Fulton Sheen sainthood effort halted

The guy from this article seems to believe the suspension will be short-lived:

catholicnewsagency.com/news/suspension-of-fulton-sheens-cause-expected-to-be-temporary-32987/

Of course, “temporary” in terms of a 2000 year old Church is somewhat of a relative term. :stuck_out_tongue:

patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2014/09/statement-from-the-archdiocese-of-new-york-on-the-canonization-cause-of-bishop-fulton-sheen/

(statement of Archdiocese of New York)

"Joseph Zwilling, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of New York, released the following statement today on behalf of the archdiocese, in an attempt to clarify certain questions concerning the cause of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
“The Archdiocese of New York joins Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria in his invitation to prayer that “God’s will be made manifest” concerning the cause for sainthood of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. People have approached us for some background and we hope this helps, following the announcement yesterday from the Diocese of Peoria, that the cause had been suspended.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen expressly stated his desire that his remains be buried in New York, a request that was granted by Cardinal Terrence Cooke when he was laid to rest beside the Archbishops of New York in the crypt beneath the high altar of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. To date, the only official instruction that the Archdiocese of New York has received from the Holy See regarding this matter was, from a decade ago, that his body not be moved to Peoria. To date, we have not received any further direction or request from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In addition, Archbishop Sheen’s closest surviving family members have also expressed their desire that their uncle’s wishes be respected and that his bodyremain in New York.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints did recently ask the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria to enter into a dialogue to see if there was a way to continue progress in moving the cause forward. Discussions with Peoria centered on two areas: the possible exhumation and study of the body; and the possible collection of “first class relics” of Archbishop Sheen. Cardinal Timothy Dolan did express a hesitance in exhuming the body, unless the Congregation for the Causes of Saints directed that it be done, unless the process was approved by the family, that it be done modestly and reverently, and that the exhumation met the requirements of New York State law. He consulted with the family, who gave their approval if it would help advance the cause.
Regarding first-class relics, Cardinal Dolan does object to the dismemberment of the Archbishop’s body. However, if the body is exhumed, there is the strong likelihood that some relics would be present in the coffin, which could be reverently collected without disturbing the body, and then shared generously with the Diocese of Peoria. The family is at peace with this; and we will await directions from Rome.
Immense gratitude is due to the Diocese of Peoria and to Bishop Jenky for the leadership they have shown in advancing the cause of Archbishop Sheen to its current status. If, however, the decision of the Diocese of Peoria is final to suspend the cause for Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, and assign it to the Congregation for the Causes of Saint’s historical archives, the Archdiocese of New York would welcome the opportunity to assume responsibility for the cause in an attempt to move it forward, if such were in accord with the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, hoping Bishop Jenky’s excellent work would continue and his eloquent prayers answered.”

The 2nd part of this editorial discusses this matter. It really is too bad that this looks like a “political football”.

renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/140904

Or from the Washington Post:

Rome expected that Sheen’s body would be transferred from the crypt under St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he is buried, to Peoria to collect relics from the body, the Illinois diocese said. Peoria has been in charge of Sheen’s cause for canonization since it was opened in 2002. In 2012, then-Pope Benedict XVI declared Sheen “venerable,” a requisite first step before beatification.

But the Archdiocese of New York denied Jenky’s request to move the body and “after further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be relegated to the Congregation’s historic archive.”

In other words, Sheen’s cause for sainthood has been indefinitely suspended — an outcome that left Jenky “heartbroken” and apparently fuming, judging by the tenor of the statement and the fact that he went public with his complaint against Dolan.

This Canon Law or whatever is the right word to describe it is probably to most Catholics, rather obscure in its workings.

I often find Patheos articles in need of something but this one seems very good.

[Fulton Sheen Might Counsel Patience, Today](“Fulton Sheen Might Counsel Patience, Today”)

Edit On: It is NOT for me to judge but I can make the observation as the Renew American article also mentions, this story and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade story seem to have Cardinal Dolan involved.

But those are just details, according to the articles, Patheos, it sounds like remaining members of Archbishop Sheen’s family simply do not want the body moved. It would be put back I assume. It is perplexing at that and why can they not do the work in NY state? So perhaps Cardinal Dolan is carrying out the wishes of the family, the problem is it sounded like the moving of the body was ready to go but there was a last minute change of plans.

Peoria’s Bishop Jenky has gone public with this, perhaps that can change the matter. I would think many see the sense on just allowing the process to go on.

Regardless of his cause for sainthood, he has done a lot as a true Son of the Church. I would not hesitate to ask for his intercession, if I were so inclined. I have learned much from him.

He was very personable, humble, down-to-earth. All of this talk almost makes me wonder if there is a chance he could be “incorrupt”. I gather that no one knows the answer to that, probably not, there are not many incorrupts even among the Saints but it’s a possibility.

