Thank Goodness Fulton Sheen’s Cause Has Been Suspended

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was one of the most dynamic preachers of the Catholic Faith in the twentieth century. Anyone familiar with his work in media knows the power of his influence and example. He was clearly one of the most notable products of the American Catholic revival that began in the 1920s, and the strength of his witness continues to impress today. His books remain eminently approachable, an astonishing achievement for one so gifted academically. Shining through his telegenic smile, one could sense the depth of his faith and his holiness.

The cause of Sheen’s canonization proceeded on its standard course for a long time. Introduced by local ordinaries, the faith of those touched by his example generated a spontaneous cult—the most fundamental ingredient for public recognition of sainthood in the Catholic Church. But devotion on earth must be coupled with testimony from heaven, a fact ascertained by the certification of a miracle by both medical and theological experts. Sheen seemed well on his way to the honors of the altar.

Yet a simmering debate has arisen between the Archdiocese of New York, where Sheen lived much of his life and did much of his outstanding ministry, and the diocese of Peoria, from whence he hailed.  As a preliminary step to beatification and canonization there must be a canonical recognition of the body, with the attendant removal of first-class relics. This corresponds to the classical Christian rite of “elevation,” or the removal of the potential saint’s body to a position of honor and reverence, thereby both recognizing the cult accorded by the faithful and encouraging its further development. But the process has been stopped in this case by the refusal of Cardinal Dolan to transfer the body.

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.

In the first place, the cause has been slowed down. This is encouraging in the age of fast-tracked canonizations which tend to minimize the gravity of such elevations, bound up as they are with historical affirmations of papal infallibility. It is good to slow processes, indeed sometimes stop them altogether. Cults should arise out of spontaneous devotion and proper ecclesial supervision and care. Saints should be “from the ground up” as it were. Saints were never intended to be top-down impositions of models of life or patterns of holiness dictated by mere authority. Cults should be allowed to spread organically, and sometimes be permitted to die out of their own accord, with careful shepherding by Church authorities. This is why the old fifty-year rule was in place. This should permit enough time to make sure that a cult was genuine, that it was a result of the unfolding of an authentic discernment of holiness in the life of the Church, and provides the needed leisure for the operations of the various complex tasks associated with presenting a cause. The Church should not conform itself to this age of instant gratification, with its attendant shallowness. The old rule also provided a cooling-off period so that people too intimately involved in the life and career of the potential saint had been mostly laid in their graves. Unfortunately a kind of historical chauvinism afflicts many today, thinking that they either live in the darkest times in Church history or in the “broad, sunlit uplands” of Pollyanna-ish progressivism. The endurance of a cult long after the principals are dead is a telling mark of its validity.

When a cause is rushed, questions arise both inside and outside the Church as to the thoroughness of the case, and issues swirl about motivations. Are people promoting a cause instead of a person? Are the authorities attempting to impose someone artificially, independent of genuine public cult? Are agendas, movements, ethnicities, or states in life being canonized instead of an unrepeatable singular exemplar of God’s transforming grace?

In addition, the staff at the Congregation for Saints’ Causes is massively overworked and grossly underpaid, how does this advance the proper recognition of sanctity in the Church of God? Are saints being as thoroughly vetted as both they and the People of God deserve?  It is therefore good to see a cause placed on hold, with all sides being given time for reflection and true cultivation of veneration.

In this particular instance, faithful Catholics responded generally with dismay at what they saw as a tussle unworthy of princes of the Church. On the contrary I see this as a fervent affirmation of Incarnational Christianity. The bishops involved want their holy ones “home.” They are doing this, on at least some level, for the sake of their people. It is no minor thing to have the body of a saint at the heart of a local Church, something those of us across the Atlantic tend to forget.   I will offer no opinion here on which local Church should win, save by reminding the participants of a well-established custom, saints have heads and bodies. Relics, even major ones, are divisible. How advantageous to a cult to have two centers of veneration?

The bodies and tombs of the saints are a privileged nexus, a place where heaven and earth come together in a special way. There, before the devotee, lie the earthly remains of one whose soul is now in heaven, beholding the beatific vision. There one supplicates before not simply moldering bones and flesh, but that very body redeemed by the Risen Christ, which will with certitude be raised unto glory on the last day. It is one of the most stunningly Incarnational affirmations made by the Christian faith which is, as Robert Wilken said, “an affair of things.” We are not saved by Gnostic spiritualism, we are saved through bread and wine, water and oil, and yes, even through the bodies of the dead. This is something easily lost even by Catholics, especially those who live in a post-Protestant, post-modern world, alienated from the traditional human proximity to death. The struggle for the bodies of saints is at root a profoundly Christian act. Tawdry motivations can come into play it is true, even in the most sacred transaction. But here at least, Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Jenky are acting in accord with the deepest traditions of Christianity, traditions that rooted themselves in the sub-Apostolic era itself. The bodies of saints, besides the Eucharist, are the greatest thing possessed by the Church on earth, and both of them are present witnesses to the deep Incarnational reality of historical Christianity.

Genuine cults will endure, popular devotion will increase, and God will magnify his holy ones by the performance of miracles. All of these are organic processes that must unfold in a natural way, giving the Holy Spirit and the officials in charge time to do their jobs. Bishop Sheen, I am convinced, will be canonized, but even in death he is still showing the Church of God how to keep that faith “once for all delivered to the saints.”

Donald S. Prudlo

By

Donald S. Prudlo is Associate Professor of Ancient and Medieval History at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He is also Assistant Professor of Theology and Church History at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. His specialty is saints and sainthood in the Christian tradition, and he is the author of The Martyred Inquisitor: The Life and Cult of Peter of Verona (Ashgate, 2008) and has recently edited The Origin, Development, and Refinement of Medieval Religious Mendicancies (Brill, 2011).

  • Djinna gochis

    I disagree. The model of holiness is not a matter primarily of keeping the individual local. Sheen is part of the universal church and a model for its entire American branch. That the process may have been moved faster in this age was largely due to saint john paul II no slouch in an understanding both of the needs or incarnate spirituality of the church. I am also not convinced of the theological motivations of those who have wittheld the remains. I am hoping this is a temporary internecine battle and the Holy Spirit will guide the human hearts to restore the public process. Of course there are many saints who never receive public recognition but remain intercessors nonetheless because God knows their holiness and hears their pleas on our behalf.

  • ForChristAlone

    Why does the cynic in me think that for the Archdiocese of NY and the Cardinal Archbishop this it is all about the money and “fame” to be garnered for possessing the body? Yes, those of us 60 and older have a fondness for St. Fulton Sheen, but a groundswell of devotion? I don’t think so. Ask 100 NY Catholics where the body of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is and perhaps one will be able to tell you. In NY, there is even a movement to have Cardinal Cooke canonized. It says more about New Yorkers than it does about Cooke. New Yorkers are a breed apart.

    Oh, and by the way, The Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bi-sexual, Bestiality, Pedophila and Necrophilia Society will be marching in next year’s “St.” Patrick’s Day Parade. Was this with Cardinal Dolan’s blessing?

