Skip to comments.On Fox News Fearless HLI Priest Takes on Sean Hannity (may be indebted for saving his soul)
Posted on 03/14/2007 6:29:56 AM PDT by NYer
NEW YORK, March 13, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last Friday, the President of Human Life International, Fr. Tom Euteneuer used his weekly column to point out the hypocrisy of Catholic celebrity Sean Hannity, one of the stars of Fox News' Hannity and Colmes show.
Hannity had, on a show the week before, made a big deal of apologizing for having inadvertently eaten a couple of bites of a meat sandwich on a Friday during Lent. In his column, Fr. Euteneuer pointed out that the meat incident was not sinful at all, and "If apologies are the order of the day, then the repentance I would like to hear out of Sean Hannity's mouth is for his shameless-even scandalous-promotion of birth control. Yes, I have heard him personally say, 'I have no problem with birth control. It's a good thing.'"
Explaining the gravity of the situation, Fr. Euteneuer noted, "Given the size of his audience and the importance of his status in pop culture, Hannity's anti-witness to a fundamental tenet of Catholic moral doctrine is just devastating for the faith of others who may be weak or vacillating in this area." In his concluding remarks he stated: "The moral of the story is that Catholic men and women in the media need to be truly Catholic or at least stop being hypocrites." (see the full column here: http://www.hli.org/sl_2007-03-09.html )
Hannity's dissent from Church teaching on contraception is long-standing and very public. In fact, in 2004, his public stand in favor of contraception made it into a commentary in the oldest Catholic newspaper in the United States, the Wanderer.
On a show in 2004, Hannity was explaining his opposition to withholding Communion from Catholic politicians who support legal abortion. At the time he pointed out that should Communion be withheld from liberals it could also be withheld from conservatives such as he since, he said, he had no problem with contraception.
Hannity's press handlers called the HLI leader the day his column was published to have him address Hannity live on the program. Fr. Euteneuer obliged and began a reasoned, calm presentation of his case. "One is simply obliged not to be a heretic in public. That's the point," said Fr. Euteneuer in response to an initial question from Colmes. "If (Hannity) doesn't agree with his Church on that matter he should not be pronouncing on the matter as if he was the authority on that matter. He's not."
However rather than argue for his case on contraception or even address the points made in Fr. Euteneuer's article Hannity immediately jumped to the offensive. "Reverend. Let me, let me just say You call me a hypocrite. You question the depth of my faith. Do you know anything about me and my religious beliefs? And my background religion? do you know anything about me?"
"I only see the evidence Sean. I see the evidence of a superficial presentation of one aspect of the faith. I see the ," replied Fr. Euteneuer just before he was cut off by Hannity's attack on the Catholic Church via the sex abuse scandals. "Judge not lest you be judged, Reverend", interrupted Hannity. "Maybe you ought to spend a little more time that our Church covered up one of the worst sex scandals and I wasn't involved in it. And the fact that public people after that are willing to still be Catholic is something you should be applauding. Considering the levels of corruption at the highest levels of the Church was frankly embarrassing to every person."
Many commenting on Hannity, have said that he 'lost it' with the priest. "Do you know that I went to a seminary? Do you know that I studied Latin? Do you know that I studied theology?," said Hannity at one point just before repeating charges about corruption and sex scandals in the church.
The only time Hannity seemed especially affected by the priest came right at the end of the segment when Hannity demanded, "Wait, would you deny me communion?" Fr. Euteneuer replied, "I would." Hannity, visibly moved, replied, "Wow, wow." (See the segment on vido here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f50fD5elrcg )
Despite his courage and fidelity, Fr. Euteneuer has received criticism for his stand even from some Catholics who, despite decades of persistent, public and very damaging scandal to the faith by prominent individuals, still insist that behind-the-scenes, personal dialogue is the only acceptable response. It has been suggested that the HLI leader should have approached Hannity privately. However, in 2004, after Hannity 's scandalous remarks about contraception Fr. Euteneuer did attempt to personally contact Hannity with his concerns but to no avail.
