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The axe falls on the noble Fr. Rodriguez – UPDATE w/ CORRECTION September 22, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, sadness, scandals, sickness, silliness, Tradition, Virtue.

It is a very sad testament to the Church at this time, in this country, that many who knew and followed Fr. Michael Rodriguez’ work wondered how long he would be able to continue giving forthright, even strident, presentations on aspects of the Faith in a very public manner before he was forced to desist by some ecclesial action.  Well, sadly, that action has come, yesterday.  Fr. Michael Rodriguez has been removed from his role as “pastoral administrator” of San Juan Bautista parish, to be replaced by what all evidence reveals is a very different kind a priest, a man much more attuned to the desires of his bishop and much more hostile towards Tradition and especially the Traditional Latin Mass.  (UPDATE:  I have received updated and corrected information that a new priest has not been assigned to San Juan Bautista.  There will be a Latin Mass of unknown kind this coming Sunday at 9:30a celebrated by a Franciscan priest.  There is no word on the future of the parish, but it the outlook is uncertain to grim.)  Fr. Rodriguez is to be sent to ecclesial “Siberia,” to a location as far from the center of the Diocese as possible, to a parish with 4 dependent mission churches with no priests assigned, meaning he will likely spend most of his time traveling extensively and having little time to build up the laity at any particular parish. 

Why has this occurred?   The official reason is that Fr. Rodriguez’s very strong and forthright expositions on Church Doctrine regarding marriage, chastity, and homosexuality somehow threatened that most important, most cherished of Church privileges in this country – it’s 501 status as a charity with the IRS.  There is a recall election afoot in El Paso to remove from office the mayor and two council members who, over the intent of the voters expressed in a special election dedicated to this topic, chose to implement same-sex partner benefits for city employees through legislative fiat.  Fr. Rodriguez has of course spoken at length about how wrong this action is, but he has not endorsed any candidate or party, so the IRS status issue is a farce.  It is a red herring, a falsity.  While we may only speculate regarding the “real” reasoning, I think it should be mentioned that there are many reports that the clergy in El Paso is sadly made up of many priests who were personally…….PERSONALLY……offended by Fr. Rodriguez’ expositions on Church Doctrine.  Those presentations were, for some, perhaps many in that Diocese, very painful reminders of the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church, both before His Incarnation and since, that homosexual acts are always and everywhere mortally sinful and the homosexual inclination intrinsically disordered and unnatural.  They constitute, literally, the sins that “cry out to God for vengeance.”   These expositions could no longer be tolerated.  Fr. Rodriguez had to go.

In the coming days or weeks, there may be other allegations of alleged impropriety regarding Fr. Rodriguez, in order to justify this action taken by Bishop Armand Ochoa, he who still holds such a very warm place in his heart for his ecclesiological ‘home,’ the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Cardinal Roger Mahony.  They will all be false.  Period, end of sentence, no matter what is presented, do not believe any of it.  That is all I will say.

Meanwhile, the dedicated and devout parishioners of San Juan Bautista have lost their pastor, for such he was even though denied the title by Bishop Ochoa (the more to limit his rights under Canon Law), suddenly, in the middle of the night, without warning.  There is no daily Mass as usual, no Confession, nothing until Saturday night, apparently, when they will meet their new priest.  It is approximately 250 (thanks for the correction!) miles from El Paso to Presidio (Fr. Rodriguez was  transferred to the furthest out parish possible by Bishop Ochoa) – it will be next to impossible for many, if any, of the San Juan Bautista parishioners who have an attachment to the Traditional Mass to avail themselves of the Mass of All Ages, which the good Pope Benedict XVI has so plainly indicated he would like to be freely available wherever desired.  Fr. Michael Rodriguez is the only priest in the Diocese of El Paso who celebrates Mass according to the Traditional Rite.

To say this decision has upset many people would be a gross understatement.  Many are broken hearted, devastated.  They felt they had finally found a true pastor and shepherd, and now he is gone.  I pray those so affected will not be downcast or defeated, but will joyfully accept this cross, which could even be described as a persecution, as a triumphal sacrifice to offer to our Lord in union with His own, Perfect Sacrifice.  It is through sufferings that we grow most in the Faith.  Willing acceptance of this cross can bring much spiritual fruit.

But, at the same time, the facts must be made clear.  I think it very fortuitous, even Providential, that Michael Voris has been running a series this week on the influence of homosexuality in the Church, and, in particular, the clergy.  Here is his latest video, which is 100% accurate, apropos, and very much worth watching:

“The problem only surfaces once Catholic Truth is preached.”  And thus it has always been – there are those who seek accomodation with the world, and those who cling to the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church.  Those latter tend to get to suffer a great deal.  For that we should be grateful, although it is very hard.

