Fr. Michael Rodríguez – UPDATE

You might remember Fr. Michael Rodriguez in the Diocese of El Paso.  He has raised his voice several times in a strong way.  He has also been saying Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

At the blog Veneremur cernui there is an update.  I pulled out the main part with his inserted comments, and I add my own.

As of yesterday, November 10, 2014, Fr. Michael Rodríguez, is no longer the Administrator of Sacred Heart Mission in Shafter, TX.  He has been given a six-month sabbatical in order to discern God’s Will for the future. Fr. Rodríguez remains a priest in good-standing of the Diocese of El Paso. He will most likely be looking at options for priestly ministry beyond the Diocese of El Paso. Fr. Rodríguez has been offering the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively for the past three years, and this has led to increasing difficulties for him with the local hierarchy. [While I prefer the Extraordinary Form, I am happy to help a priest in a parish if they need the Novus Ordo.] Fr. Rodríguez asks for your prayers, and he especially asks you to pray for the small group of faithful (about 50) of the Presidio-Shafter area who are heartbroken over the loss of the Traditional Latin Mass and parish life based on the Traditional Latin Mass.

[…]

In a few days a number of us will begin a continuous series of nine-day novenas imploring the intercession of Our Lady and the saints on Fr. Rodríguez’s behalf. I will email more information on that in a few days. Moreover, we will pray a 54-Day Rosary Novena on his behalf from Dec 10 – Feb 1, that is between the Marian feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Purification of Our Lady, (also the feast of Our Lady of Good Success). We invite all to join us in offering these prayers. Thank you very much for your prayers and support.

You might want to add a prayer or two of your own, for everyone involved.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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27 Responses to Fr. Michael Rodríguez – UPDATE

  1. tgarcia2 says:

    I am sorry, but, his difficulty with the local hierarchy had nothing to do with the EF, rather some fishy money issues. Given those issues, he was sent into our version of “Sibera” by the previous Bishop.

    He not only alienated a lot of the community in El Paso (which makes it hard to get those who attend the FSSP parish now to be seen in a positive light with the rest of the Diocese) but also his fellow Presbyters. There’s a lot more behind it, and if Bishop Seitz (who invited FSSP there) can’t work it out with Fr. Michael then I didn’t know it was that bad. As someone who used to be at that Diocese I’ll pray for him.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’m glad to pray for Fr. Rodriguez and the good people whom he served. I am one of very few people to know someone who lived in Shafter (a non-Catholic neighbor).

  3. Mojoron says:

    We’ll hire him.

  4. oldcanon2257 says:

    While praying for Father Michael Rodriguez, please don’t forget to pray for Father Justin Wylie of South Africa, who used to say Mass at Holy Innocents in NYC.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/11/04/Priest-Who-Saved-NYC-Church-Banished-to-Dangerous-South-African-Township/

    If you would like to know more what became of Father Justin Wylie, just Google his name.

  5. Lucas says:

    I wonder if he asked for the sabbatical or if he was told to take it.

  6. ts says:

    I am at the midway point of a ‘novena of novenas’ (novena novenarum). Today begins the 4th novena and I was uncertain as to/for whom to offer it. I will offer this one for Fr. Rodriquez.
    (the novena novenarum I begin on October 7 and ends on Dec. 26: 81 days).
    Our lady of Victory pray for us. St. Stephen, pray for us.

  7. KevinSymonds says:

    Fr. Z., with all due respect, your ellipsis has left out an important note about this priest. He has asked people to pray for the consecration of Russia. [No. That’s not that important.]

    The consecration was done in 1984. Sr. Lucia has confirmed this including to a good friend of mine who spoke with her on several occasions.

    When the Vatican released the text of the vision of the famous third part of the secret of Fatima, it said that Fr. Gruner needs to stop calling for the consecration of Russia. The same would go for Fr. Rodriguez.

    At any rate, this little admission in the cited article reveals an important clue into the character of the priest in question. [No. It doesn’t at all. I am no fan of Gruner, but people can have different positions about the Third Secret.]

