Sainthood process for Fulton Sheen delayed

The beatification of late Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen was postponed this week, marking the latest setback on the road to sainthood for the beloved television and radio preacher.

Sheen was an early adopter of mass media as a form of evangelization in the United States, regularly appearing on “The Catholic Hour” radio programme from 1930 to 1950.

After becoming bishop, he launched his successful “Life Is Worth Living” television series in 1951, attracting millions of viewers.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria announced the postponement in a news release on Tuesday (Dec. 3), saying the Vatican informed him that Sheen’s beatification — one of the last steps before a person is canonized and declared a saint — had been delayed “at the request of a few members of the Bishop’s Conference who have asked for further consideration.”

Sheen, who died in 1979 at age 84, was originally scheduled to be beatified on Dec. 21.

No specific reason was given for the postponement, although the news release appeared eager to dispel any notion that Sheen is connected to the resurgent Catholic sex abuse crisis.

“There has never been, nor is there now, any allegation against Sheen involving the abuse of a minor,” the release said.

The process for beatifying Sheen was previously delayed due to a years-long legal dispute between the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria over where Sheen’s remains should be interred.

In the press release, Jenky expressed sadness at the most recent delay and concern about how it would affect those devoted to Sheen.

The release also noted that the bishop still believes Sheen will eventually become a saint, pointing to a number of miracles that can be attributed to Sheen.

“Bishop Jenky has every confidence that any additional examination will only further prove Fulton Sheen’s worthiness of Beatification and Canonization,” read the statement.


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