    • John O’Neill

      It seems that Dolan has finally recognized that the Saint Patrick’s Day parade has absolutely nothing to do with the Faith. New Yorkers use that parade as an excuse for drunkenness and fornication on an epic scale. It has also become a magnet for big business and its money. In other words Dolan is now telling us that it does not matter if the LGTB crowd takes over because the parade does not really symbolize anything anymore; it is similar to the surrender on homosexual marriage by the American public because they no longer value marriage or recognize the sanctity of Christian marriage. Dolan is a politician with his connection to American big business and the culture of the “big apple”. I feel bad for my now deceased Irish parents who religiously celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a quiet family dinner and the morning mass. My father proudly marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in our city on the Sunday before the saint’s day wearing his suit and tie and his parade button. He marched in step with thousands of Irish Catholics who used to be proud of their century old religion and lived by its standards. Too bad all this crass Americanization had to take over and now we are left with an empty culture and a religion that is being led by Dolanesque bishops.

      • Aliquantillus

        If Cardinal Dolan has recognized that the St. Patrick Day Parade has no longer anything to do with expressing the Catholic Faith, but is a procession hijacked by Sodomites and other Perverts, then he should not be the Marshall of it. He should decline the “honor”. The Church should completely withdraw from this event and warn against it. But that isn’t what the Cardinal is doing. By accepting to be the Marshall of what now should be termed as the St. Patrick Gay Parade, Dolan maintains the Catholic facade and this is his way of kissing the ass of Pope Francis, aka “Who am I to judge”. On several items and occasions Dolan has shown that he is a despicable charlatan and opportunist and miles away from anything truly Catholic.

        • Bill Guentner

          Your type of discourse, if I can call it that, is unworthy of this blog, an insult to the pope, Cardinal Dolan and the Catholic Church. Try writing in a more Christian manner especially when discussing the church and her clergy.

          • somnipod

            When the prelates of the Church become Christian again, I’m sure he will. I don’t blame him… the Vatican II church is a complete disaster

            • DE-173

              I think it was Belloc that once quipped that the Church’s Divine Commission was attested to by its persistence despite so frequently being in the hands of poor shepherds.

              This was said long before Vatican II.

              • John O’Neill

                One of my teacher’s in church history at Catholic University once told the story whether true or not about Napoleon and the Church. It goes something like this; Napoleon summoned the cardinal archbishop of Paris to the imperial residence and read him the riot act and told him that if he could not convince the Pope to stop his opposition to the French invasion of Italy that he Napoleon would destroy the Church. The cardinal archbishop wryly replied ” but monsieur we priests have been trying to do that for almost two thousand years”.

                • Francaigh

                  It was not the Archbishop of Paris but the nuncio and he said “WE have tried to destroy it without success for two thousand years”.

                • RufusChoate

                  I always like that story but we could apply it to ourselves too…

            • Marty Dancy

              I agree with you, somnipod, on that statement about Vatican II. It opened Pandora’s box and let out every demon imaginable into the church. However, there was one last thing that came out–HOPE. We can have hope that the younger generations will turn the church around to be what Christ meant it to be, a bastion of truth which kept it going all these centuries.

              • DE-173

                Except Vatican II doesn’t explain things like Arianism, Pelagianism, Gnosticism, the Borgia Popes or Cardinal Wolsey. Catherine of Siena didn’t become a Saint post V2, either.

                One should not confuse CORRELATION with CAUSATION.

                We are always going to have the wily and the weak.

                If you want to see the sources of division and confusion, look to things like the 95 theses and the Dialectic.

                • popeless!

                  You can also look at the Talmud and the Lodge.

          • Aliquantillus

            Francis is more of an Anti-Pope than a Pope. The man is a complete clown, unworthy of respect.

            • RufusChoate

              Yikes… Why don’t you trust Christ and the Holy Spirit?

              • Marty Dancy

                I said that the Holy Spirit will work it out. God works through His people to make things happen. If we sit by and say nothing when evil comes out to confuse everyone, we are compelled to say something. God gives us free will to do good or evil and if we don’t fight evil, God will allow us to be taken over by it. Other people on these posts have expressed similar views and many agree with them. I do not believe in being yellow bellied sap suckers as some birds are called by chastising people who are trying to do something about what is going on, and sitting by while evil seeps into the church and schools.

            • DE-173

              “Modern Catholic priests are of a similar mentality.”

              Not in my Parish, I have two thoughtful and orthodox men at the helm.

              • Marty Dancy

                Glad to hear that. support and pray for those two good men and stand with them when they are right.

                • DE-173

                  I’m not Protestant. I stand with them, period.

              • Raymond Rice

                Great!! How many parishioners do you have??/

                • DE-173

                  Enough to have the need for a new Church that seats 1400

                  • Marty Dancy

                    Good! The reason you have such a good crowd is because of those two good men who are priests in your parish. May more come forth and turn the tide to what the church really needs. I am glad to hear about your parish, but unfortunately, many parishes are not so lucky as you.

            • me, myself & I r all here

              ah, another one, more “catholic” than the pope……

              • Marty Dancy

                It is our responsibility to stand for what the church teaches. Liberals always like to make the statement, more Catholic than the pope, because they are too cowardly to stand for anything that causes them to feel uneasy. The pope is supposed to stand for the truth more than anyone else and the older crowd knows what the truth is. It is people in my age bracket who betrayed the church in the sixties and most allowed all the trash in before this generation. The people today have inherited a watered down catholicism formed by the free thinkers of the sixties and seventies who wanted a license to sin without guilt involved.

            • Marty Dancy

              As long as we have some good clergy today, there is always hope for better things. We must support the faithful clergy and teachers and point out the errors of the unfaithful ones. Somehow, the Holy Spirit will work it out, even if there is a split in the church over the ones who remain faithful and the ones who want to turn the church into a coffee clatch.

            • Blah Blaah

              On behalf of all the excellent, thoroughly faithful, truly charitable, loving, sexually normal, chaste priests I work with, love and revere, my God forgive you for that hateful calumny.

              • Marty Dancy

                Pointing out true facts that are already known and public, is not calumny. It is public knowledge that some clerics have allowed pedophiles to get into the church and they soft pedal immoral sex acts.If we don’t do anything, then we will be held responsible before God along with the evil doers as accomplices. Ignoring evil and doing nothing is just as bad as actually helping these bad leaders to do it.

          • GaudeteMan

            Paul withstood Peter. Iron sharpens iron. The Church may be the last bastion of constructive criticism. Please don’t play the tolerance card on this site. You sound like a friend who scolded me for telling his son that Obama was complicit in killing babies on the grounds that I was’ disrespecting the office of presidency.’ That Cardinal Dolan is wanting in his care of souls is common knowledge.: 1) He has never agreed to canon 915 2) He supports socialized medicine 3) Vociferous on immigration (not a heaven/hell issue) and silent on marriage of sodomites….I could go on and on and on. “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

            • me, myself & I r all here

              don’t worry about the paving, worry more about you and me walking on the road…….

            • Joe

              Based on your assessment of their character and qualifications, then perhaps we’d be best to ignore everything they teach us, or at least be able to pick and choose what we like.

            • Anthony Kaiser

              Where did Paul resort to character assasination?

