Exorcist priest exits public spotlight, mystifying many

It was a classic cable-TV shouting match.

After criticizing Fox Television commentator Sean Hannity for being soft on the abortion issue, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer said he would deny Hannity communion because of his views.

“Wow,” said Hannity, a Catholic and former seminary student, rendered temporarily speechless by the rebuke.

That was three years ago. Euteneuer was the president and the very public face of Human Life International, a worldwide anti-abortion organization. Friend and foe alike knew him as blunt-spoken when it came to defending his Church. He was a captivating public speaker, comfortable in the role.

His fierce and highly publicized 1999 campaign against a Fort Pierce abortion clinic became the subject of an HBO documentary, “12th and Delaware.”

He was also an exorcist. HLI, his publisher as well as his employer, was promoting his new book on its website.

But this summer, without warning, Euteneuer, 48, left his HLI post, saying he had been called back to the Palm Beach Diocese by Bishop Gerald Barbarito. His book on exorcism disappeared.

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