Some additional updates on Fr. Rodriguez January 16, 2012Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, priests, Saints, scandals, Society.
The very sad saga of Fr. Michael Rodriguez, a traditionally minded and highly orthodox priest of the El Paso Diocese, continues. There was a truly execrable article in the El Paso Times on the subject, which, while initially stating that there were ‘alleged’ financial improprieties at San Juan Bautista, then proceeded to fly off into ridiculous unsubstantiated claims and even accuse the Diocese of not sufficiently prosecuting Fr. Rodriguez by not calling the police. Could it be that the police were not called because this is not at all a criminal matter, but a matter of whether funds were spent in accord with Diocesan approval? There is a yawning gap in culpability between someone actually stealing money, of which Fr. Rodriguez has not been accused, and a dispute over approvals for certain expenditures. The article then goes on to try to link Fr. Rodriguez to previous sex abuse cases, when absolutely no such link exists. As I said, the entire article was a hit piece from beginning to end and reveals the animus that exists among certain elements – very influential elements – of the City of El Paso against Fr. Rodriguez.
Fr. Rodriguez also issued a further press release, which you can read here. It’s not so much a specific refutation of claims made by Bishop Ochoa, as it is a defense of his character.
This entire issue is being blown radically out of proportion, and the lawsuit is simply, to my mind, a form of persecution against Fr. Rodriguez for his forthright defense of Church Doctrine, especially with regard to homosexuality. What is at issue is whether Fr. Rodriguez followed Diocesan norms for all donations received. There is no issue of theft – good Lord, Fr. Rodriguez lives as simply as can be imagined, he doesn’t even have his own phone. But San Juan Bautista was a very poor parish in a very poor neighborhood. It was also in a Diocese with much corruption and abuse ongoing. Normally, monies received for capital improvements must go to a general Diocesan fund, where they could be spent, theoretically, as money is fungible, on other parishes. Perhaps a donor of some means was very loathe to have that occur. Perhaps they insisted on finding a way to only fund activities at San Juan Bautista, without the diocesan assessment, or without being put in the Diocesan trust? I don’t know this to be the case, but it seems possible. Many priests around the country have great problems with this funding scheme which has come into being in almost all US dioceses over the last several decades, where rigid approvals have to be sought and given for even minor repair work (I know of one parish locally that had to wait months, even though it had the money available, to put a desperately needed new roof on the church, because the diocesan business office refused to give approval for a normal building repair). Speculation aside, this entire lawsuit turns on whether Fr. Rodriguez followed proper protocol – certainly, this is an extreme step for any bishop to take on such an issue.
In a related matter, a lay staff member of the Diocese of Kansas City, Mo, already dealing with enough problems, has filed a lawsuit stating he was repeatedly sexually harassed by another lay staffer and a member of the clergy at the chancery, who made unwanted advances of a homosexual nature. The article is grievously explicit, I warn all readers that the topics discussed are revolting and, if these allegations are true, reveal the hideous nature of the degeneracy which has reached even into so many of our chanceries (to think that a priest ordained to God made one of the statements in the article is heart-breaking). This homosexuality, actively practiced within the priesthood, is really at the core of the ‘treatment’ Fr. Rodriguez has received, to my mind.
But I think we all knew that already.