Newspaper logo  
 
 
  Should Sean Hannity Be Denied Communion?

SPEAKING OUT:

Should Sean Hannity Be Denied Communion?

by William Hughes

Why should censorious bishops limit themselves to withholding communion to politicians who are pro-choice? Shouldn't they also withhold it from warmongers who minimize the abuses at Abu Ghraib, like Sean Hannity?
June 21, 2004--There is a brouhaha simmering within the American Catholic Church over the issue of whether to give or deny communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. A right-wing cleric, Bishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis, has gone out of his way to publicly target Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA), who is pro-choice on the issue. Burke has boasted, like a medieval clerical tyrant, that he would not give the Massachusetts senator the sacrament--the communion wafer--if Kerry, who is running for president on the Democratic ticket, showed up at a church in his diocese.

Bishop Burke must think he's a soul reader, too, able to look inside Kerry's spiritual life. He must have as-yet an undivulged distant surveillance device that lets him see that the senator isn't in a state of grace which would allow him to take communion.

I wonder: How does Bishop Burke feel about politically reactionary Catholics, such as that raving egomaniac, Sean Hannity, the radio, cable and TV windbag for Fox News? Hannity supports the Iraq War. Should he be denied communion?

Why stop the censuring at elected politicians? Does being a warmonger and a person who minimized the abuses at Abu Ghraib bar Hannity from participating in the sacrament of communion? Does Hannity's lust for US military hegemony around the globe violate any of the Church's fundamental principles? (As of today's date, 839 US military personnel have died in Iraq, over 11,300 Iraqis are dead, and their country totally devastated by the invasion and occupation. It has also cost US taxpayers $118 billion dollars to fund this illegal, unjust and immoral conflict.)

What is Bishop Burke's position on Hannity, who has also written two books hyping the pro-war policies of the Bush-Cheney Gang and espousing a social contract devoid of compassion for the poor? (Check out "Hannity Exposed" for his latest 15 factual distortions, 06/16/04.) Hannity, a Rupert Murdock-lke clone, poses as a "devout Catholic." Naturally, he is, like Bishop Burke, an ardent anti-abortionist.

Incredibly, there is one other Catholic cleric who has even surpassed Bishop Burke both in politicizing the sacrament of communion and in his paternalistic and religious zealotry. His name is Bishop Michael Sheridan. His fiefdom is located in Colorado Springs, CO. He wants to deny communion to Catholics who vote for liberal, pro-choice politicians like Kerry. What school of theology did Sheridan go to? Where does he think he is? In priest-ridden Ireland, in the early 1950s? Doesn't the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which requires separation of Church and State, mean anything to this character?

Let me see if I have this right: It's okay for a Catholic to vote for a right-wing, civil-rights-negating politico like Sen. Richard J. Santorum (R-PA), a Bush-Cheney Gang stooge, since he's anti-abortion. Santorum also voted for the Iraqi War, the draconian USA Patriot Act, and was looking to push a Bill in the Senate that would set up a federal tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel by any professors on college campuses. But, according to Sheridan's myopic standards, this is all irrelevant. If someone is anti-abortion, like Santorum, that's the main thing that counts. Go figure! Of course, what none of these Catholic bishops is spelling out is that George W. Bush is also anti-abortion, along with his V.P., Dick Cheney.

Keep in mind that this is an American Catholic Church that is still reeling from the notorious pedophile/priest scandal, first brought to light of day by a series of shocking articles in the Boston Globe. That affair involved scores of predatory priests abusing thousands of innocent children over decades, often with the implicit consent of the ruling bishops, like the now-disgraced archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law (Spotlight Investigation: Abuse in the Catholic Church).

Langfitt also pointed out in the Baltimore Sun article that the mostly conservative US Conference of Bishops, of which Burke and Sheridan are members, recently voted to approve, by a 183-to-6 vote, the right of a local bishop to "legitimately make different judgments on the prudent course of pastoral action" to take in defending the "sanctity of life and opposing abortion." The Conference warned, however, against any bishop using Catholic teaching as a "political tool." They added, "The polarizing tendency of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political end."

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption in Baltimore
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption in Baltimore—oldest Catholic church in the United States.

At least one highly-respected Church leader, Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, sees the serious mischief, and rank hypocrisy, in the arrogant antics of Burke and Sheridan and their ilk. Without naming names, Keeler is on record as saying, "We don't need bishops to get into the act." Keeler believes that it is up to the individual Catholic to determine whether he or she is in a state of grace with the Church before participating in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Cardinal Keeler's advice on the abortion/communion/politician issue sounds more Christian to me than the politically-related edicts of Burke and Sheridan.