The broadcast is being praised for having raised publicly that contraception leads to abortion and is contrary to the Catholic faith. It has also shown that the Catholic Church is impartial in its estimation of liberals and conservatives, and must correct equally all those who reject the Church's authoritative teachings on faith and morals.
Probably the saddest chapter of the event was Fox News publishing an open letter to Sean Hannity by Father Jonathan Morris, a regular news contributor for the fox News Channel. Fr. Morris, vice rector for the Legionnaries of Christ seminary in Rome, wrote that when he saw the program, "I hung my head in shame and sadness." Fr. Morris continued, "My colleague in religion (whom I've never met) used the public airways and Internet to call you a heretic and hypocrite. Because he chose to do this in a public forum, I want you and your viewers to know, publicly, that as an analyst of this television network, I believe this good priest, who does great work, exercised, on this occasion, shockingly poor judgment. I consider his willingness to give his personal opinion about your status within the Church inappropriate and ill-considered, to say the least."
In an open letter responding to Fr. Morris, Fr. Euteneuer wrote: "Your letter to Sean Hannity indicates that you did not know that I asked to speak to him in private about this matter in 2004 otherwise you may have tempered your remarks about my supposed lack of charity in dealing with a high profile Catholic who dissents from clearly-defined and reiterated Church teachings."
"May I also point out," added Fr. Euteneuer, "that you did not employ with me the same standard of "fraternal correction" that you expected me to employ with Mr. Hannity. I at least made the attempt to speak to him about this issue in private without success; you, in contrast, went immediately to the internet to take me to task." (See both Fr. Morris' letter and Fr. Euteneuer's response: http://www.hli.org/article_open_letter_to_fr_morris.html )
As a man who has defended the Catholic position on the right to life for the unborn, on traditional marriage, and against the euthanasia of Terri Schiavo, Sean Hannity has come to grips with many of the hard teachings of the faith. Some observers are suggesting that his encounter with the Church's position on contraception, was an eye-opener and may in fact lead Hannity to a fuller adherence to what he professes to believe. To this priest, who so perturbed him, Hannity may one day find himself grateful, perhaps eternally so.
And many other souls, as well.
That said, I thought I heard Sean say that he found it perfectly acceptable for non catholic teens to use contraception because it's better than abortion.
When a caller stated that contraception is not guaranteed to be effective and then abortion would be the next step Sean seemed to suggest that the risk was acceptable to him.
He went on to say that he teaches his children differently. Sean's kids are five and eight if I'm not mistaken. I would hate to think he is giving them condom advice.
It would seem that Sean was suggesting that teaching about condoms is okay in the schools as long as it's not taught to catholic children.
I heard a good part of that program and was totally dismayed by the tone and the illogic of the arguments Sean was making.
Yes. Exactly right. It is the good Father's obligation to speak up.
Fr. Euteneuer obliged and began a reasoned, calm presentation of his case. "One is simply obliged not to be a heretic in public. That's the point,"
In publicly promoting contraception, Hannity may be leading others astray.
As a seminary rector, I would sincerely hope that you are not teaching by word or example the young men in your charge to be politically correct sissies who are afraid to roll up their sleeves and defend the Church in private and in public. We have tons of those types in the clergy already.
That is absolutely priceless!
And when Sean Hannity pulls out the line, "I went to the seminary. I studied theology. And Latin!" we need to remember that he's talking about the HIGH SCHOOL SEMINARY of the DIOCESE OF ROCKVILLE CENTER, for God's sake!
A well-known bastion of orthodox theology and ecclesiastical Latin!
When Sean went there, they were probably using the Sadlier how-to-make-a-collage "catechisms," and I would imagine that the extent of the Latin studied was the chorus to Immaculate Mary - if that.
You know what kills me? No one asks why Sean brought him on the show. Sean throwing in the scandals a few times didn't help.
Also, Sean is the first one to jump all over Pelosi, Kerry and others re: receiving communion while sleeping with Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
Sean doesn't get it... in his pride he doesn't see it's about his soul, not what people think of him or if he's embarrassed... I guess they left that part out at Sean's seminary.
