Monday, March 12, 2007


Spirit & Life
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Special Edition | Monday, March 12, 2007

Hannity the Liberal

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth." (2 Tim 4:3-4)

Many Spirit and Life readers may know that after last Friday's column ("Sean Hannity's Gospel") I was invited to defend my position on the Hannity and Colmes show that very night. It's nice to know that my emails are being read in the hallowed halls of Fox News! I suspected, however, that Hannity wanted to defend his "devout Catholic" credentials, and I was not disabused of this notion when I went on the show. What the show did, above all, was to show not that the Church was wrong or incoherent, but that Hannity, like so many other cultural Catholics, is really a liberal when it comes to certain aspects of sexual morality.

The first point I have to straighten out is for those who were concerned that this was not handled first in private. Well, in fact, I did attempt to handle this matter in private with Mr. Hannity in 2004, but I never received a response to my letter asking him for a meeting. [See side bar item, "Fr. Euteneuer asks to meet with Hannity about birth control."] As far as I am concerned, I did my due diligence before I went public with my complaint about his hypocrisy; but even if I had not, it was Mr. Hannity's schedulers who called me to make an issue of it, not I who demanded to appear on his show! In this age of culpable clerical silence on many serious issues affecting people's souls, do we now want a priest to keep silent about something so important? We can't have it both ways.

Second, concerning the actual debate, what some are calling Sean's "disrespect" for me as a member of the clergy was not of concern to me. In that sense, Sean is typical of his generation that has been taught that nobody has any special consecration (even if they technically do) and that everyone has to prove his mettle in the realm of public debate. No problem. I am a holder of this office, and I did not feel that his callous disregard for the priesthood did anything to diminish the sanctity of it, but I can see how it was an extra element of scandal for those who value the priestly office highly. Nor did I really care that he cut me off time and time again in the debate; he's a known quantity - did you expect anything else from Hannity?

Just for the record, Sean Hannity really is a dissenting Catholic and a public scandal to the Faith. He should be rebuked by his pastor or bishop, not by me, but since that has not been forthcoming in his decade or so of public dissent on radio and TV, somebody in authority had to say something. Hannity, as we know, is shameless on birth control, and judging from the interview, he hasn't even the vocabulary to rationally defend his position in the face of his Church's clear teaching. Hannity is also clearly pro-choice on abortion in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother, and he is really cozy with the likes of Rudy Giuliani whose love for abortion and everything gay is hardly a secret. It has even been revealed that Hannity's website, Hannity.com has a gay dating service that Sean knows about and apparently "has no problem with;" no different from his attitude in regard to birth control. So much for the "devout Catholic" Hannity. If that is devout, then Hugh Heffner is reverent.

The interview on Friday night was enlightening in many senses but mostly because it showed Hannity's true liberal side. The "Judge not lest ye be judged" comment I have heard only and exclusively in debates with liberals and others with guilty consciences. It is the whine of the person who is doing something that he knows in his heart is wrong but can't stand anyone pointing out. Hannity's "judge not" rant can be summarized in one phrase which, if it were put this way, would have been much more identifiable as liberal claptrap: "How dare you question my choice!" Face it: Hannity is a liberal when it comes to sex. In his position next to Colmes, Hannity wears the conservative mantle, but when he comes face to face with the truth of his Church, which I as a priest am obliged to uphold faithfully, he is no more than a liberal relativist.

And in that matter, how different is his position on birth control from that of Planned Parenthood? They have "no problem" with birth control either. In fact it's much more than a personal matter for them. It fuels their business. Yes, about 60% of women going into abortion clinics are doing it because of failed birth control and no amount of feigned pragmatism about stopping abortions with birth control is going to change the fact that birth control teaches people to be selfish and leads them down the garden path to the killing centers of this nation - or any nation for that matter. And by the way, for those who wanted me to object to both abortion and birth control as a solution to any problem, please go back and listen carefully to the clip - I did object to both! The Catholic Church's teaching on sexual morality is the only coherent dissenting viewpoint from PP's gospel of free sex and baby killing, and sadly, Hannity, the "devout Catholic," just aids and abets those criminals.

Most surprising of all, however, was Hannity's use of what I call the "argument from pedophilia;" namely, the tendency to fall back on the Church sex abuse scandal when you're losing an argument with a priest and have to grab for something. I have had people do this to me in front of abortion clinics, at Da Vinci Code protests and in private conversations about Catholicism for the past several years. Let's just say I didn't expect it from Hannity! Was it me or did Sean just disconnect from reality at that moment? Where in the world did that come from? Well, it's because Hannity's really a closet liberal when pushed to the wall. True colors come out in the wash, and the birth control issue just has a greater tendency to touch the sensitive areas of people's philosophies of life.

Hannity's worldview is full of holes. He may have gone to seminary but, if that is the case, his seminary background and knowledge of Latin (!) gives him a greater responsibility to get it right when he wants to spout off about Church teaching in the public forum.

For your reading interest you can click on the side bar items to see some of the incredible feedback that we got on both sides of the debate. Of particular interest is the recent statement of Cardinal Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, who has said that "dissident Catholics are more worrying than atheists." Whew - words of warning for Hannity and O'Reilly and company. In the end, we all have to undergo our own "Judgment Day," and it is the Church's job to let people know ahead of time that God is not a moral relativist on the issue of birth control.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International

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