SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - A faithful Texas priest is being punished by his bishop for reaffirming Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Father Clay Hunt, III, serves as chaplain for the criminal justice ministry in the archdiocese of San Antonio. His priesthood, backers claim, is being threatened by liberal archbishop Gustavo García-Siller.
On Wednesday, the San Antonio Family Association (SAFA) reported that "Fr. Clay has been and is being targeted and attacked. There is an attempt by certain people in the hierarchy of the archdiocese of San Antonio who seem set to remove him [from] the priesthood."
"His faculties to celebrate Holy Mass in public have been removed again as they had been in 2018 when this persecution of him began openly," the post continues. "Fr. Clay's ability to remain a priest is hanging in the balance. He needs good canon law legal defense."
On May 5, 2018, Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano was elected mayor of Del Rio in the San Antonio archdiocese. An Air Force veteran known for wearing high heels, he is the first openly gay mayor in the State of Texas.
In June 2018, Commissioners of Bexar County, in which Del Rio is located, approved a proclamation recognizing June 29, 2019 as "Pride Bigger than Texas Day."
"You're in contradiction to the Lord, and the Lord was the one who said, 'If you are opposed to my precepts and decrees, there is no truth within you and I do not know you,'" Fr. Hunt told the commissioners at the time. "So, the five of you are very responsible to God for that."
Father Hunt also tried to see the new mayor in June 2018, but Lozano did not want to hear about the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality and had police remove the priest from city hall.
Regarding the event, one writer recounted, "Bruno ran on a platform brand of 'unity.' Well, that all went out the window June 20th, 2018. ... He called police to remove Fr. Clay Hunt from city hall, a meeting in which Clay was invited by Bruno."
The next day, a video was posted on YouTube of Fr. Hunt addressing the election and offering a transparent and charitable presentation of the Church's teachings.
"First of all, you need to know that God loves every creature that He ever created. And God is love. So, God does not hate any homosexual and neither does the Church," he said. "The Catholic Church never rejects any single person, nor does Fr. Clay."
"But never would I be the one to tell them that these kinds of things [homosexual acts] are okay because in fact, they're obviously against God," he added. "We know that through the revelation of God. He was the one who revealed those things to us."
Soon after these incidents, Fr. Hunt was removed from his parish, St. Joseph in Del Rio, and made the chaplain for the criminal justice ministry. This marked the beginning of persecution to which SAFA refers.
"There is no allegation of sexual misconduct," the SAFA post states. "There seems to be allegations of obedience which priests do take a vow of [technically, diocesan priests do not take vows, religious do; diocesan priests promise obedience and respect to the bishop and his successors].
"There seems to be allegations against Fr. Clay to include his speaking candidly about life, marriage and family which includes professing the truth about the harmful choices to individuals, including but not limited to abortion and homosexuality," continues the post.
Father Hunt's sister has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a canon lawyer to defend her brother. The initiative has received overwhelming support and a flood of positive comments from people who know Fr. Hunt.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio has been reported to be a "social justice hypocrite."
In January 2018, García-Siller sent three Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration — an order known for orthodoxy and traditionalism — back to their motherhouse in Alabama after nine years in San Antonio. The nuns were raising funds to build a monastery at the time of the removal from the archdiocese.
The parishioners were not even given the opportunity to say goodbye to the nuns since they were evacuated before the announcement was made at the parish where the sisters had resided. The parish, Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church (OLA), was founded decades ago by converts from the Anglican Church.
A letter from the mother superior was read: "Our three sisters in San Antonio, Texas ... have been blessed to encounter Christ's light in the many holy men and women they've met during their nine years of ministry in the Hill Country."
"Honoring the request of Abp. Gustavo García-Siller, the sisters are returning to our monastery in Hanceville, Alabama this week. Like the Magi, they will follow the Light of Christ in discerning their next steps, confident in God's providential care," the letter concluded.
At the time, parishioners told Church Militant they saw the move as punitive, vindictive and godless. They say OLA had been locked for years in a power struggle with García-Siller, as the archbishop wanted to maintain control of the property.
Rome sided with the parish in March 2017 and the prelate, observers say, seems to have taken out his anger on the three religious sisters.
Church Militant reached out to the San Antonio archdiocese for comment and received the following response: "The archdiocese of San Antonio is unable to comment to inquiries for response regarding archdiocesan personnel matters."