But as to the question of why………I leave it to the reader to ruminate on that. 

The Truth, that so few can stand:


1. Colleen Hammond - September 22, 2011

I have tears in my eyes. God Bless Fr Rodriguez and my prayers are with him.

2. Caroline - September 22, 2011

What a sad, sad situation we find ourselves in these days…My heart breaks for Fr Rodriguez. He is in my prayers. +

3. Paul Primavera - September 22, 2011

I am infuriated at the corruption at the Bishop’s level. Here is a holy priest and…………..well, anything more that I have to say wouldn’t be good. I utterly despise and loathe liberalism, progressivism and democracy (two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner), in or out of the Church.

tantamergo - September 23, 2011

Paul, your comment got into my spam folder for some reason, I just got it out. Sorry it was delayed showing up.

God bless,

4. caitlin o duinne - September 22, 2011

he will be rewarded in heaven for his courage. presido is in the middle of nowhere but those people of GOD deserve a holy priest too. it is an isolated area but most beautiful part of Texas . God will protect him and all who defend our church and its doctrine. after all the holy family had to leave and go to a foreign land to protect Jesus .they were able to return one day so will Fr. Rodriquez

5. Dismas - September 22, 2011

Whoever wrote the above (and I have my suspicions) is right on the money. I am (or was) a parishoner at San Juan and, as you might expect, even a long essay would not capture either the incredible Catholic story that was San Juan under Father Rodriguez, or the incredible sadness felt by so many families – the incredible damage done by these men – not Catholic – dressed up as Catholic priests and Bishops.

That cold, mean hand of the modernist heretic, supposedly so concerned about his fellow man.

As a friend told me yesterday, “God is not done with this story yet.”

Imagine, now, if you will, all of those people and families who have breathed real Catholic air for the last number of years -who came from other parishes, other towns and cities, other countries – to this barrio Church in El Paso. Imagine them now returning to their own parishes and educating their fellow Catholics – not yet so privileged as to have been schooled in Catholic Truth. Will these people fade quietly back into their Novus Ordo parishes with disastrous liturgy and doctrine, receiving Our Lord in their hands?

It could well be that this little episode will backfire on the heretics that occupy the hierarchy of the El Paso Diocese. Oh – and let me emphasize what the writer above said – these men are PERSONALLY offended and threatened by a priest pointing out the Truth about Catholic teaching as it regards homosexuality.

So do not forget to pray for these men, especially for Bishop Armando Ochoa, who publicly teaches that there is no such thing as a particular judgment, and that we will probably all have an “overtime period” (his words) after death, in order to get our act straight. Imagine his surprise at his dying moment. So pray for him. The real, gut-level reality of souls needing salvation is something this man does not believe in, so we can understand how all of this Catholic chatter is foreign to him.

No, this story is not over, my friends. Presidio is, by the way, more like 250 miles away from El Paso. And apparently God desires for them to hear Catholic Truth and experience Catholic liturgy and life as well. It is only fair. Maybe some of the good folks down there have been praying all of these decades for True Catholicism to come their way. Well, fasten your seatbelts folks, cause here it comes.

6. KathiBee - September 22, 2011

Presidio is 255 miles from El Paso, not 150. 4+ hour drive away through mountains.

My heart sunk when I heard what the Bishop did. And how heartless! To stop daily Mass and Confession immediately? To not allow Fr. R. the opportunity to say good-bye to his people? What kind of sheperding is that by the bishop? Why would he punish those parishioners? Not all of them are TLM’ers, there are still 3 NO Masses said there too.

I think of the Cure’ of Ars, sent to that city b/c it was an ecclesial “Siberia”. Possibly there will be a young boy on the road for Father Rodriguez to ask, “Where is Presidio?” And the rest will be history.

tantamergo - September 22, 2011


Dismas - September 22, 2011

Right on, KathiBee.

7. Dismas - September 22, 2011

Pray For This Man:

Bishop Armando Ochoa’s Message

November, 2007

Our prayers for the departed proclaim faith in eternal life
Dear Friends in Christ,

As we enter the month traditionally dedicated to the remembrance of the dead, I am reminded of a story concerning the death of a prominent El Paso attorney. His wife put a notice in the obituary section of the local paper which read: “ El Paso , this morning my beloved husband, Ernesto ‘fulano’ Martinez , departed for heaven at 1:30 A.M.” The following day a notice appeared in the newspaper: “Heaven, 9:30 P.M. Mr. Martinez has not yet arrived. Whereabouts unknown.”

