lamp a year ago. Maybe that would help, it certainly is worth trying. Thanks.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:17 AM By Abeca Christian
Thank you for your prayers. I’ve prayed for your intentions today as well. Offered up this past Sunday for your intentions as well. God bless you always!