Diocese of Peoria announces postponement of Fulton Sheen's beatification

pray indeed

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An interesting, but prudent development, I think.
I am from the Diocese of Rochester, and while not a hugh fan of our current Bishop, I will say I do believe he is just erring on the side of caution.


I’m just glad something has been said so people can stop speculating on Archbishop Sheen’s personal life.


I know. People have been up in arms with their speculation about who asked for the delay and why etc etc etc.
Emotional reasoning at it’s worse

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I agree. And I’m glad they stated the official reason behind the delay. It sounds like those on his cause who investigated his time as bishop are confident that his actions as a bishop were prudent. But it also makes sense to wait for the NY investigation to finish just in case there’s any issues they have to address.


I AM a huge fan of your bishop (who was once my bishop before you very lucky people got him) and I also think, considering what he has had to deal with in coming in to various dioceses (not just yours) to clean up appalling things from decades past, and knowing how much shoop is out there already, how easily the media twists things, knowing that misinformation will become ‘gospel true’ for generations while the retractions will be buried permanently or dismissed as ‘whitewashing’, even though it seems yet another ‘Catholic misstep’, I agree that he is just trying to be certain that Bishop Sheen’s case will be treated with scrupulous accuracy and fairness all around.


I don’t mean to impugn the name of Fulton sheen, but what makes him a saint? He was a good preacher but that doesn’t make a saint. We have had good preachers who have turned out to be charlatans. Can someone give some information to explain. When I think of a modern saint I think of Mother Theresa. It seems like sainthood has become about likability.

Fulton Sheen wasn’t just some preacher. He led thousands to God through his books, his TV and radio programs, his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament (he constantly promoted Adoration), and he also raised huge amounts of money for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Cardinal Spellman tried to get a cut of the money he raised for the missions and Archbishop Sheen refused. Cardinal Spellman took the dispute all the way to the Vatican and the Pope sided with Archbishop Sheen. Cardinal Spellman was so mad he had Sheen’s popular TV show pulled off the air and sent him to be bishop of Rochester, where many in his diocese disliked him because he did things like promote racial integration and tried to give Church property away to the poor. Between that and him not really having the background to run a diocese, he suffered a lot. He never complained and never said anything bad about Cardinal Spellman, who if you read bios of him isn’t likely to be put up for sainthood any time soon (or ever).

Archbishop Sheen is not on the path to sainthood because he was “likable”. Not everybody even liked him. He is on the path to sainthood because he was very holy. We also have many, many, many past saints who became saints through being great preachers, devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and raising money for the poor, all of which Archbishop Sheen did. Not every saint needs to be working hands-on with poor people like Mother Teresa, you can be a saint many different ways.

I hope you’re not going to have the same complaints when Fr. Patrick Peyton and Mother Angelica come up for beatification.


To flip the question: what exactly about Sheen do you think would not make him worthy of canonization? And why would his gift of preaching automatically make him suspect to being a charlatan?

Yes, Sheen was a great preacher, but there’s much more than that. He tirelessly did mission work, and was instrumental in evangelizing efforts. He had a love for the poor, and worked for social justice. He was also a man of great prayer and holiness- many attested to that fact in his own lifetime. If you read some of his books, you can definitely get a sense of his holiness. He took on great crosses in his life with humility. His great love for God, along with his life of heroic virtue attest to his saintliness. There’s much, much more to Fulton Sheen than his TV show.

There’s not one kind of saint: while the Mother Theresas working in the slums of Calcutta are great, there are also saints who were great preachers, teachers, mystics, martyrs, and some who just lived very ordinary lives of holiness.


I like listening to the many recordings of Fulton Sheen posted here. They are certainly thought provoking.

Perhaps in most cases this process of beatification and canonization should in fact take time. For example, it took Peter Faber SJ centuries to become a saint.

If it is truly meant to be in the case of Bishop Sheen, his supporters can wait a few years. Today we should be erring on the side of caution.

If that is indisputable, then that is where he should be buried.

