UPDATE: In November of 2020, the day before our Grandfather's funeral, Fr. Clay received notice that he was removed from the prison ministry, and has effectively had his faculties stripped completely. Fr. Clay is now unable to practice as a priest in any capacity.
This fundraiser is for my brother, Fr. Clay Hunt, to defend himself against unjust attacks for upholding the true, traditional practices and beliefs of the Most Holy Catholic Church. About two years ago, when he was forced out of his Parish, St. Joseph’s in Del Rio, Texas, I tried to raise the alarm and tell everyone about the underhanded methods being used to silence and intimidate one of the best Pastors in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. I wrote up a long post explaining how he was being unfairly attacked, but Fr. Clay asked me to take it down because he didn’t want to increase any drama or division within the Church. But now things have gotten worse, and I can’t stay silent any longer. People need to know that if we don’t stand up for him right now, he will likely soon be stripped of this Priesthood, his mission and his very identity.
For those of you not familiar with who he is, let me tell you about my brother. We grew up in a very small town, Brackettville Texas, and he was raised with strong values and taught how to work hard in our ranching family. He was one of the last people that you might think would become a Priest… he was going to school to become an Optometrist and was actually close to being married when he had a profound experience in which God clearly called him to become a Priest and give his life to the Church. He came to love God more than anything, studied in Rome, the Philippines, and San Antonio, and he gave his life to become a Priest in January 2009. He then served at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Helotes and was the Pastor at St. Joseph’s in Del Rio. Both of those communities loved him immensely, and he built up the community of St. Joseph’s tremendously. He is the person who will go to bat to save people’s marriages. Having the difficult conversations. Getting people the help they need. He would visit the imprisoned, even before he worked in the prison ministry, no matter what they had done, he showed them compassion, love, and strength, and countless people who were once “lost” turn to the faith every day because of Fr. Clay. You have no idea how many trips he makes to the hospital at all hours of the night. Everyone knows, if your relative is sick in the hospital and you call Fr. Clay in the middle of the night, he will drop everything and go be with that family. If you know Fr. Clay, I’m sure you can agree with me, everywhere you go in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, you run into people who have been dramatically impacted by Fr. Clay. I hear people say all the time, “He is my favorite priest”. For good reason. It’s because of his love for serving the people of the Church and the way he relentlessly sacrifices his time, his energy, his meager resources, and his life for others.
He also stands up unapologetically for the truth of our faith, which is mostly why he is being attacked now.
Fr. Clay has always stood up strongly for what he believes, and more than anything, he loves God and the Church. A few years ago, standing up for the teachings of the Church began to make him a target of certain leaders in the Church who seem to value liberal politics and ideology over the faith. Just as the liberal agenda in our society today seeks to silence and destroy anyone who stands in their way, Fr. Clay was suddenly removed from his position as Pastor of St. Joseph’s, and was forced into a humiliating, mandatory week-long psychological evaluation, which was of course just an attempt to smear and discredit him. They also unlawfully withheld his pay for his living expenses, minimal as it is. He obliged to these measures out of obedience and a desire to continue serving the people of south central Texas. Although I am sure they hoped to uncover an issue that they could use against him, as is often the case with that tactic, he passed the psych eval with flying colors. He was not, however, allowed to return to St.Joseph’s or any other parish. The leadership, who sees him as a threat to their agendas, placed him in prison ministry, likely believing he would be less influential there. But because his heart is to serve God and His people, Fr. Clay has thrived in prison ministry and has directly contributed to the conversions of hundreds of prisoners who now have given their life to God. I wish you could hear their testimonies and see the pictures of their smiling faces as they were Baptized and received into the Church. He has also continued to visit countless people in the hospitals, counsel those in need, preach and say mass on many retreats, and faithfully serve the Church however he can.
But certain people have not stopped looking for a way to remove him from the Priesthood altogether, and they have diligently been searching for any and every reason to bring Fr. Clay’s character into question.
In the summer of 2020, Fr. Clay received notice from the Canon Lawyer of the Archdiocese that they are accusing him of a handful of new, unjust charges. And that he was no longer allowed to operate as a Priest outside of the prisons. Clearly, they don’t want him tirelessly serving God’s people because he doesn’t bow to their liberal ideologies.
Their end game is very clear: they want to silence him forever by removing his faculties and stripping him of his ability to serve as a Priest.
As Christians, too often we sit back and fail to take a stand against the poisonous agendas that tear our Church down from within. Yes, Fr. Clay needs your prayers, but he also needs people to stand with him and take action before he is just another casualty of this liberal powerplay. Tragically, most people are unaware of the fact that this is now common in the Archdiocese of San Antonio over the last 5 years. The leadership doesn’t just oppose conservative, traditional Catholic values… it actively silences and removes those voices. Many, many Priests and Deacons have quietly had their faculties stripped or they were kicked out of the Archdiocese, and hardly anyone hears about it. It seems to be a silent war being waged within the Church, and we can only wonder about the true motivations behind it. Entire religious orders and Pro Life groups have been discouraged and silenced. Why do you think these things keep happening? Why do we keep letting it happen? Fr. Clay has been given no choice but to hire legal representation, a Canon Lawyer, who can defend him against these calculated attacks. The Archdiocese knows well that, with as little money as a Priest is given to live on, Fr. Clay will not be able to afford such representation. This is why so many good Priests, Deacons and Religious sisters go down with nothing but a whimper. This isn’t just an attack on Fr. Clay. This is an attack on the very people of the Church who he seeks to serve and bring closer to Christ and His Truth.
Please don’t let this happen. Help us stand up for Fr. Clay and countless other good, holy, and traditional clergy who are being persecuted and silenced.
There are a few ways you can help:
1. Donate on this WonderWe to secure a proper defense for Fr. Clay. If we can no longer tithe to leadership of the Church which abuses its position, we must find other ways to support what is good, true and just, such as this.
2. Contact the Archdiocese of San Antonio and tell them that you oppose their attack on Fr. Clay and on all the other conservative, traditional voices they are removing and silencing.
3. Pray. The rosary is an especially powerful form of prayer during persecution.
4. Spread the word. Send this to all those who don’t want to see the Church destroyed from within.
Few promises of Jesus are as scary and yet so encouraging as the one made to Peter in Matthew 16:18. “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus did not say that there won’t be persecution, That there won’t be controversy and pain. These are the times in our lives that define our impact on this earth.
Please join me in supporting Fr. Clay-- our priest, brother, friend, and a true servant and warrior of our faith. He is being persecuted, but the gates of hell will not prevail if we stand together. If you love Fr. Clay, If you love the Church, If you are tired of seeing good men and women of faith being knocked around by powerful people with ill agendas-- Please stand with us now for the sake of what is true to God and the sake of the Holy priesthood. God bless you.
>> All funds raised will be deposited into a Trust established for the purpose of handling expenses related to Fr. Clay's defense. Lynnea Castillo is a Trustee on the Trust and will be helping to facilitate withdrawals.