What does contraception do?
I'm on the floor... my thoughts exactly. LOL
You should look to see the mechanisms that the birth control pill and the IUD use prior to making a blanket statement such as that. Those two methods are inherently abortifacients.
Relevant Radio had Fr. Tom Euteneuer on yesterday at about 4 to 5 central time to talk about his appearance on H&C. This morning Fr Mich Pacwa said something about this as well. Both shows were a good discussion on cafeteria catholics and not simply a session to beat up Sean.
There are many kinds of Contraception, not all involve killing babies. Some block the sperms (condom), or change the female hormonal situation by preventing ovulation (e.g. implant), so there's no fertilization. If there's no fertilization take place, there's no baby produced. Abortion, however, obviously involves something to terminate the baby... This is if we believe that life starts from the conception. So, to be sure, there are many contraception that do terminate the baby.
I may be wrong, but I believe Catholic Church allows natural contraception, e.g., "calendar system."
Used correctly, no contraceptive in the world has a 100% success rate. (Unless you count abstinence, and the Church has no objection to that one.) The effectiveness of condoms used correctly is only 85%.
Even the Supreme Court in the Casey decision justified abortion by arguing that it was necessary as "backstop" contraception.
??? Ovulation occurs before fertilization; implantation occurs after fertilization.
All hormonal contraceptives have at least the potential to prevent implantation. (That's according to the package inserts that come with the drug; i.e., according to the manufacturer.) If you believe that life begins at conception (as you should), that means they can, sometimes, work by causing an early abortion.
It is wrong to say that the Catholic Church allows contraception, even "natural" contraception, which is an oxymoron in itself. The Catholic Church does allow for natural forms of birth control.
The Church's teaching included that is it never morally permissable pervert the sexual act, that is to sterilize it which is what contraception does. With natural forms of birth control, there is no act to pervert, wherein lies the difference.
It DOESN'T matter that both can prevent pregnancy. It DOES matter that one involves the sterilization of the act of love, which should always mirror the life giving love of the Father, and the other does not.
Catholic church views most contraceptives as abortive of a vial fetus, whether newly fertilized egg (the pill, etc.) or later. The key is life begins at conception and anything used to end that life is against Catholic teaching. Using condoms, etc., is against the Church because it believes that procreation is the purpose of sexual intercourse - and that teaches us not to waste seed. Any Catholics more knowledgable than I please correct me if I am wrong but this is how I understand it.
I'm still not convinced that using condom warrants a same treatment as promoting legal abortion. They both may be against the Church teachings, but defying communion is a serious punishment.
Hmm, this changes my view of Hannity, at least a bit. How could he be so disrespectful to a priest? And indeed, how could he deny the teaching of the Church on contraception?
I am deeply distressed that Fr. Morris entered this fray. With the "problems" the Legionaries have had with regard to their founder, this statement defending Hannity without contacting Fr. Euteneuer for "fraternal correction" and then the rebuttal published by Fr. Euteneuer is akin to seeing Fr. Morris "fall on his sword."
What a revealing situation for both Hannity and for Fr. Morris!
Promoting abortion brings with it an automatic excommunication. Using a condom does not. However, Communion is not a universal right for Catholics. You must be in the state of grace and free from all serious sin. Using contracepives is a serious sin in the church. It is one out of many serious sins.
You might want to have a gander at this rather long article before you judge. It places things in their proper perspective about "harmless contraception."
Have you ever heard of Onanism? Poor Onan was "smitten dead" by God. Mull that over.
I've never been a fan of Hannity, but I am shocked at his behaviour. I hope for his sake, his family and those for whom he is an influence that he takes Fr. Euteneuer's statements to heart.
I'm still not convinced, but thank you anyway. I do have a question, however, how come we don't hear much about priest denying a pro death penalty Republican communion?
the Catholic Catechism permits of the death penalty in narrow circumstances. abortion is specifically proscribed.
For the same reason that we don't hear much about denying communion to combat soldiers (many of whom are Catholic), or to folks who have used lethal force in individual self-defense.
