From the California Catholic Daily:
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.”
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