    Respectfully,
    -Kevin Symonds

  8. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I thank profoundly tgarcia2 for presenting the facts in the matter. I had been led to believe that Rodriquez was supposedly some sort of martyr for the EF. I now see that we have a case of nothing but defamation of the local bishop and disobedience to him. This is not the first time that I have seen and heard utterly mendacious activity by some ultra-Traditionalists who have replaced the Gospel for their own agenda. Such dishonesty does not win friends for the EF.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that the martyrdom story were true, the fact remains that no parish priest has the right to offer exclusively the EF in public without his bishop’s permission. Heck, no diocesan priest can even be a priest without serving under the successor to the Apostles, his bishop.

  9. almostpogo says:

    Details underlying tgarcia2’s comments as reported in 2012:
    http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_19729925

  10. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I hasten to add, to be fair, that I have no independent confirmation of what tgarcia2 has reported, and also no information that would falsify that report. I am simply responding to what tgarcia2 has said.

  11. “I thank profoundly tgarcia2 for presenting the facts in the matter.”

    Umm, not sure if those were ‘facts’. tgarcia2 just mentioned ‘fishy money issues’. That’s just a statement. Facts would be a bit more substantial, preferably with eyewitness accounts, notarized documents, and the like.

    It has been mentioned in the past on here that Fr. Rodriguez’ controversies began NOT after his turn towards the EF, but when he began publicly defending the natural law with regards to marriage. THAT was what stepped on toes, not the EF (at least initially). As far as I am aware, there has been no official citation from Fr’s Bishop reprimanding him specifically for only offering the TLM.

    ” Heck, no diocesan priest can even be a priest without serving under the successor to the Apostles”

    Actually, they can. Once a priest, always a priest. Same with Bishops. How do you think the whole Sede thing got started in the first place? How come reconciled priests and bishops are not ordained when returning to communion with Rome? Their absolutions and marriages they officiate over may be invalid though, due to lack of jurisdiction. People argue over that.

  12. jose.a.0121 says:

    I’ve read a bit of Fr. Rodriguez and have heard some of his sermons in youtube. His words are very uplifting and in support of the constant teachings and traditions of the Church. And that is what a priest is supposed to do. We need to hear the Truth and not some watered-down make-me-feel-good sillyness. May God continue to bless him and protect him from the enemies.

    I will keep him in my prayers.

  13. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I thank almostpogo for his link, which confirms the factuality of what tgarcia2 has reported: to wit, that it is a fact that there are “money issues”. Ozark Catholic would do well to read what is at that link, as well as click the link to court documents and read those documents. After my own reading of those documents, what surprizes me is that the bishop not seeking a criminal charge for embezzlement.

    And Ozark Catholic needs provide the Canon that says that a diocesan priest may function as a priest without faculties provided by his bishop, or without full obedience to his bishop, or without being under a bishop whatsoever.

    Disobedience, misuse of funds, and embezzlement — or the defense of those who do — do not win friends for the EF.

  14. I wasn’t saying that a priest could lawfully function as a priest, i.e., as in licitly. But he would still be a priest. What I was responding to was this notion that a priest is no longer a priest if he loses approval. He is still a priest. He is just restricted in his public ministry.

    I did read the article and documents. If that is all there is, and there is nothing that has come from the case yet, then there is no definitive answer on whether or not the money issues expressed are legitimate concerns, a misunderstanding, or as Fr. alleges, a trumped up charge as a way to get him out of El Paso. It does not look pretty at all, and prayers should be offered for Fr Rodriguez, Bp Ochoa, and all of the distressed faithful involved, who feel the loss of their spiritual guide at this time.

  15. Joseph-Mary says:

    These charges of ’embezzlement’ seem to me to be pretty easy to toss around. I know of a holy Franciscan with such a charge but his family (not him) hired a lawyer to defend against the calumny. They won. Unless there is proof, I would view it as an allegation only. Plus it would be serious SIN and Fr. Rodriguez seems to have a pretty good understanding of what sin is.