Please read the link in #24. Tax-chick was so impressed that she is making copies to give to friends. It is a marvelous essay and really "nails" the conundrum.
|2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
|2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:
What does this say about Sean Hannity?
Gotta go. Thank you All!
I believe he would deny communion on the basis of birth control other than condoms..although that is not specifically stated.
Because the death penalty is considered within the state's right to enforce. The Vatican objects to the way it is applied through out the world not to the concept of the death penalty itself.
Contraception is a perversion of a good. The death penalty is not an evil in and of itself.
Thank you for asking, I appreciate your efforts to better understand what Catholics believe.
**I can agree with abstaining before marriage. I can agree that abortion is wrong, but shouldn't the Church recognize some method by which a couple can decide when they have enough children, especially when having another child will possibly kill the mom, the child or both? Shouldn't the Church recognize a method that will not remove sex totally from marriage?**
You are getting into an area called "INFORMED CONSCIENCE". I can't go there because I don't have to answer for YOUR actions. Only you and your spouse must answer.
(But I don't think Hannity has 8-12 children, do you? So, then this would not apply to him and his wife.
Although he may not realize it now, this may have been one of the best things that could have happened to him.
I don't think you're right on the effectiveness of perfect condom use. A Johns Hopkins publications puts it at 97%, with average use at 86%.
Please please don't refer to Natural Family Planning as the "calendar system." I know too many people who thought they knew what a "safe" day was, and got pregnant - sometimes happily, sometimes leading to abortion, single motherhood, or ill-considered marriage.
The calendar is a very small part of NFP>
###"Used correctly, contraception CANNOT lead to abortion..."###
The problem with your statement is that those who use contraception and follow with an abortion are teenagers for the most part. Also those who have very little self control.
Those people are emotionally strained during their sex endeavors and that is where contraception is not used correctly.
Paul V. Mankowski, S.J.
The following paper was delivered during the national meeting of the Institute on Religious Life held in Chicago April 16-18, 1993. The theme of this meeting was "Religious Life and Family Life: Co-Partners in the Mission of the Church."
"Unsex me here!" Lady Macbeth's prayer, significantly, was made to the gods of death _ "you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts" _ and we remember with a shudder how completely and vividly her plea was answered. She was, largely though not entirely, a contrivance of fiction, and yet Shakespeare's powerful and gruesome anti-heroine was a forerunner of a species of Christian for whom the conjunction of prayer, personal resolve, and the negation of life produced a radically new thing, a third order of sexuality _ a way of being human that is neither authentically male nor recognizably female, neither inceptive nor receptive of life, neither ordered to creation nor designed to nurture: "Unsex me here!"
It is important to notice that when Lady Macbeth prays that she be unsexed, she is pleading not for a diminishment of libido but for a freedom from compassion. The juices of sexual frenzy may flow unchecked; it is the promptings of that must be ripped clean away.
Come to my woman's breasts
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief!
The upshot is that it is not lust, but life, that must be alienated from the votaries of this Third Order of the Unsexed.
The question I have been asked to address is, "Has the contraceptive mentality affected religious life?" The short answer is Yes, emphatically. I want to use the prayer of Lady Macbeth to discuss the paradox of celibate men and women re- centering their lives on a contraceptive worldview. The contraceptive mentality is more than the conviction that artificial birth control is morally licit. It comprises an extensive fabric of attitudes about sin, religious authority, human fulfillment, as well as sexuality _ attitudes that are determinative of choices central to every human life, including those for whom personal fertility and infertility are utterly irrelevant issues.
Contraceptive acts, and their moral condemnation, are equally ancient. As is well known, the contraceptive crisis was brought into being with the development and marketing of orally administered anovulants. The Pill (or, as it is irreverently known in Britain, the Tablet) focussed the moral issues and polarized the champions of rival solutions decisively and irrevocably. This is not simply, or even primarily, the consequence of what is misleadingly called the Sexual Revolution brought on by the Pill. The Sexual Revolution was no revolution at all but the normal operation of social laws of gravity. "Folks done more of what they done before" simply because one constraint _ fear of unwanted pregnancy _ was eased. The water of sexual libido ran downhill after a sluice-gate was opened: no surprise there. No, the real revolution occasioned by the Pill not was not sexual but religious.