Conceivably the individual who put the second notice in the newspaper needed to be more patient. As it turns out, nowhere in Sacred Scripture or in any other of the teachings of the Church do we find any doctrine which absolutely declares that death immediately merits heaven or hell. Even after the transition of death, God in his mercy and discretion, gives us the opportunity to grow in his friendship, his grace, in order to better understand and appreciate his reality, heaven. We might even say that in the game of life, we will most likely go into ‘overtime’ at the transition of death.

I do not mean to be presumptuous but I really believe that most of us will admit that at death we are probably not quite prepared to go directly to heaven but at the same time, not bad enough to go directly to hell. As Catholic Christians, we believe that God applies to us the merits of his Son’s sacrificial death on the Cross. As we pass through a time of purification in human terms for however long it takes, “we are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.” This period of final cleansing of human imperfection before we are able to enter the joy of heaven is called purgatory.

Just as we pray for each other on this earth for example at Mass at the Prayer of the Faithful, so too do we pray for the dead in purgatory. There is not a Sunday that goes by that people do not come up to me and ask for prayers as they face a special need, or undergo a serious surgery, or are faced with a difficult decision. In Christian charity, we help each other by means of prayer in this life at these moments. Is there any wonder why we should do the same for those who have gone before us in the same way?

Each year, on November 2nd, we are invited to pray for our beloved deceased family members and friends in a special way. Each priest may celebrate three Masses on this day. The Church has always prayed for the dead and as you listen, in every Mass we offer intercessions for those who have gone before us.

As we commemorate the Month of the Souls, may I add that it is a special time to affirm Christian hope for eternal life. During my years in ministry, I have been exposed to different expressions in regard to the dead. Some of these have come from family traditions, local customs, burial societies, or the blending of pre-colonial Mexican civilizations with indigenous and Catholic beliefs. In the example of the late Pope John Paul II, I have always tried to acknowledge whatever I have seen to be good and have tried to transform whatever I have seen to be alien to the Gospel. May I encourage you to do the same. Although the reality of death seems to be a physical separation, it really does not make us lose contact with those who have gone before us in the sleep of death.

Sincerely in Christ,
Armando X. Ochoa, D.D.
Bishop of El Paso


8. dismas - September 23, 2011

Knowing nowhere else to go on a Friday morning before work to pray the Stations of the Cross, having as a habit for eight years gone to San Juan Bautista to do so, and knowing the Church would, for the first time in those eight years, be locked, I went there nonetheless.

Locked it was. Trusting that God would understand if I circulated outside, and knowing the positions of the Stations on the inside, I began the sublime devotion. At the Fourth Station, Our Blessed Mother and Our Blessed Lord looking each other in the eye, I was approached by a parishoner with a key to the sanctuary. We opened and entered. I completed the devotion inside the sanctuary.

There is a lot to be said about this topic – not just about the current situation at San Juan – but about the whole, beautiful, Catholic story that is San Juan. That will have to wait.

There is no better time to contemplate Our Lord’s Passion, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Way of the Cross, the Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother – than when one is in some anguish themselves. But what can our anguish possibly be when compared to the sufferings of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother? What can our anguish be compared to a faithful priest who has done the work of four good priests and transformed a parish over a number of years and suffered a crucifixion of sorts, by the pharisees of our own time?

The cruel, heartless destruction that accompanies the enemies of Catholicism is so very evident here. What has occurred at San Juan Bautista is but a microcosm of what has occurred in the Church over the last fifty years, and just one example among thousands and thousands. We know of the destruction of the heretics and unfaithful men masquerading as Catholic hierarchy, but it is good to experience it as something a bit less academic in order to believe yet more strongly in the reality of the forces of the enemy which have temporarily seized control of the earthly levers of Holy Mother Church. I am quite sure we deserved this, just as I am quite sure we did not deserve, of our own merits, the absolute beauty and splendor of the true Catholic air we were privileged to breathe during these years. And in the midst of contemplating the greatest sorrow – the innocent Son of God tortured for my sins and His perfect Mother sharing His perfect pain – whatever sorrow I might have experienced gained some perspective.

Of course the altar has been re-transformed into a table. Now begins the attempted re-transformation of good, humble, faithful Catholics. After the Stations, kneeling at the altar rail, wondering how long that would be left in place, other thoughts occurred. I’m sure no prophet, nor do I believe that just because something pops into this poor mind it is a supernatural message, but some things did occur.

Something like: “Lest the seed die and fall to the ground…”

Maybe we are not meant to just continue to bask in the comfort of our orthodox Catholic enclave. Maybe we were allowed these wonderful years in order to see what true Catholicism is – and what true Catholicism can accomplish. And maybe we are being asked to appreciate the unspeakable beauty of what we were given and now to go and spread this Truth abroad. Were we given all we were given for our own benefit? Are we such good people that we deserved any of what we tasted? Or are we merely leaven?