  16. oldcanon2257 says:

    Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I thank profoundly tgarcia2 for presenting the facts in the matter. I had been led to believe that Rodriquez was supposedly some sort of martyr for the EF. I now see that we have a case of nothing but defamation of the local bishop and disobedience to him. This is not the first time that I have seen and heard utterly mendacious activity by some ultra-Traditionalists who have replaced the Gospel for their own agenda. Such dishonesty does not win friends for the EF.

    Just wondering if tgarcia2 had ever been a parishioner in Father Rodriguez’s original flock at San Juan Bautista or just read about the case in the media (like I did) or just heard about it from Father Rodriguez’s “fellow Presbyters”? (… On a related note, my eyes were playing tricks on me when I read this late last night and thought to myself, “Geez… when/how did Father Rodriguez tick off the Presbyterians???” :)

    Might be best to reserve judgment, hear all sides, put things in proper context then come to your own conclusion. Just reading the 17-page original petition filed by the attorney for the diocese is like reading the biased history as written by the victor. Granted it’s a petition written in legalese, but some parts are just hilarious, such as “Fraudulently solicited funds from parishioners for the renovation of the church sanctuary to comply with the ancient norms of the Roman Rite when he knew that such a renovation would never be approved by Bishop Ochoa.”

    I recommend that you research the history of events which transpired between Father Michael E. Rodriguez and Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa which went back some years. Father’s uneasy relationship with his then-bishop appears to have started a couple years before the lawsuit, when he first started defending the teachings of the Church in the public square and took a clear stance on morality.

    I didn’t want to go down this rabbit hole and incur the wrath of the the moderator (Father Z), but… Did you know what Bishop Ochoa dragged the matter to civil court and file a civil suit, and he did so AFTER he’s no longer the ordinary (diocesan bishop) of El Paso? (Bishop Ochoa ceased to be Bishop of El Paso, TX on December 01, 2011 when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the new Bishop of Fresno, CA; yet the suit was filed on January 11, 2012 when His Excellency had become a temporary caretaker administrator of the diocese.)

    According to articles in the El Paso Times, in October 2012 there were also interventions in court by 5 parishioners from San Juan Bautista against the diocese; their brief stated that they had made restricted pledges to financially support the installation of altar and sanctuary specifically for the TLM and alleged Bishop Ochoa and Monsignor Banuelas improperly used the recovered funds to pay off unrelated legal obligations and other matters, etc.

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_21716549/parishioners-want-money-back

    Also, it makes you wonder why the then-ordinary of the diocese had decided to drag it through the civil court system and not handling it in ecclesiastical courts which would have been the more proper venue since the matter was between a parish priest and his bishop after all? Civil court, press release to secular media, etc. would that not be an unfair and un-pastoral PR campaign against the accused’s priestly reputation and against charity in the first place? Why not deal with it in it in ecclesiastical courts then let both side appeal to ecclesiastical authorities, ultimately to the Pope himself?

    Just saying… I have no horse in that race. I am in a diocese at a distance about 2,000 miles from El Paso.

    God bless, and please pray for Father Rodriguez regardless. After all, that was what this thread was all about originally, was it not? :)

  17. notenoughflair says:

    Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso has nothing against the Latin Mass. In fact, Seitz made it a priority when he moved to El Paso to help build bridges with the Latin Mass community there. On the morning his appointment was announced – before he even made the public announcement of his appointment – he consulted with a prayer group who was praying a rosary outside the diocese headquarters for the Latin Mass to be available in the diocese. Bishop Seitz also almost immediately made overtures to invite the FSSP to the diocese, and the diocese now has the Latin Mass available by FSSP priests.

    Fr. Rodriguez, on the other hand, has tainted his attempts at holiness with serious issues of disobedience, as referenced in multiple comments above.

    For the source blogger to insinuate that this “sabbatical” was in any way due to Seitz’s disdain of Rodriquez solely due to his propagation of the Latin Mass (causing ” increasing difficulties for him with the local hierarch”) is calumny against God’s appointed shepherd, plain and simple. And while the story of Rodriquez being released from duty may be fact, the source for this story has resorted to calumny and slander under the guise of “reporting news” – an offense against charity that this blogger has committed on multiple occasions in regards to this bishop.