Here’s a link to the full official statement from New York:

archny.org/news-events/news-press-releases/index.cfm?i=34110

Here’s a blog post that favors him staying in New York:

patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2014/09/04/ven-fulton-sheen-might-counsel-patience-today/

Here’s one that seems to point to Peoria as a better place to go:

brandonvogt.com/body-wars-inside-info-fulton-sheen-controversy/

So one source says the family wants him to stay in New York while the other implies that most of them want him in Peoria.

This all just goes to show that there is a lot we don’t know. And I don’t think we really need to know.

brandonvogt.com/body-wars-inside-info-fulton-sheen-controversy

This is probably the best all-around article on the topic so far, found in the previous post above. It explains things rather fully.

The Angelus article likewise points with hope that this hold up in the matter will be temporary.

angelusnews.com/news/world/suspension-of-fulton-sheens-cause-expected-to-be-temporary-6095/#.VAm92VcXNvV

The cause for beatification of Ven. Archbp. Fulton Sheen has been put on hold. *Apparently, two dioceses have to settle their differences over the final disposition of the Venerable’s body.

The person or entity making the request that a cause be opened, the “Actor”, assume all responsibility for the expenses entailed in the cause, for the duration of the cause. *In this the Actor seems to be a Foundation in the Diocese of Peoria, where Ven. Fulton grew up. *However, in most cases when a cause is opened for a martyrdom, a person who lived a life of heroic virtue, or a miracle, the cause is located or handled in the place where the miracle took place or where the martyrdom occurred or, in the case also of non-martyrs,**where the person died. **The Congregation for Causes of Saints can, for a good reason, transfer a cause from the place where the servant of God died, to another diocese. *For example, say that the profoundly holy servant of God Joe Bagofdonuts, born and raised and living and working for his whole life in the Diocese of Black Duck goes to visit his sister across the country in the Diocese of Mountweasel. *Mountweasel, initially would have the right to the cause, but for obvious reasons, the Congregation would have Black Duck handle it. * So, Peoria has great interest in Ven. Fulton, but he lived and worked and died in the Archd. of New York at Lennox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. *At some point the cause was transferred to Peoria.

And so the dispute begins, because… well *New York *has the body and Peoria wants it.

NB: There may be some more information out there about what is going on, but this is what I have seen so far.

From CNS:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The canonization cause of Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been suspended indefinitely, according to a statement issued Sept. 3 by the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, where the archbishop was born.

The suspension was announced “with immense sadness,” the diocese said. “The process to verify a possible miracle attributed to Sheen had been going extremely well, and only awaited a vote of the cardinals and the approval of the Holy Father. There was every indication that a possible date for beatification in Peoria would have been scheduled for as early as the coming year.”

…]

The diocesan statement said the Archdiocese of New York denied a request from Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, president of the Archbishop Sheen Foundation, to move the archbishop’s body to Peoria.

A Sept. 4 statement from Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the New York Archdiocese, said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York “did express a hesitance in exhuming the body” absent a directive from the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes and family approval. The statement added that Archbishop Sheen’s “closest surviving family members” asked that the archbishop’s wishes be respected and that he had “expressly stated his desire that his remains be buried in New York.[So, it is not [/COLOR]*onlytheArchdiocese that has reservations.]

Zwilling said Cardinal Dolan “does object to the dismemberment of the archbishop’s body,” but, were it to be exhumed, relics that might have been buried with Archbishop Sheen might be “reverently collected” and “shared generously” with the Peoria Diocese. [We can assume that this means the vestments and other episcopal gear the late Archbishop was clothed in.]

If the Peoria Diocese’s decision is final to suspend Archbishop Sheen’s cause and to assign it to the Vatican congregation’s historical archives, Zwilling said, “the Archdiocese of New York would welcome the opportunity to assume responsibility for the cause in an attempt to move it forward.” [Ah… the plot thickens.]

“After further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be relegated to the congregation’s historic archive,” the Peoria diocesan statement said.

…]

“Countless supporters especially from the local church in Central Illinois have given their time, treasure and talent for this good work with the clear understanding that the body of Venerable Sheen would return to the diocese,” the Peoria statement said. “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.”

…]

Clearly this “change of mind” does not play well in Peoria.

Nor should it, if there was such an agreement. *And, frankly, it is hard to image that there was not.

During the course of the cause there had to have been an official examination of the body of the servant of God, a recognitio, of his remains, their condition, their actual existence, *he *is in the grave and not someone or something else. *At some point they would have had to hammer out the important question of where the body would be should the cause come to a positive conclusion and the beatification should take place. *If Peoria had the cause, they would have wanted, also, the Blessed’s remains for veneration in their local church. *It is inconceivable that this wasn’t worked out ahead of time.

Habeas corpus.