I believe it is also wrong for church leaders, if they are determined to ignore Constitutional restraints, to focus on only one issue to embarrass elected politicians that they don't like. Choosing abortion as the litmus test is a prescription for Catholics to vote for Bush in the November presidential election. It is also insulting to Catholics and sets them up for ridicule and for questions, too, about their patriotism. And where are Burke and Sheridan's concerns for other important matters, like the Iraq War and social justice? If the clerics were against the Iraq War, then they would have had to criticize not only Kerry, who supported it, but also Bush, its prime instigator. Maybe, that is why they have chosen abortion issue as their instrument of attack.

Finally, anything that props up, supports, and gives aid and comfort to Sean Hannity, Richard Santorum and George W. Bush, Jr., has to be bad for humanity. This includes the clerical intriguing emanating from the likes of Bishops Burke and Sheridan.


© William Hughes 2004. William Hughes, a Baltimore attorney, is the author of Saying 'No' to the War Party (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@mindspring.com.


Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on June 21, 2004.
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

12.18 Gov. Cuomo Makes Sense on Fracking

12.18 2014 will be the hottest year on record

12.18 Obama Bars Oil And Gas Development In Alaska's Bristol Bay

12.18 Chemical company executives indicted in West Virginia spill

12.17 Murder in the Rainforest

12.17 Forbidden Topic in Health Policy Debate: Cost Effectiveness

12.16 These Ubiquitous Chemicals May Be Making Us Stupid

12.16 The Sad Fate of Planet Earth: Lima’s COP20 showed World’s Governments not Serious about fighting Climate Change [video]

12.16 Keystone XL pipeline may no longer make economic sense, experts say

12.15 Coal demand set to break 9bn tonne barrier this decade

12.15 Green Continent? Will Solar Power allow Africa to Leapfrog Expensive Grid-Building?

News Media

12.15 The media treats Dick Cheney like the royals on vacation. He should be in jail

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & Culture

12.18 Jeb Bush may be 'the smart brother' – but he's as much of a climate denier as any conservative

12.17 If Elizabeth Warren Says No, What Is Progressives' Backup Plan?

12.16 Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the 'Other America'

12.16 Something snapped for defeated Democrats in bruising budget battle

12.15 'What Are You Willing to Fight For?': Democrats' Depressing New Reality

12.15 Cromnibus Pension Provisions Gut Forty Years of Policy, Allow Existing Pensions to Be Slashed

Justice Matters

12.18 S.C. boy executed for 1944 murder is exonerated

12.17 Los Angeles lawyers stage die-in protest against police – video

12.16 Vulnerable in the Field: Sexual Assault Is Common Among Scientists

High Crimes?

12.18 The Depravity Of Dick Cheney

12.17 The 'Ticking Time-Bomb' Defense of Torture Is Evasive and Irrelevant

12.15 Dick Cheney insists 'rectal feeding' was for medical reasons, not torture in defence of CIA [2:56 video]

12.13 Fox Catches Dick Cheney Lying About Torture

Economics, Crony Capitalism

12.18 Joseph Stiglitz: Economics Must Address Wealth and Income Inequality

12.18 Wealth Gap between America’s Rich and Middle-Class Families Widest on Record [charts]

12.18 Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise

12.17 Russia's Problems Are Everyone's Problems

12.17 Oil Is Dragging Down Prices Faster Than Official Price Index Can Capture

12.15 Did Wall Street Need to Win the Derivatives Budget Fight to Hedge Against Oil Plunge?

12.14 Full Show: Democrats Bow Down to Wall Street [25:25 video & transcript]

12.14 Kochs Seek to Keep Funding Secret Fearing ‘Grotesque’ Campaign

International

12.18 On Cuba, Republicans Trapped By Old Think

12.18 Welcome Back, Cuba!

12.18 As Havana Celebrates Historic Shift, Economic and Political Hopes Rise

12.18 U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility

12.18 Student raises thousands of pounds for homeless man who offered her money

12.18 Good Riddance to a Ridiculous Cuba Policy

12.18 Breakthrough on Cuba Highlights Pope’s Role as Diplomatic Broker

12.17 Wrecking Russia’s economy could be a disaster for the west

12.16 Cheney on Torture: Lying or Ignorant?

12.16 The Global Conflicts to Watch in 2015

12.16 Estimated 15,000 people join ‘pinstriped Nazis’ on march in Dresden [1,200 comments]

12.16 More than 120 people killed in Pakistan Taliban school siege, says official - live updates [video]

12.15 The Humane Interrogation Technique That Works Much Better Than Torture

12.15 Herzog's Moment? Can the Israeli Left Regain Power?

12.15 Senate Report Condemns Government Torture Abroad

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web


Public Service Ads: