I was watching Hannity & Colmes on the Fox News Channel last Friday night. The guest was Father Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International. Apparently he took Sean Hannity to task for statements Hannity made about certain teachings and/or practices of the Church. Now, one of the characteristics of these talking head smackdowns on cable news channels, is the use of style over substance. If you can't ask a thoughtful question or wait one microsecond for a thoughtful answer, you bludgeon your opponent with a string of dumb-ass questions for which you have no expectation of an answer. Concerning matters of religion in public life, the more cliché-ridden, the better. These are not stupid people, merely self-absorbed. They know why people watch, they know what people want.
Some talking heads have gotten tired of it all. I'm guessing (although I can't be sure) that it's one reason you don't see Pat Buchanan, Jack Germond, or Robert Novak on these types of shows as much as you used to. (Yes, I realize Novak walked off CNN. Who can blame him?)
A partial transcript of the interview (if you can call it that) appears at The Cafeteria Is Closed. Despite wanting for straight answers, it ended with some:
Hannity: What are you doing? I haven’t read an article about that. Have you ever written an article about that instead of taking cheap shots at people that are publicly Catholic?
Fr Euteneuer: Yeah, go to my web site: Hli.org and you’ll see a lot of criticism of these issues. I’m criticizing you because you’re not consistent. You’re professing to be a Catholic and you are not.
Hannity: And I’m criticizing you. Are you perfect Father? Are you perfect in every way? Have you not sinned? “Ye who is without sin cast the first stone”, I think I read that some where.
Colmes: You guys need a Jew to break this up. But let me ask you this: Would Hannity be welcome at your Church? Would Hannity be welcome at your Church, Father?
Fr Euteneuer: Well, if renounced his belief in birth control and stop professing it publicly.
Hannity: Wait, would you deny me communion?
Fr Euteneuer: I would.
Hannity: Wow, wow.
Personally, I believe Father Euteneuer held up well under the circumstances. In the long run, I don't believe he has the belly for this kind of thing. We all have our gifts, and he should probably be grateful this isn't his. I'd send in a genuine pit bull like Father Peter Stravinskas, someone who could bite the guy's head off, and still come back for seconds.
Now THAT'S what I call entertainment!