Skip to comments.Resent Or Repent?
Posted on 03/15/2007 8:11:50 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
It is not easy to be a Christian. To be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect, is a directive which should instill both awe and humility into its hearers. Likewise, commandments to love our neighbors and pray for our enemies are also tall orders, which, without the grace of God, would be almost impossible to obey.
As difficult as Christian living is, it's harder still to be a Catholic. Though the Holy Church is a gift and a blessing from God and ultimately, a gateway to eternal life, its ways are never easy, nor were they promised to be. Besides the ridicule heaped on Catholics for obedience to the Chair of Peter in Rome, the Church also faces daily charges of homophobia, misogyny and any number of modern moral maladies in regards to its teaching.
Every Sunday, the faithful profess a belief in "one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church," which means that, "she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, 'assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 857)
Yet as hard as it is to follow the teachings, or Magisterium, of the Church, it is also a voluntary act; although one who is baptized in the Faith and abandons it does so at great peril to his immortal soul. This is not to say that one's faith should be of a blind, unquestioning type--it is hard to conceive that a God who gave us free will and reason would desire that--but if a Catholic does have legitimate questions of conscience he should be "guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church." (CCC: 1785)
Lent is a special time of repentance for all Catholics and so it was with curiosity that I happened to tune in to "Hannity & Colmes" last Friday night to see graphics which read, "Resent or Repent" and "Priest questions whether Sean is a good Catholic." What followed was an exchange between Sean Hannity and Father Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International. (web site)
The dispute centered on Mr. Hannity's public endorsement of artificial birth control and Fr. Euteneuer's charge that he is a "heretic" because he claims to be a Catholic in good standing while rejecting the significant moral teaching of the Catholic Church on the subject. (web site) What followed was quite unpleasant.
From the start, Hannity was clearly perturbed and this was evident in his refusal to address Euteneuer by the title of 'Father', as would any good Catholic under ordinary circumstances. He then delivered a rapid series of questions intimating that Fr. Euteneuer should not "judge" him without knowing his religious background, as if that had anything to do with the controversy.
Indeed it did not, as Fr. Euteneuer tried to explain, but Hannity, avoiding the actual subject, then launched into a superfluous tirade on the Church's "corruption" and "sex scandal." He delivered a lecture ending with a cryptic comment along the lines that the priest should feel lucky that the Church still had worshippers; which was for this Catholic, clearly the most offensive part of the segment. As if there should be a quid pro quo between them and Mother Church or that the Bride of Christ must bargain with them for their faith.
As bad as Fr. Euteneuer's charge of heresy may have stung, Hannity's response was no less scathing and frankly quite disturbing. One is not accustomed to hearing a self-professed "devout Catholic" address a member of the clergy--albeit one who was attempting to correct a grievous moral error--in such an angry and disrespectful manner. Yet, at no time did Fr. Euteneuer raise his voice or lose his temper.
But not only would Hannity not admit that his stance was tantamount to scandal, he then sought to correct the good father by suggesting: "Actually if you want to get technical here the Catholic Church does support a form of birth control, a natural method of birth control, is that not correct sir?"
Things then got ugly as Fr. Euteneuer questioned the depth of Hannity's understanding of the issues as he tried to explain the difference between the Church's teaching on Natural Family Planning, which is open to life, and artificial birth control which is most decidedly not.
Had he had the opportunity, he might have quoted official doctrine: "The Church also has affirmed the illicitness of contraception... because every marital act (is) intentionally rendered unfruitful." (web site) One cannot, no matter how they twist it, say the same of what the Church calls, "periodic continence." (web site)
Once again, this introduction of the actual subject of Euteneuer's accusation was met with a harangue on the woes of the Church, this time suggesting that those who disdain both abortion and artificial birth control are not facing "reality." As Sean Hannity must surely know, the sad realities of this life and the way in which we must overcome them are the reasons our Savior established His Church on Earth.
The narrow gate spoken of by our Lord grows harder to enter as years go by, yet practicing Catholics believe that walking in total faith with Mother Church is their best chance. Why? Because regardless of the sins of the mortal men who have represented her throughout the centuries, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her.
Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut. You may write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of GOPUSA.
He blowed up real good!
What's galling about Hannity's response is that the Church's teaching on artificial contraception is not new...or particularly hard to follow.
Hannity chooses not to believe it. Fine. Just don't talk about politicians who pick and choose which parts of their faith's doctrine they want to follow or ignore, or how they cherrypick the Bible for their own purposes.
He's no less hypocritical than the pro-abortion Catholics.
I like Sean Hannity on many levels, but he showed a side that I found very sad. Yet another Cafeteria Catholic thinking he knows better than 2,000 years of deliberation by the finest minds in Christendom.
His reasoning is compassionate and genuine. But he's trading one sin for another. The issue of "isn't birth control a better alternative than abortion" shows the limited manner of his thinking. He forgets that God's ways are far above ours. The decision of women to have abortions is tragic . . . but God can deal with tragedy, just as He can deal with repentence and redemption. The answer is they are both grave sin. Both will send a soul to hell. So, asking if one is less wicked than the other is useless. Hell is hell -- will birth control merit you a lesser tortuous hell? Hm, I don't think Satan works that way. Once you're there, it's all the same.
Most Catholics do neither. They just ignore the Church's teaching on contraceptives, as surveys have found that Catholics use as much contraceptive as the general population.
Hannity was wrong to disrespect the priest, but let's face it: he gets paid to be a hothead; nobody gets paid to watch him, though.
Question, where in the Bible does it say anything about birth control? Why would preventing a life from being started equate to snuffing out a life that was already started? Why do Catholics call their priests "Father" even though the Bible specifically tells us to call no earthly man "father" because we all have one Father, the One in Heaven?
All religions "cherry pick" the Bible, that's why I went non-denominational - I get to take the Bible at it's Word and don't have to put up with all the interpretations by "intellectuals" that can't take written words at their plain value.