The Church has a lot of experience in these matters and the process for a cause has been worked out over many centuries. *Just about every imaginable contingency has, at some point or other, been dealt with in the past. *In the case of Ven. Fulton, we have echoes of past experiences.

For example, we all remember from our history how, in late antiquity and especially in the medieval period it was important for a monastery or city cathedral to have the body or great relic of saint. *This could mean serious pilgrim traffic and, therefore, prestige and economic advance. *Everyone would want to travel to the monastery of St. Swithin-by-the-Slough on the Feast of St. Continentia. *A market fair would be held. *Goods would be traded, etc. *For a bit of the flavor of this, try reading the interesting novel by Ken Follet, The Pillars of the Earth. *Monasteries and cities fought over bodies of saints. St. Martin of Tours died halfway between Poitier and Tour. They were about to have a little war over the saints remains, but someone managed to steal the body. When St. Thomas Aquinas died, the Cistercian monks hide his remains so that they couldn’t be swiped. But, as it turns out, a French monk managed to nick the saint’s bones and take them back to Toulouse, where Thomas is today.

Thus, bickering over bodies is nothing new in this fascinating Church of ours. It is unsavory to see, but we have seen this movie before. And it ain’t the Bells of St. Mary.

Eventually this will be settled, when someone decides to give for the sake of the cause of Ven. Fulton. Until then, however, it is entirely proper and for the best that the cause be suspended.

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The post Dispute over the remains of Ven. Fulton Sheen appeared first on Fr. Z’s Blog.

Full entry…**

THIS!!

Whenever I am muddled I go to his writings for clarity and peace.

A different perspective on this:

The Catholic world has been shocked by this and somewhat troubled, seeing this as an unseemly tussle between prelates in what should be a simple matter. For much of the non-Catholic world, it just seems strange to wrangle over a dead body. Yet I would suggest that this episode demonstrates a sign of great hope, of continuity of practice, and a renewal of the Church in light of her great Tradition. I am thankful for the suspension of the cause for several notable reasons.

crisismagazine.com/2014/thank-goodness-fulton-sheens-cause-suspended?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CrisisMagazine+%28Crisis+Magazine%29

The article also brings up the point that there are heads and there are bodies. (We Catholics appear rather ghoulish, don’t you think?) Remember what they did to St. Catherine of Sienna!

Alright, this is the article where it is asserted this is hopefully just a temporary situation.

Please help me & other Christians have greater confidence in the leadership of the Catholic Church. I could use more details about why the request to move Venerable Fulton Sheen’s body was refused.

Cardinal Dolan referred to a prior instruction from the Vatican:

To date, the only official instruction that the Archdiocese of New York has received from the Holy See regarding this matter was, from a decade ago, that his body not be moved to Peoria. To date, we have not received any further direction or request from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

What instruction is Cardinal Dolan referring to?

I have looked in the following articles already:

subcreators.com/blog/2014/09/04/are-ny-and-cardinal-dolan-to-blame-for-halting-sheen-cause/

catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=22491

patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2014/09/04/breaking-ny-archdiocese-responds-on-sheen/

cradio.org.au/shows-and-audio/catholic-news-updates/5-headlines-you-may-have-missed-5-september/

I feel concerned that this lack of clarity is inviting sensationalist speculation. Such speculation fuels the fire of the various attacks upon our clergy. Clarification on this instruction would help.

Hat tip to NewAdvent for finding these two different takes on the Sheen news:

Thank Goodness Fulton Sheen’s Cause Has Been Suspended

The Lamentable Decision to Suspend Sheen’s Cause

ncregister.com/daily-news/update-fulton-sheen-cause-blocked-over-bishops-body-battle

Update. Helpful article as well.

Okay…the first link was already posted in #28.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Archbishop_Fulton_J_Sheen_2_CNA_9_5_14.jpgPeoria, Ill., Sep 5, 2014 / 05:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Following the halt of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s canonization cause, both the Diocese of Peoria and the Archdiocese of New York have expressed a desire to move forward, as the Vatican calls for dialogue between the two.

The body the popular 20th century preacher has become the subject of an impasse between his native Peoria diocese and the archdiocese of New York, his final resting place. Unable to obtain permission from New York to exhume and transfer the body, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky announced the suspension of the cause Sept. 3.

“It is essential to realize that Bishop Jenky now feels a great responsibility to be faithful to the thousands of supporters throughout Central Illinois, the nation and the world, in regard to the status of the cause,” said Patricia Gibson, who serves as chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria and has worked with the cause since its beginning.

The diocese of Peoria opened the cause for Archbishop Sheen’s canonization in 2002 after receiving word from the Archdiocese of New York that they would not be exploring the cause.

“Specifically, Bishop Jenky was told by Cardinal Egan in September 2002 that New York was not interested in pursuing the cause. (Cardinal Egan) also indicated that at the appropriate time he would facilitate the transfer of the body to Peoria,” Gibson said.