Unless there is a definitive guideline to the contrary in regards to Sainthood.

Please keep in mind that they already have “waited a few years” having a lengthy court fight between two dioceses over his body, when the Holy See was ready to proceed with beatification.

Assuming that the attorneys don’t find anything untoward on him, this is unlikely to take “a few years” to resolve; for one thing, the legal process will probably result in the investigative report on Rochester being done within a few months, not “a few years”.

Also, as others have mentioned, Sheen’s close living relative (niece Joan) who has been assisting with his process and representing his family in the court battle on the side of Peoria is in her 90s and I’m sure there is some interest in getting him beatified before she dies, so she can see her uncle honored.


It’s not indisputable, as the argument was already made in the court case that Sheen was not expecting to be beatified when he was making his plans to be buried in New York, and the court sided with Peoria.


And his original will stated that he wanted to be buried in Calvary Cemetary, not St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is where he ended up.

I didn’t say he was suspect. I simply said a great preacher doesn’t equal a saint. There have been great preachers who were charlatans.

Is sainthood now the default? We have to come up with reasons not to declare someone a saint?

Presumably there are many people in heaven, and most of them aren’t declared saints of the church. So it stands to reason that sainthood isn’t the default but is reserved for those who are particularly extraordinary.

Fulton Sheen may be extraordinary and it may be justified declaring him a saint. I don’t know: that is why I asked for an explanation. I know him as a tv personality and a preacher.

To be a saint you need approved Miracles for it. Archbishop Sheen has approved miracles here is one.


The reason it takes years for a person to be beatified is that it is a very rigorous and thorough process.

It’s not just the case where a person says, 'Oh, hey, that priest was a pretty popular and affable fellow. Let’s write a three paragraph letter to the pope requesting his beatification."

Sheen—as is the case with anyone whose cause for beatification/canonization has been opened—has already had his life put under a microscope. Priests and theologians have spent years pouring over everything Sheen ever said or wrote. They conduct interviews of people who knew him. They investigate every aspect of his life that they possibly can.

Ultimately, all this info gets collated into a book that makes the phone book look like an informational pamphlet. And that book gets sent to Rome where the Congregation for the Causes of Saints again reviews everything exhaustively.

In addition to all this, there is the requisite miracle, which is analyzed and investigated by secular medical professionals as well as theologians.

So, no, Sheen’s beatification is not just about him being a popular television personality from the 1950s. Many trained clergy and theologians have put many, many hours into reviewing his life and they all came to the conclusion that he was a holy man who practiced virtue heroically.


Yeah, some friend of his apparently offered St Patrick’s so he said okay.

I was annoyed the whole time he was there because there is no access to the tombs of the people buried there, so no touching things to the tomb, no touching the tomb, etc. Which is just annoying given that you can touch tombs of saints and holy people in many other cathedrals.

I have been told that there was opposition to making St. John Neumann the first male US citizen saint, on the grounds that he was too ordinary and didn’t do anything spectacular. He was just a very holy bishop and educator.

Even today a lot of people always confuse him with St. Cardinal John Henry Newman from UK, who has a much higher profile.

I was chuckling at the TV news video I posted in Catholic News about Rhoda Wise, when it got to the point where it was saying “The US has very few saints” and it showed a bunch of photos flying by of “US saints”. Several of them were only Servants of God but they looked exciting in their pictures (one was Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun saying Mass on the hood of the Jeep), while poor ol’ St. John Neumann wasn’t pictured at all. Edited to add, I think this was because they were focusing on saints who were native-born in the USA…of which we currently have exactly 2, maybe 3 if we count St. Kateri Tekawitha who was born before the US existed, which wouldn’t have made a very exciting video.


I think this is where your confusion lies. His cause for canonization isn’t because he was a great preacher, it’s because he was a holy man. THAT is the reason.

Anyone who is in Heaven is a saint. Anyone. “Raising them to the alter” (ie official canonization) doesn’t mean that there are others who are not saints who are in Heaven. Raising one to the alter is a more public declaration.

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