Fr. Jonathan Morris, LC, to Sean Hannity

Fr. Jonathan Morris, LC, has written an open letter to Sean Hannity, apologizing for the conduct of Fr. Tom Euteneuer.

My colleague in religion (whom I’ve never met) used the public airways and Internet to call you a heretic and hypocrite. Because he chose to do this in a public forum, I want you and your viewers to know, publicly, that as an analyst of this television network, I believe this good priest, who does great work, exercised, on this occasion, shockingly poor judgment. I consider his willingness to give his personal opinion about your status within the Church inappropriate and ill-considered, to say the least.

Regardless of the issue and arguments at hand, brandishing law without palpable love almost always repels. I must assume he just made an honest mistake.

Tom Euteneuer hits back.

13 thoughts on “Fr. Jonathan Morris, LC, to Sean Hannity

  1. Seems to me that prominent Catholics, who present moral opinions to a wide public audience, deserve more public correction than they routinely get. The result is that teaching opportunities which get people’s attention are missed, and the impression that multiplicity of doctrines and moral stances, even those which are in direct opposition to one another, are all part of accepted Catholic belief.

    Whether Euteneuer is the right voice to call Sean Hannity to accountability may be debatable, but for myself I must say that his letter to his fellow priest made a lot of sense and stated a number of points which our Church leaders need to take to heart.

  2. Fr. Eeteneur did want to speak to Sean Hannity in private but was refused. Instead he was put on the show.

    I don’t doubt Fr. Eteneur’s tact at all.

  3. Euteneuer’s performance is appalling. He came out swinging, calling Hannity a heretic before Hannity even entered the conversation. When asked, “Do you know me? Do you know anything about me?” Euteneuer flippantly dismissed the question as irrelevant.

    Fr. Jonathan–who, as a Legionary, is a very conservative Catholic–has it right. We’re called to speak the truth, but with love. That’s central to the Legionary charism.

  4. We don’t need to be best buds with Sean to recognize that he’s a “public” Catholic who has publicly dissented from a Church teaching which may not be next to the Trinity and Incarnation on the hierarchy of truths, but which is certainly an important one for our culture today. Whether or not Sean spent any time in seminary or studied Latin is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand: his rejection of a doctrine which is important in our day and age.

    I also found it humorous that Sean Hannity of all people posed the ubiquitous “Judge not” to Fr. E… as he should know, given the Catholic credentials he cited, Fr. E. was calling him to task for a public stance he’d taken, which is completely different from judging the state of Sean’s soul.

    While I don’t think dissent from the Church’s teaching on contraception technically qualifies as dissent, referring to Sean’s error is not uncalled for.

    Finally, I do think it’s relevant that Fr. E *did* try to contact Sean in the past, but to no avail. Could he have taken another tack? Of course. But was he uncharitable? I don’t think so. Being charitable doesn’t preclude speaking harsh words, as we know.

  5. Do you agree it is “heresy”? That’s how E. begins his attack, by assailing Hannity with the label of “heresy.”

  6. Woops… meant to say that dissent from Church teaching on contraception doesn’t technically qualify as heresy. So, I do agree that Fr. E was incorrect to begin that way. If he had referred to Sean as a dissenter instead of as a heretic, would his remarks have bothered you, Bill?

  7. I have no way of knowing that… considering that he’s the president of an organization not exactly known for pulling any punches, I think it’s more likely that he was calling it like he saw it, granting that he was technically incorrect. I can see disagreeing with his approach, but I don’t think it’s possible to say that he was performing… that might simply be his approach all the time, camera or not.

    What about the content of his remarks? Again granting his error regarding the level of teaching rejected, do you disagree with just his approach, or with his content as well?

  8. I think he crossed a moral line. This is not how you persuade people of truth. He was bullying and condescending–the epitome of clericalism. There’s more of this on his blog. Hannity simply expressed the views of most lay Catholics. He’s not unusual. Fr. E. should have realized in addressing Hannity in this way, he was speaking to every non-persuaded lay Catholic. It is the Church’s role to teach, to persuade, not to bully. Fr. Jonathan gets it.

  9. I should explain my qualifier: with Sean’s views fairly well-known in the public forum, I wish Fr. Jonathan had written a column on the Church’s teaching on contraception which has the unpersuaded layman (like Sean) in mind some time ago. He’s alluded to that being a good topic for the future… no time like the present.

    But I do believe that honey attracts more flies than does vinegar.

  10. Messrs. Cork and Burgwald:

    I’d like to reflect on the sin of scandal. Additionally, the difference between public and private morality. Voluntarily, Mr. Hannity is outspoken in his views regarding his belief that a certain sin is not a sin. A “serious and grave” matter according to Humanae Vitae.

    While I agree that “honey attracts more flies than does vinegar”, I also believe that it’s fairly unjust and possible immoral to transfer a pedophile to another parish/school/etc hoping that “encouragement” will bode better than “punishment.”

    Mr. Hannity and Fr. Jonathan both had a choice: humility in their embracing of Church teaching, or not. To NOT redress Mr. Hannity is tantamount to a tacit endorsement of his views. Ask Hans Kuhn what Benedict XVI would do.

    Should Jesus Christ have used “honey” instead of “vinegar” when casting out the moneychangers from the temple? Maybe some people here enjoyed “The Last Temptation of Christ” more than I did.

    All the best,
    J

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