Again in 2004, Cardinal Egan voiced his support of the cause and assured he would work to transfer the body to the Peoria Cathedral at the appropriate time. Soon after, Bishop Jenky wrote to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints requesting the body be transferred. The congregation replied that it was not yet the appropriate time.

But with a miracle recently attributed to the late archbishop, the Diocese of Peoria believes the appropriate time is now.

The Archdiocese of New York, however, is hesitant to begin the process. Following the announcement of the cause’s suspension, Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, released a statement Sept. 4 explaining that the archdiocese is not sure the transfer of the body is in line with the wishes of the late preacher or whether they yet have full approval from Rome.

“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen expressly stated his desire that his remains be buried in New York, a request that was granted by Cardinal Terence Cooke when he was laid to rest beside the Archbishops of New York in the crypt beneath the high altar of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral,” Zwilling said.

The Archdiocese of Peoria, however, believes that Archbishop Sheen could not have foreseen the particular series of events surrounding his canonization.

“Clearly Archbishop Sheen’s wishes for his final resting place could not have anticipated that he would go through a canonization process led by his native Diocese of Peoria, after it was turned down by the Archdiocese of New York,” Gibson said. “The Diocese of Peoria has heard from several relatives this week regarding their desire that Bishop Jenky continue to work towards having the body transferred as was presumed from the beginning.”

The Archdiocese of New York also believes they are respecting relative’s wishes by keeping the body in state.

“Archbishop Sheen’s closest surviving family members have also expressed their desire that their uncle’s wishes be respected and that his body remain in New York,” Zwilling said.

And while in 2005 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints did not explicitly forbid the transfer of the body, it has also not explicitly given its approval of the transfer.

“To date, the only official instruction that the Archdiocese of New York has received from the Holy See regarding this matter was, from a decade ago, that his body not be moved to Peoria,” Zwilling wrote. “To date, we have not received any further direction or request from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.”

The Congregation did, however, ask both dioceses to begin discussing how the case might advance. In their statement, the Archdiocese of New York described some of the discussions, which have centered around the possible exhumation and study of the body and the possible collection of “first class relics” of Archbishop Sheen.

Cardinal Dolan is hesitant to exhume the body before receiving explicit permission from the Vatican and from close family members. Should the permission arrive, Dolan wishes “that it be done modestly and reverently, and that the exhumation met the requirements of New York State law. He consulted with the family, who gave their approval if it would help advance the cause.”

Dolan also disapproves of the dismemberment of Archbishop Sheen’s body.

“However, if the body is exhumed, there is the strong likelihood that some relics would be present in the coffin, which could be reverently collected without disturbing the body, and then shared generously with the Diocese of Peoria,” the statement read.

But until then, “we will await directions from Rome.”

The Diocese of Peoria continues to hope the pause in the case will be temporary, and that 12 years of work will not go unfulfilled.

“The actions taken by Bishop Jenky this week reflect his strong desire to be true to the countless supporters of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause who for over 12 years have labored and supported bringing the message of Fulton Sheen and his sanctity to the world. Bishop Jenky continues to hope that the promises made twelve years ago will be honored,” Gibson wrote.

Similarly, the Archdiocese of New York expressed its desire to advance the case, even in the event that the suspension from Peoria would become final.

“The Archdiocese of New York would welcome the opportunity to assume responsibility for the cause in an attempt to move it forward, if such were in accord with the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, hoping Bishop Jenky’s excellent work would continue and his eloquent prayers answered.”

feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/catholicnewsagency/dailynews?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/catholicnewsagency/dailynews/~4/gT808GX_9aw

Full article…

Remember that whether Archbishop Sheen is a saint or not is God’s decision; our foolish wrestling here over his remains has no bearing on his soul.

In the meantime, I propose we cut his body down the middle and offer half to New York and half to Peoria. Seems like I read about a similar compromise somewhere… :slight_smile:

The Holy Saintly Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, I actually knew of a young priest who did an imitation of Sheen’s style and it came off well, he even did the imitation on radio once. Perhaps in ways, he even bore a resemblance to Sheen but Archbishop venerable Fulton J. Sheen certainly had a distinct style of talk.

I understand the spiritual value of first class relics, and I understand there is more to this situation than meets the eye. However one thing still confuses me:

Why does a body need to be dug up for a beatification to take place? I have never in my life heard such a thing, I am pleading total ignorance here. I know relics have value, and to examine the remains would be a good thing, I just didn’t know it was 100% necessary. Don’t we have Saints where we don’t have the bodies? Of course we do, lots of them! Does anyone know Catholic Church teaching here I am really confused, thank you. Just thinking even if there is a dispute over his body they can still move forward with his cause for Sainthood.

One of the last articles someone linked to in this thread says pretty much what you are saying, they don’t actually need the body for Sainthood. I guess it’s a bit of a formality.

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