Sure – this is the end of something. But it is also the beginning of something. Like the World War One song went, “How ya’ gonna’ get ’em back on the farm – after they’ve seen Paree?” Some wonderful Catholic friendships have been made over these years. An extended family has been created. I know some folks that I think ain’t goin’ back to the farm.

All sorts of things will happen to us now, as individuals and families. And no one can take away the good that has happened to us. Few people can say that they have lived through something as astounding as San Juan. Catholicism is the patrimony of Catholics. It belongs to us. One of the greatest injustices has been the attempted theft of this patrimony by those who like to portray themselves as the purveyors of justice. Maybe now we, each in our own small way, are intended to go out and do what we can to introduce this exquisite beauty to our Catholic brethren who are not even aware they are being robbed.

And I suspect that a priest, in ways that only a true Catholic priest can do, is also prepared to repeat, through his faithfulness, the phenomenon that was San Juan. Would we be so selfish as to desire to keep this all for ourselves? We have been taught to crawl and we have learned to walk. Maybe it is time to share the gift. What greater gift can a person give to another than Catholicism?

At a certain level of Catholic maturity must come a certain genuine feeling of sorrow for the plight of these men. They can only speak of justice, they cannot understand it. They can only speak of charity, they do not know it. They can only pretend to create family, they will never do so. In the end, the best they can create is a facade – a deteriorating facade. In the end they cannot do other than destroy. It is the nature of their business. It is the mission of their leader. They are doomed to fail, and something gnaws inside of them, reminding them of that. They are a pitiable lot, and while we must be faithful to Holy Mother Church, we must pray for the conversion of these poor men. Otherwise we have gained nothing from these beautiful years at San Juan.

Grant that we may praise Thee, O Most Holy Virgin, give us strength against Thine enemies.


Mike - September 25, 2011


Thank you for this very beautiful post.

tantamergo - September 26, 2011

Dismas –

Can I make this a post? BTW, my name is Larry Roach, I believe we have a mutual friend in Steve Boor.

9. Sandra - September 23, 2011

Salve, Maria!
From city of São Paulo, Brasil
My prayers in Jesus and Holy Mary for all of you.

10. AR - September 24, 2011

Fr. Rodriguez may have been the only priest OF the Diocese to offer the Traditional Latin Mass, but he was not the only priest IN the Diocese to do so. The Society of St. Pius X has a church there in El Paso (I think its name is ‘Jesus & Mary’ church) where the Traditional Latin Mass is offered. These SSPX chapels may be ‘;irregular’ from the Diocese’s viewpoint, yet they are spared from the Diocesan politics and heresies. Traditional Catholics who will not support the SSPX chapels, and who smugly attend a Novus Ordo parish, should not be surprised when they are mistreated by the Novus Ordo establishment the way that Fr. Rodriguez has been. Other priests who have been ‘smothered’ by their Diocesan authorities have eventually found refuge with the SSPX (i.e. Fr. Zigrang in Dickinson, Texas).I hope that Fr. Rodriguez’ devoted supporters will follow him as he eventually finds a peaceful place among the SSPX where his priesthood is valued and where he can exercise the true Catholic priesthood.

tantamergo - September 26, 2011

I understood that the SSPX chapel was in New Mexico, over the border a bit from El Paso? Is that not right?

I did not mean to discount SSPX, I thought the chapel was not in the boundaries of El Paso Diocese.

11. Mike - September 25, 2011

Looking about for information on where Fr. Rodriguez has been transferred I’ve been unable to find anything definite. Has he, in fact, been transferred to Presidio? Or are you mentioning the distance from El Paso to Presidio simply as an example of how far away he could be sent?

Mary - September 25, 2011

yes, he was supposed to drive down Saturday for evening Mass last night; in Presidio, and introduced to the parish.

12. Offer Novenas for Fr. Michael Rodriguez « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - September 29, 2011

[…] I have covered the Fr. Michael Rodriguez situation in depth.  I was thinking while traveling that I had been a fool not to have asked folks to pray Novenas for him and his apostolate.  In fact, I began the Novena for the intercession of St. Michael the Arcangel last week, and my intention had been that God may work through this situation to allow Fr. Rodriguez to be an even more fruitful vehicle of God’s Grace, no matter where he serves.  Some may wish to have the intention that Fr. Rodriguez be restored at San Juan Bautista, and this time as pastor, not “pastoral administrator.”   I will continue praying Novenas for these intentions.  […]

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