              • John D

                Telling the truth about at best, an extremely poor “bishop,” whose red vestments signify willingness to shed his blood for the Faith, is NOT character assassination! Read St. Robert Bellarmine’s “Hell and Its Torments,” and you will see that the first law of the Church is the salvation of souls. That is the first duty of priests and especially of bishop/cardinals! A little “character assassination” as you wrongly put it not the real issue with Dolan. His utter failure to help souls (including&maybe especially) those of the mortal sinners usurping the parade, is what’s being called out here…

          • Marty Dancy

            It depends on which clergy one is talking about. Since Dolan is leading the parade and allowing gays to march, not representing a business, a school or a sports group, but showing off their sexual stance glorifying homosexual acts to the public, I have no respect for Cardinal Dolan. I do not think that sexual situations should be flaunted in a “catholic” parade. As I have said in other reports, let’s change the name of the parade to Guiness parade or Irish parade and drop the Catholic name since it has elements that oppose the moral teachings of the church. It is Dolan that has brought on the insults to himself. When clergy publicly support groups that support anything against the faith, then they bring on insults and lack of respect to themselves. In my opinion, if christian leaders or Catholic leaders want people to write in a christian manner about them, then they should display christian principals in their lives.

            • John D.

              Well said!! Your statement is simply Catholic common sense. Thanks for posting! as for people like Guentner, who self-righteously bemoan others for castigating cardinals and other bad clergy, they are the ones who need to read the lives of the saints!

          • Raymond Rice

            Thank you for your ratzingeresque comment. We finally have a co-dependant with Catholic Church dysfunctions.

          • dbwheeler

            You sound like a loving, liberal democrat…all fuzzy and tolerant. Ironically, you would find all the saints in direct opposition to what you’re spewing out. Read St. Damian or St. Catherine of Sienna sometime. You’ll be surprised and amazed. St. Catherine even told the pope that she could smell him (he was living in France at the time) all the way to Rome.

        • RufusChoate

          No, try again after calm reflection. I blew a gasket about this too but I repent of my intemperance. I have no confidence in Cardinal Dolan that started with his continued support as Archbishop of Milwaukee of Rembert Weakland by allowing him to remain in residence at the Bishop Mansion after it became know the Weakland robbed the people of Milwaukee of hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for his boyfriend.

          Dolan is a bumptious buffoon with the moral courage of a sponge.

          • JP

            As I remember it Cdl Weakland used his own money to keep his boyfriend quiet (about $450,000. It appears Weakland was very well off). If Cdl Weakland did use tax exempt money from the Dioceses of Milwaukee he would have been indicted for embezzlement and tax fraud.

            • RufusChoate

              He never repaid the amount he stole and sent letters out to dissidents to collect money. He was recently denied a place at a Benedictine Abbey in Latrobe, PA where one of his “proteges” was defrocked by the Vatican.
              Lord forgive me for this link.

              http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/pennsylvania-abbey-withdraws-invitation-rembert-weakland

              • DE-173

                The late radio host Bob Grant used to dispense with insincere interlocutors with the words “fraud” and “phony”.

                Weakland should not be in a mansion, but a correctional facility.

                • RufusChoate

                  It would have been worth more than a hundred homilies to Milwaukee’s confused Catholics, if Cardinal Dolan kicked him to the curb but everything was cordial and polite.

                  The thing that is most fascinating about Weakland is the “We are the Church/Pax Christi/etc,,,” group is beyond vituperative when condemning the failures of orthodox Bishops cleaning up the messes made by the progressive but silent and respectful with Weakland.

                  It is like every thing the Left does. It is about power and its acquisition.

                  I still enjoy recalling that Saint Nicholas punched out Arias. Now that is a serious man.

            • DE-173

              And how did Weakland acquire $450,000?

              I

              When he expires, his grave should be marked with a public restroom.

              • fredx2

                Not only that, he had a statue of himself placed in the Milwaukee Cathedral. Humble, huh?

            • ForChristAlone

              #1 He wasn’t a Cardinal
              #2 He is a MONK. What is a Benedictine MONK doing with the controlling interest over $450,000?
              #3 Better yet…what is a Benedictine MONK doing with a boyfriend? Maybe he skipped over the “BENE” part and went straight to the “DIC” part of the name of his monastic order.

              • fredx2

                Liberal bishops are allowed to have boyfriends, pay them off with church money, break their vows, move child abusers between parishes etc. None of the rules apply to them. Witness the treatment that Pope Francis got when they thought he was a liberal. Same thing.

                • popeless!

                  It reminds me of Goldman Sachs or Jon Corzine. No one goes to jail in the brave new world –except for ‘haters’ of course.

            • Athelstane

              Rembert Weakland was never made a cardinal.

              • DE-173

                But he should have been made a convict.

            • fredx2

              No, he approached the diocesan council or whatever, and they approved paying out the money to hush up his boyfriend. But one suspects that the council was his hand picked buddies. It was still the church’s money.

              • DE-173

                The words “breach of fiduciary duty” come to mind.

            • Margaret

              As someone indicated below, Weakland was not a cardinal. He did use the money of the archdiocese. Also, It was MORE than $450,000. as the lawyers were not working for free. The people of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee paid them!

            • Allan Daniel

              He did use church monies. He later opined that it was ok because he had brought more money into the diocese than he had taken out to muzzle his special friend. He later said that he was mistaken and that he had not brought in more money than he had taken. He missed the real point every step of the way.

          • ForChristAlone

            “A Bumptious Buffoon” Ya gotta luv it!

          • dbwheeler

            Bumptious buffoon is just what came to my mind when I watched Dolan schmoozing and glad handing his undignified way to his installation as cardinal years ago…as though he was running for mayor rather than becoming a ‘servant’ and shepherd of Christ. I haven’t been surprised since…he’s sadly out of his element, which surely must be some Democrat fat cat making backroom deals in D.C.

          • tom

            Dolan’s useless, but the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was one of religious observance by many. Now, it should be closed down and Dolan retired to a cupcake factory…his idea of Heaven.

        • DE-173

          Most St. Patrick’s day parades are little more than bacchanalia and bananas.

          First they are green, soon they exhibit yellow hues and they are just rotten.

          You ought to see what goes on in Scranton.

        • Jacob Suggs

          I think the fact that you just used, as an insult, a Cardinal trying to be faithful to the thought of the Pope (which thought you probably don’t understand, judging by your phraseology) really shows that you need to cool off and reevaluate your approach to such matters.

        • Stephen Hitchings

          While I (sadly) agree with the general thrust of Aliquantillus’s comment, I believe it is most offensive to refer to the reigning Pope in this way, and that comments of this nature are unfitting for the nature of Crisis and should not be allowed.

          (I also think he should use an easier name to spell.)

        • PlanetJuggler

          Dolan should treat the Gay Patrick’s parade like the bishop of New Orleans treats the Mardi Gras celebrations: with disdain and a call to renewed repentance and prayer for the revelers.

          Would we see the bishop of New Orleans heading the Mardi Gras parade as Grand Marshal? I hope not, unless he is handing out ashes a day early.

      • somebigguy

        “…it does not matter if the LGTB crowd takes over because the parade does not really symbolize anything anymore; it is similar to the surrender on homosexual marriage by the American public because they no longer value marriage or recognize the sanctity of Christian marriage.”

