Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Catholics in the Public Square

On Youtube there's a video clip of Fox News' Sean Hannity "talking" (more like, hurling a tirade) to Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer ("Fr E" in short). It was interesting to see how a "public" figure Catholic got himself rebuked by a priest in public. Some would say that a TV talk show is not the place to correct the errant sheep.

Apparently, Fr E had attempted to do just that (private fraternal correction), without success. This last bit of outburst was provoked by Sean Hannity's latest show where he 'apologized' in public for taking a few bites of chicken sandwich on Friday. Fr E wrote that not only his definition for sin was incorrect, he was displaying a superficial faith in the public about Friday meat abstinence when he is a publicly professing supporter of birth control and abortion for some cases.

Colmes: Let me ask you this, well known people like Sean who are Catholic and in the public eye… Should they be using their platform, necessarily, to preach the tenets of Catholicism when they are in the media. Is that something that one is obliged to do?

Fr. Euteneuer: No. One is not obliged to do that at all. One is simply obliged not to be a heretic in public. That’s the point. If he 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.


Fr. Euteneuer: Sean I’m just asking you for basic honesty. If you are a member of this Church you profess what the Church believes, if you don’t believe it don’t say anything about it in the public forum and scandalize people, that’s all.
(From Domus Dei)

The show is reduced to a hysteric match very soon after Hannity refused to remain civil and started saying how Fr E ought to take care of the sex abuse scandal instead of taking 'cheap shots' at public figures. It ended with Hannity asking if he'd be denied Communion if he goes to mass and Fr E answering in the affirmative! ("I would!")

I met Fr E some four years ago on his trip to Singapore; a very impassioned, pro-life priest who knows what he's teaching. I think he held himself very well in that short interview; he was uncompromising in his proclamation of Truth (see the bit on "[rolling] up their sleeves and defend the Church in private and in public"), and unflinching in his defence for the unborn.

Go listen to it yourself and pray for all the other Catholics who are in public square, and in particular, in the media business.

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