The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Losing its Sheen: Peoria halts push for St. Fulton

48.-BISHOP-FULTON-SHEEN-3.png“Shocker” is how Rocco tweeted it, and that about sums it up:

Nearly a year after Fulton Sheen was celebrated anew across the globe on the 30th anniversary of his death, the iconic prelate’s boyhood diocese has suddenly pulled out of leading the charge for his beatification.


In a release posted to its website late last week, the Peoria-based Archbishop Sheen Cause announced the surprise move thus:

It is with great sadness and disappointment, Bishop [Daniel] Jenky announces that after nine years of effort and sacrifice, the Diocese of Peoria is suspending its efforts on behalf of the Beatification of Fulton J. Sheen. The Archdiocese of New York has made it clear that it is not likely that they will ever transfer the remains of Fulton J. Sheen to his home diocese of Peoria. The Bishop hopes that the Archdiocese of New York, in whose Cathedral crypt the earthly remains of the Servant of God are still entombed, might now assume this responsibility. In this endeavor he would pledge the cooperation of his diocese. The bishop urges the clergy, faithful and religious of Peoria to continue to pray for the Cause of Archbishop Sheen whose heroic virtues in announcing the Gospel and serving the poor were an extraordinary blessing in the life of the Catholic Church. The bishop would also like to remind all in his diocese and all those throughout the world who have so enthusiastically supported the Sheen Cause that finally it is only God who makes saints, not men.

The Diocese of Peoria remains committed to promote the message of the great priest, Fulton J. Sheen within our Diocese and to continue to develop our museum and research center devoted to his life.

Check out the rest here.

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Gerard Nadal

posted November 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm

This discussion needed to be had when Archbishop Sheen died, not three decades later. Its pretty low rent (and ghoulish) of Bishop Jenky to make support of canonization a function of relic possession and not the sanctity of the man’s life. It seems the good bishop is long overdue for a month in the Caribbean.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 5:50 am

I agree Gerald, pretty lame! I wonder if there isn’t “more to the story.”
In any case, I would love to see Sheen canonized, and also prefer him in NYC where more can have access to his grave. With a little planning, one can easily get permission to pray in the crypt under the altar at St. Pats. His niece even donated his kneeler (forget the proper name for it). I just remember it not only being VERY comfy on the knees, but the awesome feeling of knowing that he prayed from the same kneeler.
I suspect Sheen’s greatest “trail” was his few years as Bishop of Rochester, probablly the hardest few years of his life, and will weigh much in regards to his beautification.

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Deacon Norb

posted November 11, 2010 at 9:11 am

A short distance to the east/south-east of Peoria is the small town of El Paso, Illinois. This is Bishop Sheen’s birthplace and there is a small home (maybe his actual birthplace/home but I do not know) that is dedicated to his memory.
I never visited it but the last time I drove by it looked rather shabby and was not always open to the public.
I am wondering whether (horrors!) the whole issue here is economic.
Peoria may not have to economic resources to push this cause forward any father than they already have. I am assuming he has been given the title “Servant of God” — the first step in the process of beatification that (I think) the diocese can award. I have not heard whether he was ever awarded the title “Venerable” — the first of three steps (“Blessed” and then “Saint”) in the Vatican process.

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posted November 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm

There is more to the story !
In PHILLIPIANS 4 : 21 , 22 it says : ” greet every saint in CHRIST JESUS ” and ” all the saints greet you . “.
This is very broad , very encompassing. Not just deacons, elders , overseers , pastors .
one little boy said that : ” saints are stained glass figures who block out the sunlight. ”
Another answered him : ” No ,saints are people who let the light shine thru them. ”
If BISHOP SHEEN ,and in fact , anyone else who is a born again, set apart in CHRIST JESUS , spirit filled follower of JESUS CHRIST, is a saint according to the BIBLE.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

Archbishop Sheen loved New York and was very happy to get out of Peoria. Leave him where he is.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

“If BISHOP SHEEN ,and in fact , anyone else who is a born again, set apart in CHRIST JESUS , spirit filled follower of JESUS CHRIST, is a saint according to the BIBLE.”
Jim, perhaps you need to get over your narrow view of things. What we are speaking about with Bishop Sheen is the process of canonization leading to a person being declared a Saint (upper case) by the Church and having lead a life of virtue worthy of imitation. We are not speaking of “saint” in the broader way Paul was in his letter. Words have different meanings in case you had not noticed that before.

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posted November 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

” To all the saints in CHRIST JESUS who are in PHILIPPI,includindg the overseers and deacons ”
PAUL was not writing to dead martyrs , canonized people or a group recognized as super ” pious “.
He wrote to ” all believers in PHILIPPI ”
All ” believers ” are saints and have the right to be identified as such.
” SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS ” was a favorite phrase of PAUL’S.
He meant that all believers ar buried with Christ in his death and are risen in him to walk in newness of life ( ROMANS 6 : 4 )
Paul expressed what it means to be a ‘ saint ‘ when he said :
” I have been crucified with CHRIST and it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST who lives in me ” ( GAL 2 : 20 )

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Dave M

posted September 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

Bshp Fulton Sheen was a great man but not in my opinion a saint – he suffered from ‘pride and a touch of arrogance at times both of which he came to regret later in life – he even falsified a DD (see the book ‘America’s Bishop’)- despite being an outstanding academic and theologian who did not need to. A great man and a fine priest but he had his faults and fortunately he knew it so about as close to being a ‘saint’ as is possible which is pretty good going in my opinion.

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Bill Russell

posted September 4, 2014 at 12:55 am

The proceedings of the Congregation for Saints are confidential for obvious reasons. It should be obvious that the transfer of the body was not a determinative reason for the cancellation, although that may be cited as a delicate excuse. The Archdiocese of New York has many archives full of private information in addition to the testimony of many who may have been aware of problems. It would seem that there were serious impediments to the cause, and the decision of the Holy See should be obeyed out of respect for the deceased. This could be instructive for those who act out of sentimental affection while unaware of legitimate obstacles.

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