Contraception has traditionally been censured as an instance of sexual misdemeanor, and sexual sins have generally been treated by moralists of all traditions as sins of the weakness of will. Pagan, Christian, Moslem and Jew knew equally well that it's wrong for the head of the household to sport with the dairy maid, but recognized that in a moment of weakness a man generally resolved to live uprightly could succumb to temptation. The understanding of remorse, penance and reconciliation varied widely, but all acknowledged the phenomenon of lust mastering the moment. The Pill changed all that. To contracept by this method involved not a surrender to the urgent passions of an instant but an action _ better, a series of actions _ clearly foreseen and assented to in cold blood, passionlessly, with deliberation and resolve. The majority report of Pope Paul VI's commission on birth control clumsily attempted to assimilate use of the Pill to the class of human actions undertaken impulsively, but this concession was rightly rejected with scorn by Catholic couples who insisted that they embarked on contraception as a consciously (and, in their view, conscientiously) studied choice. To those who had made their peace with the Pill in the early '60s, the shock delivered by was staggering. It still is.
"Unsex me here!" begged Lady Macbeth,
. . . make thick my blood.
Stop up th'access and passage to remorse
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th'effect and it.
This is not a person trying to justify the ill means to a contemplated good end, or someone asking for pardon after the fact for an acknowledged wrongdoing. She prays to be rid of the access to remorse, to get beyond questions of conscience entirely. She resolves to be fixed on her purpose and on it alone, to the exclusion of all other considerations. Once the Church included the choice to contracept by means of the Pill in the class of morally condemned actions, no Catholic could leave the confessional in doubt about his capacity to "sin no more" in this respect (as, say, a penitent might doubt his strength to avoid the sins of fornication or blasphemy). Contraception involves no temptation at all in the sense of pressure to yield to an impulse (Was Lady Macbeth to murder Duncan?) but rather the resolution to lead one's life in defiance of the Church. To contracept while attempting to remain a Catholic accordingly required the development of an entirely novel religious stance, a stance founded on two beliefs: first, the conviction that the teaching Church is wrong in an area in which she explicitly claims authority; and second, the conviction that a Catholic can coherently hold that the Church is wrong in one place and right (or right enough) in others such that Church membership remains a conscientious and meaningful choice.1
Even on the pastoral level, very few religious were directly affected by the face-value content of Yet the religious stance that emerged in the rejection of was of paramount importance to their lives. For it involves the belief that there is a higher, or deeper, or at any rate more reliable mediator of God's will than the teaching Church. This point cannot be stressed too much. If the Church is wrong in , the judgment that it is wrong can only be made with reference to some standard. That standard, obviously, cannot be the Church herself; some contend that it is moral intuition, others a more academically respectable reading of scripture or of the history of doctrine; still others some comprehensive system of ethics or logic. But the crucial point is that whatever standard is taken as fundamentally reliable, this standard judges the Church, and is not judged by her. Here is the real revolution incited by the Pill; next to it the rise in promiscuity is a mere flutter. As did their lay married counterparts, religious men and women instinctively perceived (and in many cases, rushed toward) the breach in the dam of doctrine and discipline caused by adoption of this new standard. Keep in mind that this new crisis is of an entirely different order from the classical moral controversies in Church history, which involved the laxity and rigor of the Church's treatment of what all parties to the dispute agreed to be sins. Dissenters from are about something else entirely, for they maintain that an action specifically and categorically condemned by the Church may be contemplated and chosen in good will as a licit option by a conscientious Catholic.
I wouldn't make the assumption that not having a dozen children means a couple is using contraception. I'm proof of that one! After 15 years of never using birth control, my husband and I finally had our first and only child. Trust me, we wanted children badly, and it wasn't for lack of trying!