Hannity Lessons Learned

Thomas J. Euteneuer
March 23, 2007
Reproduced with Permission

It is clearly time to get beyond the Sean Hannity controversy, but in doing so I also recognize that my March 9th interview with him tapped into a few currents of righteous indignation about issues relevant to our Catholic identity such as birth control and public dissenters, the silence of the clergy on fundamental matters and our deep love for the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. I want to point out a few lessons learned from the Hannity interview:

First, faithful Catholics love the priesthood. They defended me personally against the aggressive attack-dog irrationality of Mr. Hannity, but they also defended, out of a profound respect, Christ's sacramental priesthood. No one can erase from the hearts of the faithful the intuitive love the Church has for those who bring Christ to them in the most tangible way possible, and when attacked, the faithful stand up and defend the priesthood.

Secondly, faithful Catholics love when people speak up unequivocally for the truth, and as a priest, that is what I am ordained to do! The expressions of gratitude for my standing up for the Church were just overwhelming perhaps because a vigorous defense of Church teaching from the ranks of the clergy is, shall we say, rare these days. However, the faithful are also called to this defense, and now I am convinced more than ever that there are many who are well-equipped for the task. I have always said that only the laity and the clergy working together will be a formula for positive change inside or outside of the Church.

One final lesson learned. There are literally millions of Catholics out there who, like Mr. Hannity, haven't the slightest idea about Church doctrine on critical issues and are living in a de facto state of contradiction concerning their own religious faith. I believe they fell through the cracks in the post-Vatican II malaise of religious education. These need to be reached. As the discussions on these issues continue, especially in the blogs and talk radio, the Church gets more opportunity to explain her teaching on contraception and its consequences - something Mr. Hannity did not give me a chance to do! I do think we now have what Fr. Richard John Neuhaus would call a "Catholic Moment," that is, a chance to seize the opportunity of public interest on these issues and run with them.

To aid this effort, in the next few weeks I will send out a series of brief video email presentations on certain aspects of the contraception issue in order to give you some tools to help others understand the issue more clearly. Send them to family and friends just to get the message out more widely. Below I attach the upcoming schedule, and I look forward to assisting you in the evangelization of our whole society:

March 30: Does birth control really prevent abortion? (video email)

April 6: Holy Thursday - the Gift of the Priesthood (regular written Spirit and Life format)

April 13: NFP: Is this Catholic birth control? (video email)

April 20: Is the world overpopulated? (video email)

April 27: Why should we deny Communion to dissenters on Church doctrine? (video email)

God bless you and thank you for being a faithful member of the Church Militant!