Fulton Sheen: From Venerable To Limbo

derailed trainSomewhere between New York and Peoria, a train to sainthood has derailed. Central Illinois blames the Big Apple.

There was high optimism:

There was every indication that a possible date for beatification in Peoria would have been scheduled for as early as the coming year.

Rome backed Peoria:

The Holy See expected that the remains of Venerable Sheen would be moved to Peoria where official inspection would be made and first class relics be taken.

The finger points:

Subsequently, the Archdiocese of New York denied Bishop Jenky’s request to move the body to Peoria.

Take the toys and go home:

After further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be relegated to the Congregation’s historic archive.

But a certain jovial cardinal had promised …

Bishop Jenky was personally assured on several occasions by the Archdiocese of New York that the transfer of the body would take place at the appropriate time. New York’s change of mind took place as the work on behalf of the Cause had reached a significant stage.

A sobering reminder there will be no jubilation in 2015:

Efforts for many causes have sometimes taken decades or even centuries.

Conclusion and promise:

No further comment will be released at this time.

Bishop SheenWhat the heck do you make of this? Fulton Sheen was born in Peoria in 1895. He was ordained a priest for that diocese. He taught at Catholic University and served as a parish priest. He was made auxiliary bishop in New York  in 1951. Radio and television personality for nearly four decades: you all know that. He served my hometown diocese as ordinary for three years in 1966-1969.

His feud with his archbishop, Cardinal Francis Spellman, is the stuff of legend.

My work study position in grad school involved the archives of his materials–press clippings, talks, and such. I learned of his opposition to the Vietnam War in 1967–think about that. A bishop whom we all knew had no love for Communism: it was like an ecclesiastical Nixon to China move. It did not play well in buttoned-down Rochester. Neither did his efforts to improve race relations.

Is the man a saint? Should he be?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Politics, Saints. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fulton Sheen: From Venerable To Limbo

  1. Liam says:

    One can hope that members of the press will attend, with curious minds and tablets, the opening of the Abp Sheen Center of Culture by Cardinal Dolan in mid-September, jovially announced this past June by the cardinal on his blog:


  2. Jim McCrea says:

    Will the Abp Sheen Center of Culture be allowed to march alongside the ONE LGBT group in next March’s St. Drinker’s Day Parade?

  3. John McGrath says:

    Saint or no saint Bishop Sheen was a far superior voice for the dignity of the intellect and for Christianity than so many of the surly “Christian” and “Catholic” commentators of today. He and Fr. Peyton were clearly motivated by a deep charity and the lovingkindness of God for humanity. It is hard to discern that spirit in the US hierarchy of today, nor in the many self-appointed Catholic “defenders.”

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