Matt C. Abbott
Obama-supporting priest responds to critic(s)
By Matt C. Abbott
November 27, 2008

In my Oct. 29 column, I featured a Southern California Catholic priest, Father Art Holquin, who had donated to the Obama campaign. (Keep in mind that if Father Holquin had merely voted for Obama — the moral aspect aside — no one, save for God, would have known. But Father chose to give money to the campaign, and such contributions are public record. It's bad enough he voted for Obama, but to give money to the campaign was even worse.)

From Catholic journalist and activist Allyson Smith:

"Please pray for the conversion of Father Art Holquin, pastor of San Juan Capistrano mission, who reveals his malformation of conscience by his having donated to the campaign of pro-abortion, pro-sodomy Barack Hussein Obama — and upon discovery of his donation, now seeks to exonerate himself. How could any truly Catholic priest vote for Obama?

"My [Allyson Smith's] comments to Father Holquin's explanation letter are interspersed in red text and square brackets."

    'October 28, 2008

    'Dear [name redacted]

    'In light of the email that you recently sent out to a number of Knights of Columbus in our parish, permit me the opportunity for a response.

    'As an American [What about as a Catholic?], it has always been my great privilege as a faithful citizen of this Land [What about being faithful to your Catholic faith?], to cast my vote for the candidates of my choice [Gee, where have we heard about 'choice' before?].

    'As a priest, I am guided by my conscience [How well-formed is your conscience? Is it properly-formed according to Church teaching?] in supporting candidates that I hope and pray will do the greatest good for the greatest number of God's people, especially the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the elderly, and persons of color [What about the unborn?] that are very much a part of our society and my parish in particular. So, I bring to this moment a great deal of serious reflection aware of the values and the convictions that I hold as a Roman Catholic.

    'While I vigorously oppose Mr. Obama's pro-choice voting record [Really? Then why did you donate to his campaign?], his clear opposition to the War in Iraq which is indeed a life issue, his strong and vocal stance against the use of torture, which is a life issue, his commitment to a responsible universal Health Care system in our land particularly for those who are on the margins, which is a life issue, as well as his very reasoned approach to addressing the present economic crisis that we face have brought me to this personal decision of support. [Gee, what about the 'life issue' of innocent babies being murdered daily via abortion? What do opinions about the Iraq war, torture, health care, or the current economic crisis matter for those who have been deprived of the most fundamental right to life?]

    'Our Lord Jesus spent much of his ministry trying to heal the sick and thus I support candidates who seek to ensure that everyone's health needs in this country are met, especially those of our young children. [What about our 'young children' in the womb? Did not John the Baptist, at six months' gestation, leap in Elizabeth's womb when our newly-pregnant Blessed Mother Mary visited her, just days after her 'fiat' where she said 'Yes' to becoming the Mother of God? How then, Father Holquin, can you support a man who has no problem tearing children from their mother's wombs through all nine months of pregnancy, and even beyond?]

    'There never has been, and perhaps never will be, a perfect candidate for the highest office in our land, but the question I am always left with is: when all is said and done, who do I honestly believe will do the most to address the basic needs of God's people? [Although there were no perfect candidates, there was a clear selection in this election: pro-abortion, pro-sodomy Obama-Biden versus pro-life McCain-Palin. It's unbelievable that you, Father Holquin, a Catholic priest, failed this most basic test of discernment about which ticket to support.]

    'It has never been my intention to ever use my public position as Pastor of Mission Basilica in a partisan manner to draw others to support the candidate of my personal choice [notice the 'choice' rhetoric].

    'However, in reference to the Initiatives that are presently on the California Ballot, namely Proposition 4 and 8, I am in complete support of the positions taken by the California Conference of Bishops and have supported our parish efforts through our pro-life committee to support these efforts. [Father Holquin, how can you claim to support Props 4 and 8, yet financially contribute to a presidential candidate who vigorously and publicly supports sodomy and abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy?]

    'I make no apologies for such voting decisions that are private and ones that I have arrived at after a very careful and thoughtful process of deliberation. [God help you, Father Holquin, for adhering to such a misguided and malformed thought process.] Additionally, I respect those who may vigorously disagree with my personal choices ['choice' rhetoric, once again.] This is both the gift as well as the challenge of the democracy in which we live. [Actually, Father, the United States was founded as a representative republic, not a democracy. Hence the Pledge of Allegiance phrase 'and to the Republic for which it stands.' Please go back and study the history of how the United States was founded.]

    'Fr. Art'

This blog post gives a bit of background on Father Holquin.

Another priest in the Orange Catholic diocese, Father Fred Bailey, also donated to the Obama campaign. (Father Bailey is the priest who celebrated a "Halloween" Mass in which he dressed up as the character Barney.)

As for Bishop Tod Brown, he reportedly commented at a recent event "that calling and sending letters to his office complaining about the situation would not make any difference."

For those who wish to write to Rome about this very troubling situation (and there are many such situations in the Church), the following are a few names and addresses.

Nunciature to United States of America
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Avenue
N.W, Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1-202-337-4036

Congregation for Bishops
Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
00193 Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 10
Vatican City
Fax: 011.39.0669.8853.03

Congregation for Clergy
Cláudio Cardinal Hummes, O.F.M.
Palazzo delle Congregazioni,
00193 Roma,
Piazza Pio XII, 3
Vatican City
Fax: 011.39.0669.8848.45

Apostolic Signatura
Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect
Palazzo della Cancelleria
00186 Roma
Piazza della Cancelleria, 1
Vatican City
Fax: 011.39. 0669.8875.53

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

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