        Perfectly articulated, John. It follows, of course, from the fact that Christianity itself is no longer valued, having become just another shallow fixture, like country clubs, political parties, sports or any other pastime.

        • Marty Dancy

          Christianity is not being valued because many so called christians don’t value it themselves. What we have today in many cases, is not christianity but a group of socialists who want an easy religion that is easy on sin.

    • Mike

      What a shame

    • popeless!

      You know it was with his ‘blessing’. There is a site which refers to Dolan as ‘laughing cow’ — I think it’s appropriate. He does nothing but guffaw his way through life

  • ForChristAlone

    I was wondering:
    #1 Does canonization infallibly assert that a now-deceased Catholic is definitely enjoying eternal happiness with God?
    #2 Can non-Catholics be canonized?

    • GabrielsProject

      1. For a long time I thought that canonization was an act of Papal infallibility. But then a Dominican theologian, who is highly regarded by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and who works for the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints in Rome told me that it is not the case.
      2. No, the Catholic Church does not canonize non-Catholics.

      • GG

        Cardinal Ratzinger said, specifically, it is infallible.

        • GabrielsProject

          Thank you for the reply. I do not doubt what you say. I would be very grateful if you could direct me to where and when he stated this.

          • RufusChoate
          • GG

            “Other examples of moral doctrines which are taught as
            definitive by the universal and ordinary Magisterium of the Church are: the teaching on
            the illicitness of prostitution35 and of fornication.36

            With regard to those truths connected to revelation
            by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be
            declared as divinely revealed, the following examples can be given: the legitimacy of the
            election of the Supreme Pontiff or of the celebration of an ecumenical council, the
            canonizations of saints (dogmatic facts), the declaration of Pope Leo XIII in the
            Apostolic Letter Apostolicae Curae on the invalidity of Anglican ordinations …37

            + Joseph Card. Ratzinger

            Prefect

            + Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.

            Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

            Secretary”

            DOCTRINAL
            COMMENTARY ON THE CONCLUDING FORMULA OF THE PROFESSIO FIDEI

            Congregation
            for the Doctrine of the Faith

        • JP

          And on a more practicable level, we do not pray for Saints. Perhaps that is why the Church was so careful when canonizing the Saints. One of the great works of mercy is to pray for the Dead. We pray and petition Christ that He will be merciful. That stops when a person has been canonized.

      • ForChristAlone

        Thanks, GP.
        #1 So then it’s NOT an infallible declaration of salvation?
        #2 I guess what I was asking was COULD the Catholic Church declare a non-Catholic as a saint if she so chose?

      • Thomas Mellon

        It doesn’t make sense if it’s not Iinfallible. And to me one thing the Catholic Church makes is sense.

    • Raymond Rice

      Canonization as a saint is infallible but being a “blessed” is not. Canonization papers are signed by the pope as pope! For beatifications the pope uses his baptismal name on the signature.

      • ForChristAlone

        Wow! That sounds authoritative so, thanks. So, notwithstanding Final Judgement, the Pope’s infallible declaration of salvation is to be accepted as truth. I’ll accept that.

  • sybarite123

    Dr. Prudlo is associated with Notre Dame University. Enough said! From Canada.

    • RufusChoate

      He doesn’t teach at Notre Dame University but Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College so his bona fides are impeccable.

      • DE-173

        Never let facts get in the way of a good rant.

        “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

        • RufusChoate

          Forget it, he’s rolling.

  • Elaine Steffek

    What a long winded defense of Cardinal Dolan’s lying to Bishop Jenky.

    • ubiPetrusEst

      Yes, it is just that. What a disappointment to find out that the author of this teaches at Christendom College, in the Graduate School, no less.

  • RufusChoate

    If this was 1960, this would be a plausible and laudable position for a devout Catholic Lay man to articulate but while it remains laudable it is not longer plausible in the light of wholesale self aggrandizing cowardly blandness of the Bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Cardinal Dolan simply not worthy of this confidence or his position. The justification for this halt are specious idiocy that deceives no one.

  • BillinJax

    Unfortunately, without the press and cameras Cardinal Dolan is all but lost and naked.
    But we have to love his jokes and backslapping style which he dearly cherishes and uses to be “relevant” to his world. Still the body of Bishop Sheen is definitely not among his personal possessions to barter with while the Church longs to recognize the true value of the bishop’s life.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    While I do not quarrel with the author’s preference for gravitas and deliberation in thinking about sanctity – as opposed to rock star status deciding the issue – his comments unfortunately include a rather bizarre defense of Cardinal Dolan, a perfectly disgraceful and scandalous prelate.

    • RufusChoate

      I agree with you. There is a fact about this that makes it really obvious that Dolan is up to some level of self glorification for his recalcitrance. Apparently they have been in negotiation with the Peoria Diocese for over a decade about the disposition of the body to honor Sheen desire to remain buried in New York under Egan (another execrable Prelate who sowed nothing a crop of scandal in his wake) but the Vatican wanted it resolve amicably with his final interment being in New York.

      The Archdiocese of New York apparently declined taking up the cause for the beatification of Bishop Sheen under Egan but it isn’t certain why.

    • somnipod

      He is likely on the payroll, much like the head-in-the sand Catholic establishment media..

    • me, myself & I r all here

      coming from a “perfectly disgraceful and scandalous” ‘dr.’ one would ask………

      • GG

        What type of logic is this?

        • DE-173

          lacking.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        If you mean to make an attack upon my character, even anonymously, it would be kinder to make it more forthrightly: “Dr. Williams is disgraceful and scandalous because… ” You might well be able to complete the sentence. But you cannot put down “… he honored a notoriously anti-Catholic and pro-abortion president” (since I have not done that) or “…he will preside over a parade honoring a Catholic saint and celebrating sodomy at the same time.” (You won’t see me doing that, either.)

  • Vinnie

    The issue of “relics” seems odd to me. The Church requires that the body either be buried whole or, if cremated, all the remains be kept together and respectfully interred. Yet, pieces of a saint can be strewn about the world. How does this differ from “spreading ashes?”

    • RufusChoate

      Most of the body remains intact and buried while ashes are atomized and scattered every where without a fixed point of burial.

      The veneration of relics dates from the age of the Apostles and I think that is all that needs to be said.

  • NE-Catholic

    Cardinal Dolan should stick to what he does best, i.e. schmoozing liberal Democrat pols, adjusting the administrative/financial policies of New York’s ‘Catholic’ institutions to keep the unions/Demo pols happy and the money flowing in.

  • Michael Francis James Lee

    One of the lamest articles I have yet read in Crisis Magazine.

  • Anzlyne

    Interesting. I am not glad the cause has been suspended, especially not for this kind of dispute. As for the author’s other reasons- the one about the tired staff is lame. The quick recognition of a saint has happened many times in our history – a lapse of time does not insure that the canonization will be inspired by a pure motive and not a political one. A length of time may not be long enough for a miraculous confirmation as in the case of “Good” Pope John XXIII.

    What a teacher Fulton Sheen has been for me! Thank God for him. If the dispute was between two equally “Catholic” bishops, it would be easier for me- but it is hard for me to look at this dispute fairly considering my dismay about Cardinal Dolan.