    It leads me to wonder – if the blogger has no problem in slandering those canonically responsible for this priest, how much of this story can we trust as being fact, and how much of this is pure biased propaganda for the cause of this disobedient priest with the intention of laying fault with Seitz?

  18. Fr_Sotelo says:

    oldcanon2257:

    I find your comments on Bishop Ochoa to be inaccurate, in the extreme. I serve presently as a pastor under Bishop Armando Ochoa in the Diocese of Fresno, and have dealt with him in various matters, both sacramental, administrative, and in regard to doctrinal matters. He is a faith-filled and solicitous shepherd. I experienced this when he came to my defense after one homily, when Catholics visiting from another parish viciously attacked me, in writing, for preaching against in-vitro fertilization and the new “reproductive technologies.” And he would do this for me because after listening to his homilies for two years, I know he is orthodox in his doctrine.

    Let me say this in regards to the lawsuit he filed in El Paso. If he took Fr. Rodriguez to court, it was because civil law holds him responsible as the CFO of the diocese for reporting and pursuing accusations of embezzlement and misappropriation of money given to a non-profit (the Church). The allegation that Fr. Rodriguez sheltered money in excess of $100,000 in the form of private, CD accounts at the local bank is a grave and serious allegation. Refusing to turn over bank records, as is also alleged against Fr. Rodriguez, does not help the investigation. If bishops ignore these cases, and say they will just deal with law-breaking in ecclesiastical court, they can be held liable. District attorneys have, and will get involved in these cases, if the bishop refuses to investigate (and report to civil authorities), as he is supposed to do.

    In this diocese, we have the EF Mass and we have very traditional priests who operate unhindered in their preaching and liturgy. We were told by certain El Paso Catholics that our priests and seminarians would be persecuted for being traditional under Bishop Ochoa. I want to state that this has not come to pass. In fact, traditional Catholics will hold an “Our Lady of Fatima and Bishop Sheen” conference at which Fr. Paul Nicholson will be present this weekend in Fresno, with the Bishop’s blessing. So yes, let us pray for Fr. Rodriguez and a happy resolution to his ongoing problems, but let us not use this occasion of prayer as an opportunity to demonize Bishop Ochoa.

  19. triumphguy says:

    Thank you Fr. Sotelo for your “eyes-on” clarifications.

    Lots of prayers are needed.

  20. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Bravo notenoughflair, almostpogo, and Fr_Sotelo for vindicating tgarcia2 for getting the facts out! oldcanon2257, Joseph-Mary, Ozark Catholic would do well to take the words to heart of notenoughflair and Fr_Sotelo and the link provided by almostpogo.

  21. RJHighland says:

    Fr. Sotelo,
    Thank you for the update on Bishop Ochoa, whoa sounds like he turned a corner. I was involved in the diocese of El Paso in the vocations ministry when I discovered Fr. Rodriguez and the Traditional Latin Mass. So I got to see both sides. I liked Fr. Rodriguez because his homilies were solid comparied to the formation I and my family were recieving from the parish I attended. There is a whole lot of misinformation on both sides of this story. One thing for sure is when the city of El Paso was pushing for benefits for same sex couples the Bishop was silent and Fr. Rodriguez went to city hall and publically voiced the Catholic position on the cituation. I can’t think of a single priest that was developed by Bishop Ochoa that, let us say, is traditional in nature, all that I have met are leaning strongly to the progressive side of Church teaching. If you attended classess at the diocese they were very modernist and progressive in their teaching, this was literally in Bishop Ochoa’s backyard so I know they taught with his approval. There are a couple of priests that privately expressed their approval of Fr. Michael and his public fight but very few. Fr. Michael may have made some mistakes but he has a special charism and a deep humble faith. My prayers are with him because it is a priest’s duty to be obedient to his Bishop but when there is a conflict between what you are called to do and what the Bishop is telling you to goes against that calling their is an interior conflict that eventually become public. So please offer prayers for guidance for Fr. Michael during his sabbatical, Bishop Sietz as appointed leader of this flock and the faithful in the Shafter area that are faced with loosing the TLM and solid traditional catechisis. These are faithful people young and old in real spiritual and earthly struggles all who need our prayers. Once one falls in love with the TLM and the old catechism it is so difficult to go back to a happy clappy Novus Ordo parish which is about all the diocese offered around here until Bishop Sietz brought in the FFSP. There to my knowledge is not a Novus Ordo parish that teaches kneeling and reception on the tongue for the faithful or catichists and do have extra ordinary ministers of communion offering communion with the priest no matter how few people are at mass. (In a private revelation before the tabernacle in the Cathedrial I recieved an audible message to teach my children to recieve communion kneeling, that went against what Bishop Ochoa and my local parish priest were teaching at the time, but common practice at Fr. Michael’s parish parish) Also pray for those in El Paso who have fallen in love with the traditional faith and the TLM that we work together in spreading the faith we so love and heal the wounds created when Fr. Michael was removed from El Paso by Bishop Ochoa. My personel belief is that the financial issue was a means to remove a thorn in Bishop Ochoa’s side. If Fr. Michael went back to the Novus Ordo, promoted altar girls and reception of communion standing in the hand at his parish and didn’t speak out publically on the evils of the acceptance of homosexuality he wouldn’t have been moved and there would be no charges against him. There are two very different religions under one roof I think the Synod brought that fact to a universal light.

