...before we clergy members speak out publicly against public offenses, as sometimes we must do, we should ask ourselves and God why we are doing what we are doing, and what the best way to do it is, according to the circumstances, and always with palpable love. The question is not only if what we have to say is correct, but where, when, and how we should say it. I, for one, would have communicated my beliefs in a different way on more than one occasion if I had followed this advice.Fr Euteneuer responds thus:
Dear Father Jonathan,After almost 3 years of attempting to "educate' Hannity with the teachings of the Church (which one must accept to be a faithful Catholic), is it not time for those Catholics in the public square to be held to account for their dissenting and heretical views? If more bishops and priests practiced the spiritual works of mercy and expressed concern for the souls of those in jeopardy instead of being obsessed with human respect, we would not now be seeing this stuff.
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. [See “Fr. Euteneuer asks to meet with Hannity about birth control” on sidebar.] You also seemed to be unaware of the fact that Sean was the one who invited me on his program and who then promptly “[threw] civility to the wind,” refused to display “cultivated intelligence” on the issues and jeopardized another person’s “reputation and dignity.” May I also point out 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. I do not intend to understand your motives; I can only evaluate what I see in your actions.
The question that comes to mind is an obvious one: if you are a Fox analyst on Catholic matters, wouldn’t you have been the one to have had those “private conversations” on birth control with Mr. Hannity? How about discussions on his abortion exceptions? When you told Sean “in person” that you “disagreed with him,” was it on the issue of birth control? If you had done that, I applaud you, but your powers of persuasion may need a little honing—Sean has only gotten more vocal on this issue over time. If you did not speak to him about his public dissent, then I ask you, “Why?” While we are on the subject, have you also analyzed and disagreed with Bill O’Reilly’s perfectly horrible disdain for the Holy Father and the Church that you represent?
The church sex abuse scandal was not just about homosexual and predatory priests. It was about clerical negligence and silence on issues that not only affect people’s souls but also ruin people’s lives. It is highly unusual that you or anyone else would want a priest to be silent on issues that affect the salvation of souls. We used to recognize “admonishing the sinner” as one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, and I consider my admonishment of Mr. Hannity to have been done in that spirit. I might also add that in doing so I have fulfilled my duty as a priest which is a requirement for my salvation.
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. I would advise you to drink deeply of the wisdom of the Number Two man at our Headquarters who has in no uncertain terms told all of us that high profile dissenters are a scourge and a danger to souls. [See item: “Bertone: Dissident Catholics More Worrying Than Atheists.” http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/jan/07011003.html.]
I wish you fraternal blessings for your priestly work.
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
Human Life International
If you're keeping score with an eye on the Truth, I see it as:
Fr Euteneuer, 2
Fr Morris, 0