  • This is a nonsensical effort to make both sides of the issue come out smelling like roses. It’s patently absurd linkbait – far below the class that First Things usually brings to the table. It’s more like something I would expect from Joel Olsteen trying to smile his way into heaven with positive vibes. Very disappointed.

    • DE-173

      “It’s more like something I would expect from Joel Olsteen trying to smile his way into heaven with positive vibes.”

      That made my morning. Thanks.

      I look at Osteen’s suits and hear snippets of his saccharine vapidities delivered while wearing thousand dollar suits and I laugh when I think of Luther condemning the “luxury of priests”.

  • Raymond Rice

    For Christ Alone

    Always made me wonder what tree the Big Apple came from!!! LOL

    • DE-173

      The forbidden tree, perhaps?

    • Raymond Rice

      count the times that St Mark’s, St Nicholas, St john Baptist’s relics were stolen to give prestige ($$) to their new homes!!!

    • popeless!

      It’s ‘the tree of life’ don’t you know.

  • Michael P Foley

    A very fine article. Dr. Prudlo reminds us of the importance of having a slow and organic process of canonization, even when the motives of the players involved are mixed or worse. God may be using here ‘vessels of dishonor’ and their venal aims for His own purposes.

    • RufusChoate

      The early Church frequently proclaimed Saints by acclamation before the body was even cold. It was organic but it wasn’t slow.

      • Art Anders

        Which is precisely why, having experienced abuses of the custom of accalamation, the Church formalized a procedure and stretched it out (the chief reform being on Pope Benedict XIV. In the same way, public confession was replaced with private auricular confession. Other abuses led to the confessional with grill – and the stupidity of liturgists who promoted “face to face” confession and tore out confessional booths, is being recognized now as an unmitigated disaster.

        • RufusChoate

          What! no more Vox Populi Vox Dei? I am crestfallen. Cheers.

  • Art Anders

    In fairness to Cardinal Dolan: it should be obvious that there is more to this than the location of a body. The archdiocese of New York has many files on Sheen’s years there and much information has been passed on to the Holy See. Both New York and Rome may well be aware of some serious obstacles which, for all concerned, are not to be made public. – If Dolan (known in New York as “Cardinal Cheese Head”) is to be criticized, it should not be for this single act of sobriety and reason – so unlike his insufferable vulgarity which has turned his archdiocese into a non-stop Hee Haw Show. Sadly, Dolan thinks people are laughing with him, when in fact more and more of them are laughing at him. By all accounts, his archdiocese is in a desperate free fall. Can Pope Francis find some vacant Basilica in Rome to delicately place him in as “arch-priest” and then do something to save New York? – And by the way, in the time of Cardinal O’Connor a state judge ruled that the St. Patrick’s Day parade is a “religious procession.” Dolan seems to have forgotten that.

    • somebigguy

      Off-topic, I admit, but as you suggest, Dolan’s comment on the St. Patrick’s Day parade is indeed remarkable…

      Personally, I find it extraordinarily disturbing: It’s a good thing to allow the promotion of disordered behavior and mortal sin within the context of honoring a saint? This might not be what Dolan intends, but it’s certainly what he’s throwing his moral authority behind.

      God help us.

      • DE-173

        What was the remark?

    • James Kabala

      If they have secret dirt it should have been forwarded to the Vatican during the venerable stage (which Sheen passed) – and if it exists, it should be made public rather than continue the culture of secrecy.

      And it seems to be Peoria, not New York, that is oddly insisting that the beatification cannot occur unless the body is moved.

  • I enjoyed this article. The comments demonstrate is has touched a wide range of judgemental angst. Good job!

    • GG

      Do you think Sheen would be marching in the St. P day parade?

      • You have NO CLUE what Sheen would do today.

        • RufusChoate

          I do, having been lucky enough to a serve a mass said by him at a Priest’s retreat in Princeton in 1974 and I have never heard another homily that equal his and the level of him humility and strength was obvious.

          It is obvious that he would have opposed the inclusion of homosexuals in the Saint Patrick day parade and he would have a cogent, faithful, comprehensive and rational justification in his comments.

          p.s. He was really short too but filled the chapel with his presence.

          • Your opinion, a projection of perspective [yours] from the past. I and you have NO CLUE what hed’ do today. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater was not his specialty. It is for many today.

            • RufusChoate

              You’re right that you have no clue.

              As odd as it might sound I evolve away from tolerance to the sexually confused. I was repeatedly assured by progressive Rectors and Priest while I was in formation that Homosexuals were worthy of their vocation and that tolerance was the best and most Christian Course. They were even holier than the rest of us.

              Of course, I found out only later after leaving the Seminary that the persons giving the advice was sleeping with just about every one in the house of formation except me and a handful of guys.

              Weirdly most of them are now dead from their special affliction (some from violence) three are/were in prison and defrocked for pederasty with teenagers and all of them cost the church hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of dollars in legal fees stolen from the poor.

              It is specious nonsense to argue that fair amount of judicious intolerance at the right time would not have been the best course for the Church and the Faithful.

              Sheen had the intelligence to see and know this even in the 1970’s when the Left was in the driver’s seat.

              • ForChristAlone

                “Weirdly most of them are now dead from their special affliction (some from violence) three are/were in prison and defrocked for pederasty with teenagers and all of them cost the church hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of dollars in legal fees stolen from the poor.”

                I thought the Grand Total for damages done in monetary terms amounted to $1 Billion (yes, I said BILLION).

                And in terms of the human dimension: how many victims wound up as alcoholics/drug addicts, suicide victims, imprisoned for violent crimes, failed marriages, child abuse, loss of religious and priestly vocation, and loss of their Catholic faith, etc, etc? The costs are incalculable.

                • RufusChoate

                  You are right about the total for the country but I was referring only to the men I was in formation with. It was a horrid body count which I think was about 30 premature deaths from a pool of about 90.

                  My golden moment of clarity for my vocation was later when I was undergoing discernment with the Jesuits when the vocation director came out and asked me if I had any difficult serving and living with Gay Men.

                  My response was: “Ahh…(I begin a lot of sentences that way) If they are celibate how would I know? He didn’t really answer and only meet with me two or three more times before we went our separate ways.

                  I think I made the wise decision.

                  • DE-173

                    “If they are celibate how would I know?”

                    A homosexual, an atheist and a vegan walk into a bar….how do you tell them apart?

                    No need they’ll tell you.

                    We have gone from the love that dare not speak its name to the thing that won’t shut the hell up.

            • DE-173

              Throwing the baby out with the bathwater was not his specialty.
              Continuing to support the ST P parade given its debasement is more like bathing the baby in sulphuric acid.

            • Phil Steinacker

              You are the clueless one. There is no baby to be thrown out with this bathwater.
              Sheen would never had endorsed this decision. Doing so would give the lie to so much of what he has spoken and written.

              Since you don’t seem to understand this, I suspect you have read very little of Fulton Sheen or you’d know better than to make yourself look so foolish.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              Don’t you mean “abort the baby in the bath water” ? That’s what Dolan’s friends believe in.