  22. Marissa says:

    If Fr. Michael went back to the Novus Ordo, promoted altar girls and reception of communion standing in the hand at his parish and didn’t speak out publically on the evils of the acceptance of homosexuality he wouldn’t have been moved and there would be no charges against him.

    There just isn’t any way of knowing that so it doesn’t seem necessary to write it.

  23. RJHighland says:

    Marissa,
    That is very accurate and I do know.

  24. Fr_Sotelo says:

    A traditional priest who is in trouble with his bishop needs to speak to his bishop with forgiveness, with humility, and putting his vow of ordination first: “Do you promise respect and obedience, to me, and to my successors?” This is the vow that tests his love for Jesus and Blessed Mother. I am a priest, and I know firsthand, how much I hate that vow, when it forces me to swallow my pride and to do what I do not want to do. And the devil is more than happy to incite me with rage against my bishop, against the diocese, and against any of the faithful who do not go along with me.

    I know how easy it is to paint myself the victim and to call my groupies and cult following to a crusade of war on my behalf. On the other hand, if I will go on a retreat and seriously pray about it, I know that I can speak to my bishop and work with him to come up with some options that will help me stay active in the sacred ministry. It will require only my humility and putting aside of a lot of infernal pride. It will mean, however, that I can continue to do parish ministry and feed the flock with the Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacraments. MOST OF ALL, I will be taught by Our Lord through these harsh experiences that there is not some special treatment that traditional priests are entitled to in the diocese. For all the faithful paid for the education of all the priests, so that all the priests would strive to serve them.

    When a priest starts to say, “I will no longer work with THOSE people, and THEIR clergy; oh, and I don’t do windows” such an attitude will only end badly for the priest, and all the diocese. If you truly love your traditional priests, if you truly care for their souls and their ministry, when they start down these roads of conflict, please tell them, “Father, GO BACK to the bishop and do what he says. I don’t get to walk away from my marriage and my kids because I’m in conflict, and you don’t either. Please go back to your bishop and work with him.”

  25. SaintJude6 says:

    Fr. Sotelo,
    I took you seriously right up until the point that you wrote “groupies and cult following.”
    He’s not walking away from a marriage. But perhaps the equivalent of marriage counseling is in order.

  26. Fr_Sotelo says:

    SaintJude6:

    I actually did not write those paragraphs with Fr. Rodriguez in mind, but rather had in mind other priests, real cases, I have tried to counsel in the 23 years I have been a priest. Thus, I do not apply the terms “cult following” or “walking away from a marriage” to Fr. Rodriguez. However, the terms are valid for the cases I have dealt with where the priest had a clique that egged him on, and ended up abandoning the sacred ministry.

  27. revueltos67 says:

    The following videos of Fr. Rodriguez and Bp. Ochoa might provide some insight into this matter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLAX8UZ9zoc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLksqH-NNro