To say that I am humbled and awed by the overwhelming response of the faithful to last Friday night's Hannity interview would be an understatement. To show my gratitude I have celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the literally hundreds of people who wrote emails, sent faxes and made phone calls in support of the Church's teaching, and for the unique opportunity to offer this witness to millions more. At the writing of this column, HLI has received more than 1250 emails and dozens of other communications which have run clearly 90-10 in favor of the Church's teaching - this is just incredible! I was aware that there were good Catholics out there who support the Church, but I didn't realize how many were willing to go to bat for the Truth. This gives me the greatest of hope for the future of the Church!
In light of this hope, I have to say that the "Hannitization" of the Church will not prevail! "Hannitization" is the stance that Mr. Hannity displayed on Friday night in his attitude toward infallible Church teaching. It is the curious fantasy of people who consider themselves devout Catholics in every way yet see no incompatibility between contraception and Communion. In this, he is just an icon of a whole sector of "Catholics" who live out of that template in public and private. Forty years of vigorous internal dissent against clearly-defined teachings on contraception have ceded the battlefield to the default cultural mindset that says contraception is not only morally justified, it is actually "a good thing," as Mr. Hannity has stated.
We know that all chemical contraception actually causes abortions at the embryonic stage, but dissenters are rarely swayed by medical facts. Our recent Popes call the "hannitization" phenomenon moral relativism and condemn it in the starkest possible terms as incompatible with the Faith of our Fathers. Pope Benedict has even used the term "dictatorship" to describe the arrogance with which such people tend to treat all who question their private judgments about objective truths. This whole incredible episode has exposed, in a graphic way, the profound internal crisis of Catholicism in a post-Vatican II world.
The battle is not at all between so-called liberals and conservatives. The poster boy for conservative values has just gone on record admitting that he is - obstinately - in denial of a truth of the Faith that must be believed, as the Catechism says, "with divine and catholic faith" (n. 2089). "Liberal" and "conservative" values must all be held up to scrutiny by the Church because no political ideology has the charism of infallibility. Only Christ's Vicar has that. Rather, the internecine battle within our own Church is between those who believe in objective right and wrong and those who believe that they, individually, are the arbiters of right and wrong.
This issue is not over, friends, because the battle lines are being drawn between the two worldviews and the stakes are high. Those stakes are the hannitized souls of this and the next generation of youth, and they are worth fighting for. For my part I have been deeply gratified to see evidence of the soldiers of the Church Militant who accept objective right and wrong about contraception and are quite fed up with the nonsense of the high profile dissenters who have done so much spiritual damage to souls. We stand together to defend our first love - Christ's Church! After all, it's not just Hannity's soul we are worried about. How many millions are potentially led astray by a man with that kind of platform? Keep in mind, though, that our project is much more than just objecting to dissenters in the media. We are to lead souls to the Truth through the media, or despite it. That is our common mission.
By the way, as Providence would have it, our Holy Father just this week issued a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist which will knock your socks off. Read paragraph 83 to see whether denying a guy like Hannity the Eucharist would be something the Pope would agree with!
Now I need to ask you for a quick favor. Starting today there are nine days before our Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation - that day in history when Our Lord took on embryonic form in the womb of His most holy Mother. Pray with me a novena for the conversion of all those who have bought into the lies of the contraceptive culture - including Mr. Hannity. Then pray that he responds to my second request to meet with him privately. Who knows, we may de-hannitize our whole Church through his conversion.