              • I don’t know Dolan or his friends. I stepped in a distinction here that always baffles me. There is something about the protestantized US Catholic church that creates either a pathetic wuss or a hard shrill right wing ass. The wuss has no chance at redemption in my view. The ass will require something Sheen magnified in every captured video and talk I have seen of his; Graciousness. The Lucifer left coddles it well and the most difficult method is to mirror it back while stating the path to life. Cafeteria religions save no one.

        • GG

          Does that mean you think he would?

        • DE-173

          As a practical matter, he left a rather large body of public speeches and discussions, recorded broadcasts, etc. That’s a bit more than “NO CLUE”.

      • Michael Wallis

        Bishop Sheen would not be-clown himself with a “cheesehead” and guffaw with culture of death pols, that is for sure.

  • Deacon Joseph Pasaquella

    I was disappointed and highly confounded by the refusal of Car.Dolan to cooperate with another bishop in the process to elevate a Saint already in heaven. But upon prayer and reflection I have gained insight. It may be about the honor of having a saint in one’s own diocese, and Dolan may even say that. But to me, it is what Archbishop preached and stood for his entire life as a Holy Priest…orthodoxy and faithfulness to the teachings of the church at time where so many, even archbishops have abandoned orthodoxy. Archbishop Sheen preached faithfully the faith transmitted to us by the apostles and never wavered, and he was truly a gifted preacher. His teachings and messages are just as relevant today as when they first were aired. If he were to be canonized a saint, officially his message would be spread even more, his books, video’s of his of his life, copies of his programs from TV,,,etc,, some in the church would not welcome that when it only shined light on the darkness that is trying to consume the Church from within. But God wins in the end, prasie be Jesus Christ, forever.

    • Bill Russell

      And how do you know he is “a Saint already in heaven?” Even the Church does not know that yet. The canonization process is supposed to save us from presumption. Sheen would never had done that himself, save for some lapses, as when he proposed that John F. Kennedy, Dag Hammarskjold, and Mahatma Ghandi might be saints. – Sheen asked that he be buried in New York. As for Peoria, he was eager to leave it.

      • RufusChoate

        Isn’t every one in heaven a Saint…? Formal recognition by the church is merely an earthly acknowledgement of an established fact by the signs and wonders show by the deceased holy person’s miraculous intercession on the behalf of people’s supplication of favors.

        • Anthony Kaiser

          Yes, but only until the Church can determine that to be so “by the signs and wonders show by the deceased holy person’s miraculous intercession on the behalf of people’s supplication of favors” can we do more than make a reasoned assumption that anyone is in Heaven. We are not Protestants.

          • RufusChoate

            Sorry, the circular logic in play for me. If his intercession produces a miracle and he has one already validated. I supposed he was in heaven. Correct? Cheers

    • Jim Sheridan

      Thank you for your comment deacon! I just got through listening to an unabridged audio version of Archbishop Sheen’s autobiography TREASURE IN CLAY. Absolutely incredible-I recommend it for everyone. I guess he had it updated right up until about a month before he passed away. His views on so many things he experienced in his very eventful life were often totally unpredictable to me, and therefore humbled me on my own short-sighted views that I tend to hold in such high regards. Definitely worth every penny of the $15 that I bought it on Audible

  • lifeknight

    How can anyone defend Cardinal Dolan?

    Some canonizations are rapid (too rapid), but fighting over the body location?? Really?

    Next we will hear about the promotion of the sainthood of Dorothy Day and her “cult.”
    Give me strength, Lord!

    • DE-173

      Next we will hear about the promotion of the sainthood of Dorothy Day and her “cult.”

      Oh come on, I just ate breakfast. Sheeez.

      • Marty Dancy

        In this modern church, I would not be surprised if they set up a cause for Harvey Milk! Anything goes in the crazy so called church we have today, except for the quiet underground movement to redo the church to what solid stable insititution it is supposed to be. It will come out better but much smaller as Benedict said.

        • popeless!

          As the vicar of Christ, why, do you think Benedict XVI would state such a thing as he did: that he didn’t know what the church would look like in 20 years?

    • Tennyson

      Let us not blame Pope Francis for Dolan. We must acknowledge that Dolan was the mistake of Pope Benedict XVI. Even Homer nods. Let us pray for the suffering Archdiocese of New York.

      • DE-173

        The frightening thought is he was apparently the best on the “short list”.

    • Kate

      Well, she’ll certainly be made a saint before you, it sounds like. She definitely followed the Gospel commands of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty and be welcomed by Christ. She actually objected to people labeling her a “saint” because she said it was a cop-out, an easy way of dismissing what she did as superhuman, when she was just doing what every Christian was called to do.

      • DE-173

        Baloney.

        She may become a Saint, but it won’t be because of her social activism, but in spite of it.

        My principal objection to her was her imprudent failure to recognize how little she knew about the world, while imagining that she could design one de novo.

        She would make herself the architect of an order that would be as informed and viable as a monkey at the blueprint of a nuclear reactor.

        It lead her to make stupid and scandalous statements, such as this in regard to Castro:

        “We are on the side of the revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to man, and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism…. We believe in farming communes and cooperatives and will be happy to see how they work out in Cuba…. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor. God bless all those who are seeking the brotherhood of man because in loving their brothers they love God even though they deny Him.”[84]”

        She also praised his “promise social justice”

        On monsters of history like Lenin and Mao:

        “..were animated by the love of brother”

        On Ho Chi Minhn:
        “a man of vision, as a patriot, a rebel against foreign invaders”

        Mother Theresa went into the Indian gutters to fetch the forgotten and the dying. She wasn’t editing a newspaper for decades with the word “Catholic” on it after being directed to remove it. She wasn’t constantly involved in political protests or vainglorious pronouncements about matters she knew nothing about. You want a model of the selflessness, Mother Theresa is far better a role model.

      • RufusChoate

        Why is it that all Dorothy Day supporters are such unpleasant sanctimonious scolds?

        Dorothy Day is conundrum for me. She did some small good works but most of her projects were merely leftist exit doors for its members to leave the Church.

        She had a level of moral blindness and sheer idiocy to the evils of the Left in the World at the time was breathtaking for anyone even moderately informed or aware as she claimed to be.

        One of the most insane moments for her was her reporting on the persecution of Catholics in the period of the Cristero uprising in Mexico. She simply denied it and defended the Freemason/Socialist President enlightened policies and Mexican victims reported that she was always skeptical and dismissive. She did this for every Leftist in her Life time.

        She started on the Left and always felt at home there and embraced the Marxist worldview but baptized even if it was with the blood of Mexican campensinos.

        I agree with her own opinion of herself. She was no Saint.

      • lifeknight

        Oh so true! She also co-habitated with ? many men and aborted her child. Perhaps none of us stands before God in a sinless state, but I would choose to emulate a martyr or a mother like St. Gianna. I guess I can have MY saint nominee opinion too!

        • TommyD6of11

          Whereas I do not think Dorothy Day she become a saint, the mistakes of her life before embracing Christianity are not an obsticle.

          Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

          However, her misguided but ongoing embrace of Socialism should bar her and all others like her from sainthood.

          Socialism is the devil’s device to seduce, corrupt, and debase mankind. It invariably leads to the exact opposite of all it promises to benefit.

