More about Sean Hannity on Mormons as Christians

I had heard that Sean Hannity of Fox News, whom over the years I have listened to and liked, had said that Mormons are Christians.  I wasn’t sure about the veracity of the report.  I requested from you readers some links to transcripts whereby I could verify that claim.  You sent links.  It is verified.

Sean Hannity did in fact say that Mormons are Christians.  Here is a link to the transcript

The transcript is on the site of Real Clear Politics.  It is not found on the site of Fox News.  The quote we are interested in is about 3/4 of the way down, in a discussion with Dick Morris about Mitt Romney. Biretta tip to "WL" who sent the link.  o{]:¬)

HANNITY: Latter Day Saints of Christ. It’s a Christian church, too. 

Some might think this comment is just a throw away line.  Perhaps it is.  However, it reveals confusion about what Mormons believe and what Catholics believe.   

Why is this important? 

With due respect, Mr. Hannity has lately demonstrated on air some confusion about matters of the Catholic faith he publicly professes. 

You will remember that he recently had an ugly run in with Fr. Euteneuer of HLI.  Mr. Hannity publicly rejected one of the Catholic Church’s teachings. 

Now Mr. Hannity has made an incorrect statement about Mormons being Christians.  Mormons are not Christians in that they do not believe in the Christian Trinity, which is a sine qua non for the Christian Faith, and they do not have valid baptism.  Mormons use the same terms as Christians, but in a way that is quite misleading.  They believe very different things by those terms than Christians believe.  This is in no way a criticism of sincere Mormons.  However, let us be clear about what we believe without confusing anyone.  To leave these necessary distinctions in silence would be negligence.

Why this attention on Mr. Hannity?

Public figures who say they are Catholic have an even greater responsibility than others to speak and act in ways consistent with the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church lest they create public scandal. 

The Holy Father’s Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis 82 addresses the obligations of Catholic politicians.  However, the same paragraph would apply equally to Catholic journalists.  Here is the paragraph:

Eucharistic consistency

83. Here it is important to consider what the Synod Fathers described as eucharistic consistency, a quality which our lives are objectively called to embody. Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them.

While the paragraph specifically addresses the situation of politicians and bishops, it can also include priests, the close collaborators of bishops, and also journalists who "by virtue of their social … position" exercise great influence on  opinion and action.

For a public figure who is Catholic to receive Holy Communion properly his words and actions ought to be consistent with the Catholic doctrine he professes.   When a public figure who is openly Catholic shows that his opinions or actions are not consistent with Catholic teaching, the Church’s pastors have the obligation to help the errant Catholic back to the fold, that is, back to "Eucharistic consistency", both for his own sake and for the sake of others whom that errant Catholic might influence in a negative way.

My prayer is that Mr. Hannity will pay attention to the Holy Father’s instruction.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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8 Responses to More about Sean Hannity on Mormons as Christians

  1. John says:

    I am sorry for the mess Hannity got himself into. This episode or one like it was going to happen sooner or later. If anything, this is warning to all who would accept superficial people as comrades in arm in the culture wars. Hannity is not an asset for conservatives and certaily no friend of the Pope or any Catholic serious about the faith.

  2. John: Thanks for the comment. I don’t want this to descend into name calling. Mr. Hannity deserves respect, whatever the errors are he has made. We have all made errors, both by design and by accident. As a public figure, Mr. Hannity has an important role to play. I would rather see him make adjustments and be more effective in his leadership position. Let’s keep the ad hominem‘s out of the discussion.

  3. Stu says:

    Is not this just the very public face on challenges we face in the Church today? I believe Mr. Hannity is not unlike many Catholics who, sadly, are ignorant of their faith. Pray for him. Perhaps the recent events will spark something.

  4. Thought I would point out that one of Rocco Palmo’s recent posts on the
    installation of Salt Lake City’s new Bishop, included Mr. Palmo referring to
    Mormon’s as a “venerable Christian tradition.” It has since been changed to
    “another religious tradition known for its zeal and works of education
    and charity.” Apparently somebody brought his error to his attention.

  5. Augustine says:

    Hannity fans should watch this video in which Hannity bashes the Human Life International president, a priest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usTWwSbpWRc&eurl=

  6. danphunter1 says:

    Dear Father,
    Can you please send all of your above comments to Mr Hannity?at, hannity@foxnews.com
    He might not know that he is misinforned,and you can set him straight.
    God bless you

  7. hammerbrecher says:

    Looks like Rocco agrees. Here is what he orginally wrote. He calls Mormons a “venerable Christian tradition.” after the second picture half way through the larger paragraph.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1802515/posts

  8. Paul Murnane says:

    [i]Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them…….my prayer is that Mr. Hannity will pay attention to the Holy Father’s instruction.[/i]

    I also pray that our bishops pay attention to the Holy Father’s instruction as well. Their silence is deafening.