Newspaper logo  
  Should Sean Hannity Be Denied Communion?


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

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

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

11.25 Experts discuss how to build a carbon-free energy industry

11.25 Somaliland stricken by drought: 'We need what all humans need'

11.25 What can the world learn from Växjö, Europe's self-styled greenest city?

11.24 Weather disasters occurred almost daily over last decade, UN says

11.24 Most of Britain's major cities pledge to run on green energy by 2050

11.23 The Gene Hackers

11.23 Wind from Britain, solar from the Sahara, geothermal from Iceland

11.23 Alberta to introduce carbon tax

11.23 First EPA chief accuses Republicans of ignoring science for political gain

11.23 Climate change and the Republican party: 'America is not a planet'

11.23 World trade has an important role in combating climate change

11.23 The Guardian view on antibiotic resistance: a clear and present danger

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.25 Why white people aren’t called “terrorist”: The media accepts that “people who resort to violence are left-wing or Arab or both” [fighting to change a racist culture head-on]

11.24 Five people shot at Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis: Police

11.24 8,855 Murders by Firearm in US in 2012 vs. 30 (Equiv. 164) in UK [graphics, video]

11.24 Part 4: A reservation town fighting alcoholism, obesity and ghosts from the past

11.24 Donald Trump doesn't care what's true, just what his base feels is true

11.24 Republicans think being pro-family means forcing women to have babies

11.23 This is why we’re so f*cked: Our politics are only going to get worse

11.23 5 worst right-wing moments of the week — The Donald goes full fascist

11.23 Louisiana Just Voted to Give a Quarter of a Million People Health Care

11.23 Shooting in New Orleans park leaves at least 16 people wounded [normal, move along folks...]

Justice Matters

11.22 West Virginia mine explosion trial showcases challenge of jailing a CEO

High Crimes?

11.24 Saudi Arabia: Poet Sentenced to Death for Apostasy [Saudi Arabia: an ISIS-like Islamic theocracy...]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.25 Fossil fuel companies risk wasting $2tn of investors' money, study says

11.23 Pfizer and Allergan poised to announce history's biggest healthcare merger

11.22 Hang Onto Your Wallets: Negative Interest, the War on Cash, and the $10 Trillion Bail-in


11.25 Who owns our cities – and why this urban takeover should concern us all

11.25 Angela Merkel stands by refugee policy despite security fears

11.25 Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution [fighting to change a barbaric Islamist culture head-on]

11.25 Manuel Valls: the French PM taking a hard line against terror

11.24 Muslims are integrated in France, but the bad guys want a clash of civilizations

11.24 Turkish military official says fighter jets destroyed plane after it violated country’s airspace, which Russia denies

11.24 Government ‘must do more to help vulnerable households this winter’

11.23 Beijing Replaced This Huge Bridge in Only 43 Hours

11.23 Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam still on run after Belgian police raids [1:35 video]

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
This site Web

Public Service Ads: