Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hannity Hannitized

I do not have FoxTel, so I go to Fox News online. I do not know much of Mr. Sean Hannity of Hannity and Colmes. Apparently he is Conservative in his politics and a practising RC Christian and is an advocate for birth control methods. He was criticized and taken to task by Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer of HLI

The RCC says that Birth Control is sin but according to Hannity this is much better for non-RCs than abortion. Looks like he is advocating two rules for humanity which the RCC is saying not so, for if RCC considers Birth Control a sin, it means it is a sin whoever commits it. When Hannity asked the reverened Fr. Euteneuer if he would be served communion in Fr. Euteneur's church, the good Father said - NO! Hannity should at least be a good RC and believe, teach and confess what his church teaches and not run as a public heretic (Fr. Euteneuer's words, apparently one can be private heretic in the RCC which can also happen in Protestant Churches). The good Father is right in denying him Communion but I think too that Hannity thinks that the RCC is wrong in condemning Birth Control.

However, in this development, there was a Fr. Morris who spoke in favor of Mr. Hannity found in HLI web site, or at least disagrees with Fr. Euteneuer's method of correction here

I note though the reply of Fr. Euteneuer giving the reasons why he engaged Hannity in public correction. I was glued to the end of one of the paragraphs, where Fr. Euteneur said...

I might also add that in doing so I have fulfilled my duty as a priest which is a requirement for my salvation.

Those were his italics, not mine.


Jeff Tan said...

Good point, Lito. You are on the ball here, and you think you've found a case of "justification by works alone," but note Matthew 18:

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

That is followed by warnings about eternal fire for those who persist in sin and refuse to cast away that part of them which causes them to sin.

I think this falls under *negative* consequences of mortal sin which we commit: for while our salvation is by grace, a grave and deliberate sinful act is a rejection of that grace.

But why should this bother you: do you believe once-saved-always-saved?

L P Cruz said...


No I do not believe in once-saved-always-saved doctrine. I believe there are warnings of abandoning or throwing away the work of Christ on our behalf. But apostasy as I understand it is in Hebrews 6:4-6, ie going back and trying to claim righteousness before God by the works of the Law. This is always a temptation hence, unbelief - Mk 16:16.

I think Fr. Euteneur was doing Hannity a service by correcting him...but his comment I just quoted makes me wonder if he was doing himself a service too (or first?)

All sins from my understanding are mortal as I think Jesus taught - for example he says to the Pharisees "to look at a woman to lust after her" is already tantamount to adultery so we sin in our thoughts, in our words and in or actions too.

Would you agree to this characterization of sin? For example we do not love God and neighbor constantly so we are sinning mortally everyday.

Jeff Tan said...

I think the Catholic theology on mortal and venial sin is more .. rigidly organized. To constantly ask the question "is this mortally sinful or is it venially sinful only?" is not really the right attitude to sinfulness, but some people do fall into that. I have been known to drive myself crazy with scrupulosity, particularly when I was still in college.

BTW Cardinal O'Connor gives a good homily on that.

For me, scrupulosity loses out with love and trust: God's love and my trust in God's love more than any fear of God's judgment. It took a while for me to get here though, and scrupulosity can still rear its ugly head from time to time...

But as to sinning mortally everyday.. let's just say that we would disappoint God daily if not for His grace which, from time to time, manages to spur us into love. When we are called to regular confession, Catholics are urged to consider two things: God's love and our contrition. Love is superior to fear, but fear is not without its place. The fear of the Lord is of wisdom. Love of the Lord is at the end. Fear brings about imperfect contrition. Love spurs us into perfect contrition, with the right motive being that we would want more than anything to please the Lord because we love him.

Now for those who would worry about mortal and venial sins.. I guess at a tender age with an immature level of faith, one would go through that stage when the Law is a set of rules; before one moves into the Law being a life of freedom written in our hearts. For those, I guess it is important to reassure them that, so and so are not serious acts of unrighteousness and so should not elicit an exaggerated dread of having lost Heaven, something which can harm one's faith -- the notion of God picking you apart for every transgression, the minor as much as the major. At the same time, it is important to be able to bluntly (sometimes necessary) point out to those with calloused consciences that so and so are serious sins which cry to Heaven for justice and must be dealt with appropriately. To do otherwise would also be harmful to the faith -- the notion that God does not care for the oppressed, does not expect justice in our actions.

There will always be people for whom the difference between mortal and venial, serious and minor trespasses, are relevant. To fail to distinguish them could be harmful to such people as they are still growing in their faith and righteousness.

L P Cruz said...


Thanks for the comment.

I am indeed happy for you that you are no longer scroupolous as before.

Although I am always accused by the Law of God of my sin -- yet I am always comforted by the Gospel that for Christ sake, those sins have been borne by Christ on his body - he took the blows for me. By his stripes I am healed.

It seems though that we hear the Law differently, for us when we hear the Law it only tells us what we have not done or capable of doing. Hence, It kills us.

For us the good news is not "you can do it", but rather the good news is "He has done it, and done it well".

The Lutheran view of Christian life is a cycle or spiral, not an inclined staight line.

We go from hearing our guilt, we continue to hear grace that answers that guilt and these two produce gratitude from the heart. Then, back again, guilt, grace, gratitude.

Steve said...

What I find interest is the Sean used the "just not" misquote of Jesus. It's amazoning how much this is used by theological liberals (including many politcaly and socially conservative evanglical Christians).

Even Jesus didn't meet this definiton of Jesus' words since Jesus was extremely judgemental. The real issue isn't wheather we are judgemental, it's the basis on which we judge. All people are judgemental.

L P Cruz said...


Yes Hannity seems to have no qualms judging others until the spot life gets pointed to him.

I found what the good Father gave as his reasons for checking Hannity interesting as well.

J. K. Jones said...

Good show L. P.

It has always bothered me that some consider certain types of sins to be non-willful. I’ve never understood how I can make any kind of choice without my will (heart, inclinations, desires) being involved. It would seem to me that if my will was not involved in my action, if it was not a willful choice, that it would not be a moral action and would not be sin at all.

It might interest you to know that from the old-fashioned Southern Baptist perspective, we would agree that someone who went back to a works-righteousness would not be saved. It’s just that we would say he was never saved / regenerated to begin with. His actions just witnessed to the true state of his heart.

Keep the faith.

J. K.

L P Cruz said...

Spot on, J.K!

Sin is always willful, in fact we sometimes do not understand it but our mind simply gets into it even without acting it out.

Now to the RC and some Evangelicals, a wrong thought is not sin until it has been acted out.

On apostasy, I think I know what you are saying from the Calvinistic view because I was a bit Calvinistic too and before.

I am aware that many Baptist people are going back to their confessions like the London Baptist Confession, this is a good thing because these confessions anchor one into a stable position one can grow from.

Peace be with you.


Steve said...

I disagree that sin is "willfill". If sin is "willfull" then if we have the "correct will" we will not sin. This logic implies that we are sin due of the fact that we sin.

Scripture declares that we are sinful by nature. Our entire being is corrupted by sin.

I sin because I am I a sinner.

L P Cruz said...


I absolutely agree that we sin because we are sinners - that is what we are at the heart. In fact in our Liturgy during confession/absolution we even speak of sins we do not understand ourselves, ie why we are thinking of them, or even saying them or acting them out. We can not even comprehend.

The RC speaks of willful sinning, and as such it implies there is a sin that is not willful. I think we will have a problem with that of course.

From what I understand of our teaching is that free will is rejected towards one's conversion to God, it is dead towards God. It does not deny that man does good things - like a father loving his child but such will is useless to move towards God - it only wills to self righteousness.

Our confession says this in FC II Free Will and we reject...

8] 1. The delirium [insane dogma] of philosophers who are called Stoics, as also of the Manicheans, who taught that everything that happens must so happen, and cannot happen otherwise, and that everything that man does, even in outward things, he does by compulsion, and that he is coerced to evil works and deeds, as inchastity, robbery, murder, theft, and the like.

I think this means "que sera sera" - "whatever will be will be" is not accepted neither is accepted that when we rob others - there was a compulsion to do so and we should not be blamed for it - Christian or not.

I think there should be care in the language used, I hope I have done that.

Jeff Tan said...

"Now to the RC and some Evangelicals, a wrong thought is not sin until it has been acted out."

Not true, Lito. Catholics are taught that we can sin with our thoughts, e.g., thoughts of hatred, covetousness, lust, etc.

Steve, willful sin, from my Catholic perspective, does not come from a static will, but the decision at a specific instance to commit sin. So, to us, it does not imply having a "correct will" that will keep us from committing sin, but rather implies a decision to either commit sin deliberately or reject the option to commit sin -- at a specific instance. We each have a sinful nature which constantly influences us from one decision to another. Yes, we do sin because we are sinners.

"The RC speaks of willful sinning, and as such it implies there is a sin that is not willful."

I think the Catholic notion of non-willful sinning (that's a clumsy phrase, I'm sorry, but seems appropriate here) has to do with sins of ignorance: not having full knowledge of why something is sinful, or not knowing at all that something done was sinful. But objectively, those acts remain sinful. They actually seem to jive with what you said, Lito:

"In fact in our Liturgy during confession/absolution we even speak of sins we do not understand ourselves"