          And, it always turns against Christianity for it cannot tolerate any authority which competes against the State.

          • ubiPetrusEst

            You are right, but why mince words-the form of Socialism she espoused was Communism. The “great pacifist” Day declared:

            “We are certainly not Marxist socialists nor do we believe in violent revolution. Yet we do believe that it is better to revolt, to fight, as Castro did with his handful of men …than to do nothing.
            We are on the side of the revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to man, and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism as Peter Maurin pointed out. We believe in farming communes and cooperatives…. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor. God bless all those who are seeking the brotherhood of man because in loving their brothers they love God even though they deny Him.” (“About Cuba,” Catholic Worker, July-August 1961)

            Day’s communism is her Achilles’ heel, and her advocates go to great lengths to speak of her radicalism and socialism instead. Day also used this tactic and told Robert Coles: “I did read the Bible even in my most political times, when most of my friends were Communists and Socialists. (I think I called them radical friends in the section of ‘The Long Loneliness’ where I discuss my Chicago days.)” (“Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion,” 1987, p. 27).

            Day was more candid in an article in the November 11, 1952 “Des Moines Register”:
            “Asked if the saying that ‘once a Communist, always a Communist’ were true. Miss Day said, ‘That’s just fear propaganda.’
            ‘We do use some communal ideas in the Catholic Worker farms and houses of hospitality. We feed 600 persons a day in New York City. Everyone lives in common at these farms and houses of ours, so I guess you might say about me ‘once a Communist, always a Communist,’ Miss Day added jokingly. (http://www.no-nukes.org/viapacis/may03dorothyvisits.html)

            Carol Byrne’s 2010 “The Catholic Worker Movement (1933-1980): A Critical Analysis” gives documented evidence on Day’s views. “Dorothy Day Another Way” (dorothydayworker.blogspot.com) posts the supplementary notes for Dr. Byrne’s book.

  • Bernonensis

    The author states that miracles must be certified by both medical and theological experts; while medical experts certainly have something to say in the case of an apparently miraculous healing, other types of miracles would require inspectors with other competences. If, for example, a village of Christians in Iraq were to pray to Bishop Sheen for deliverance from an ISIS attack, and then the earth were to open, swallow the approaching savages and then close up again, the testimony of geologists would be relevant, would it not? After the joyful exultation, I mean.

    • DE-173

      The best way to deal with the ISIS is to vitrefy the sands upon which they so eagerly spill blood upon.

      That having been said, one might hope that the “clinics” and grandeloquent edifice that houses that august ennead that made infanticide a “right” be subject to such a geological anomoly, as well.

  • Cap America

    Faithful Catholics should insist that the regular procedure take place, despite New York’s bizarre stance. I agree with the 50 year rule, and I agree that the body should be in its appropriate place. . . even if it is Peoria, Illinois rather than New York Epicenter of the Universe, Inc.!!!

    I would think Sheen would feel the same way, particularly since the New Yorkers already botched his first request.

  • Karl

    Good article, Dr. Prudlo.
    I didn`t realize the that Bishops were still arguing about holy relics. It is nice to see the historical continuity in the Catholic Church and the same wranglings from the 4th century still happen now! Deo gratias!

  • Dennis Mahon

    The author mentions that Sheen was part of the “American Catholic Revival” of the 1920’s; where could one read up on that?

  • Alicia

    Thank you for this article. I was shocked by the headline, but you’ve made me grateful for this hiccup in the process. I especially love the way you reflect on the importance for a cult to spring up in an organic way which helps prove that the process is led by the Holy Spirit. Recently I discovered St. Charbel and have developed a special relationship with him. One of the things that most attracts me to him is the fact that he lived as a holy hermit unknown to most people. After his death, the Lord caused such miracles to be worked through him that his body was exhumed and his incorupt body discovered. To this day, on the 22nd of each month huge crowds of people go to the Church at the place where he died and have processions and mass. This was nothing led by certain individuals seeking fame, but a gift from God to his Church Militant. So may it be with Bishop Fulton Sheen. He has blessed me so much through his writings, and I too have no doubt that he is enjoying the Beatific Vision for which he has helped me long.

  • Joe

    Let us not forget that Cardinal Dolan is a son of the Church and part of her Magisterium. For those of us who relish the authentic teachings of the Church, perhaps we should pray for those who pass it on to us, rather than publicly rebuke them in an uncharitable way. Wasn’t this article about the Servant of God Fulton Sheen, anyway?

    • Art Anders

      Pray for the Archdiocese of New York as it rapidly declines under Cardinal Dolan. And remember that Dolan cannot be blamed on Pope Francis. He was the mistake of Pope Benedict.

      • ForChristAlone

        My guess is that Pope’s have little direct involvement in naming bishops and cardinals. Pope’s are more likely to trust the judgment of their advisors. And there is no question in my mind that Dolan’s appointment was a direct result of politics in the AmChurch. I’ve met Dolan; he is as he appears – the consummate politician. He can really press the flesh. Perhaps if his stint in the New York archdiocese doesn’t pan out, he might consider running for Governor of NY (on the Democrat ticket, of course).

  • Craig Macleod

    These are all reasons why the scandelous John XXIII and John Paul II should have had their canonisations halted.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Oh come now… naive, isolated, ill-informed, bumbling maybe… but scandalous? Even I – who view many of JPII’s public Masses to be bizarre to the point of scandalous – recognize that he probably was ordered around by whatever Vatican apparatchik was responsible for “World Youth Day” or “World Peace Day” or “Imaginary St. Francis Day” or “World Environment Day” or whatever…

      • DE-173

        When I first heard of World Youth Day, I thought it was something that would be largely vacant and soon forgotten by attendees. Over the past few years I’ve heard numerous testimonies of attendees who seem to be bucking the trend toward discarding their faith and who cite Denver as a element in that retention, it makes me rethink my initial skepticism (cynicism).

      • Craig Macleod

        I appreciate your stance Dr, but to kiss the wicked Qu’ran was an act of the gravest scandal. As for John XXIII, his scandalous reign needs no introduction.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          If kissing the Qur’an implied endorsement of its contents, it would indeed be a gravely sinful act. But JPII was most likely only vaguely aware of its contents. He was not nearly so educated a man as BXVI. Was it scandalous? Of course… but it was also a supremely ignorant public relations gesture that really means “let’s all get along,” and nothing more. It made me cringe, too, but I never thought JPII was endorsing anything Islamic.

          • RufusChoate

            Modern Eastern Europeans that I know have an effusive use of kissing objects that took me back when I first started working with them in Consulting unlike the stolid serious Poles I grew up with.

            It is likely that this was some cultural meme that Saint John Paul II acquired but it never appeared to be true reverence but a show of respect for a guest’s sensibilities.

            I am not as dismissive of his masses but agree with you there was too much of theatrical air to some.

            But seriously World Youth Day is a bloody amazing success in evangelization although none of my children will ever be allowed to attend one.

          • DE-173

            He had habit of kissing the ground as well.

          • popeless!

            Gradualism perhaps?

