Sean Hannity's Gospel

Thomas J. Euteneuer
March 9, 2007
Reproduced with Permission

In an age of sophisticated dissent against Christ and His Church, the purity of the Ancient Faith needs defense so that people do not put their faith in "another gospel," says St. Paul (Gal 1:7). In the face of modern challenges to the Faith, Catholics who have a high profile in media, culture and government have a very grave responsibility to witness it correctly; otherwise, they will be held accountable in heaven for their anti-witness which affects the faith of millions.

For example, last Friday Sean Hannity took a few moments out of his afternoon radio show to make an apology. When I heard that the rather brash Hannity was actually going to apologize for something I was interested to find out what that would be. At first he sounded very sincere in saying we have to take responsibility for our mistakes. Fine so far. Then he went on to tell his hearers that he had taken two bites of a chicken sandwich that day because he had been traveling and literally forgot it was a Friday of Lent. He stopped eating it when he realized it was a Friday, but he used the opportunity on the show to make a fairly big deal about the "eat meat on Friday and you can go to hell" issue.

Well, even though he claims to be a "good Catholic," Hannity is hardly a credible commentator on Catholic matters. The chicken sandwich scandal was fairly trivial in the overall scheme of his show, but it said much more about the depth of his faith than anything else. I suspect that a great number of Catholics live their faith in the same way - rule-bound and juvenile - but we need something better from a public "Catholic" like Hannity. We need a vibrant witness of someone who knows and embraces his Faith as deeply as he articulates his political passions.

Just for the record, he did not commit a sin when he ate the chicken sandwich - he had no intention to violate the Church precept, and he corrected himself immediately when he realized what he did. That's not a sin, and issuing a dramatic "apology" for doing that is, well, entertainment, not witness. This, unfortunately, is what passes for a deep discussion of the Catholic Faith in the public forum nowadays.

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." (Another bit of profound theological reasoning.) 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. His impact is greater, and so his judgment will be stricter. "To those who have been given more, more will be required..."

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. We have enough pretenders to the title of Catholic in public life without being treated to superficial assessments of profound moral issues. Rules are important, but Lent is not about rule-breaking, it's about conversion of heart; and on the most important moral issues of our day, public Catholics like Hannity have no right to profess "another gospel," or the faith of millions - and indeed their own souls - are in serious jeopardy.

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