  • Allan Daniel

    I think Mr. Prudlo’s objection is a generic one that doesn’t fit Sheen’s case very well. His point is well made in reference to the mad-cap political canonizations of late which have made the process appear ridiculous. Sheen’s case is, I believe, different. Sheen left a multitude of works that attest to his orthodox beliefs and quest for holiness. He appeared to have gone through a trial of pride that he overcame with illness and age. His influence for good on the world is recognized as real by all but the cynic. Enough time has passed to determine whether he was a short-lived media personality or a firm man of God. Let’s not denigrate the object of canonizations because of the foolishness of the men in control of the process. Some very recent canonizations carry the odor a manure with them, Sheen’s does not.

    • Art Anders

      “…a trial of pride that he overcame with illness and age.” I suppose that a great many people – perhaps most – who live long enough would do the same. Close to his dying days, he still arrived in a chauffeured limousine on Good Friday to preach the Passion and then bowed for applause at the end as though it were a stage show.. In view of his melodramatic style, self-promotion and embarrassing flamboyance, I am not sure that Sheen’s late day repentance could be reason for canonization, even though one hopes it wiped away his past.

      • Allan Daniel

        Perhaps you are too judgmental about things you do not understand. Being driven in a limousine (read, large car) is not a sin. In fact, it is a necessity in a place like, for example, NYC. If you can’t understand that, I’d be happy to let you drive me across the city during rush hour. The melodramatic style you so object to was taught to priests at a time when whisper-sensitive audio equiptment did not exist. Sheen began his priesthood when bellowing and gesturing were quite rightly used to reach the slumbering soul in the back pews. As for the bowing, you are mistaken. He bowed at the end of his TV program, not at the end of his sermons. I was there in NYC and watched him. Did you? You have taken a rather negative and self-righteous stance about a well-loved man who did more for the conversion of sinner than many, many others merely because of your misguided perceptions. I hope you see the problem and look into your own heart.

        • Art Anders

          ˆIn his last Three Hours at St Agnes in NYC, Sheen held hands with Clare Booth Luce and the nightclub singer Hildegaard, and the cameraman, and took a stage bow, to applause. It may be seen on film. And yes, one was there – more than once. Quite young at the time but out of college. I was a bit scandalized. I had occasion to speak once with the priest that Sheen liked to introduce as his confessor. I asked him if Sheen was holy. The priest said of course that he could not say anything about confession, but that he always found Sheen a charming man but that the idea of him being a saint was ridiculous. In fact, he roared with laughter.

          • Allan Daniel

            Too bad we no longer have a devils advocate in the canonization process.

          • GG

            Sounds like a jealous and small minded priest.

          • Phil Steinacker

            Gossip and Detraction are both serious sins.

          • RufusChoate

            Some how I filled with doubt about your bitter and petty stories but at my core I am a skeptical and nasty brute.

          • ubiPetrusEst

            Thanks for sharing an incident you personally witnessed and for mentioning that it was recorded on film, as well as for sharing the confessor’s comment. Neither recollection seems like gossip or detraction to me, as we may draw our own conclusions.Bishop Sheen lived a very long life, and he was a “star” of the Church practically from the start. Remember that parish priests do not take vows of poverty. The biography I read dwelt on his material success, as well as his spiritual and intellectual ones. As others have observed, he subscribed to some very trendy things in Rochester.

  • The Rev. Michael P. Forbes

    A couple of problems with the case at hand. I do not dispute the general norms placed ore us in this p;iece, however:

    The 50 year rule is sort of new by Church Standards.

    When I read the roles of new beati and saints what mostly appears are mostly founders of not particularly large Italian, French and Spanish congregations of varing size. Who?

    The people of Peoria proposed this cause at a broad base. Indeed it did not take long for many to join in and identify this man withwith the New Evangelism.

    The Archdiocese took no part in any of this process.

    Although Sheen was buried in NYC by his own desire, It was probably the NYC je knew and his position as auxiliary which controled the situation

    This all raises the picture of the attack on Sheen by Cardinal Cook over Sheens work for missions and sheens subsequent removal to Rochester.

    There is also the matter of Cardinal Dolanss odd attitudes about the first class relicsI honestly wonder if he did not wish to Kill the cause.

    Mike

    • Art Anders

      Cardinal Cooke did not challenge Sheen, it was Spellman. It may be that Spellman’s confidential complaints against Sheen are part of the problem. Cardinal Cooke in fact permitted the entombment of Sheen in the Cathedral, although Sheen did not qualify according to custom. If any New York prelate should be canonized, it should be Cooke before Sheen. Unlike Sheen, Cooke was a man of real humility.

      • ForChristAlone

        I would guess that Cooke was a good archbishop. He was, at the very least, heroic and uncomplaining in the face of cancer. But does being humble now warrant canonization? I can only conclude that humility is virtually non-existent in the post Vatican II church.

        • John200

          FCA,
          Good point, but where the virtue of humility is best practiced, we might not see it. We might not know that we are looking at true humility right there, in front of us, in that guy, in that situation. In fact, my idea is that humility is all around us, but the humble do not show off. Some of the best spiritual stuff is hidden behind a (my) thick layer of ignorance.

          Let us try an example: For all I know, you might be a “first ballot saint” (no purgatory; I made up the term, it is not in the Catechism). I hope you are, I pray that it works out that way, and I will find out in the fullness of time. But as I write in early September 2014, I cannot be sure, either way.

          The point: It is hard to detect humility, even when it is right there in front of my face. I just hope to follow the path of humility.

          • AnthonyMa

            I am very proud of my humility.

      • GG

        It should be O’Conner, but not before Sheen.

        • Bill Russell

          No one who knew O’Connor well ever remotely thought that he was a saint.

        • popeless!

          check out O’Connor on other blogs (which I won’t name here).

    • ubiPetrusEst

      It was not Cardinal Cook, but his predecessor Francis Cardinal Spellman who attacked Sheen and got him moved to Rochester, NY.

  • Blah Blaah

    I got tired after reading about 3/4 of the comments. I don’t know anything about Bishop Jenky, and learned a lot more about Dolan than I would care to know.

    Let’s consider the supernatural. Perhaps Archbishop Sheen is in heaven praying for his own process, and he has asked for it to be delayed until it can be handled by a bishop as orthodox as himself (don’t all of us think he deserves that dignity?). Maybe in God’s providence, the ‘tussle’ as it was termed above, just isn’t seemly or worthy of Archbishop Sheen, and so his process will be stalled until two more worthy bishops can come to an agreement. Perhaps we’re all just being spared the spectacle of Dolan and Jenky ‘tussling’, in the same way (but on a different order) that we are spared heretical popes inventing new doctrines. Maybe God just loves us – and Sheen – too much to allow his process to go forward at this low point in the history of the American Catholic Church.

    It seems to me that with prelates like Dolan, we really DO need more time for a strong, popular Sheen cult to develop – it might help turn around the Church in the US.

    How about if everyone reading this article introduce the writings and speeches of Fulton Sheen to at least ONE Catholic and ONE non-Catholic Christian who has never heard him speak or read his stuff? Skip the ice-bucket and pass the Sheen. What do you say?

    • ForChristAlone

      Nicely said, Blah Blah and, I agree, more Sheen.

    • DE-173

      Skip the ice-bucket and pass the Sheen. What do you say?
      Amen.

    • JP

      Bishop Jenky is an outstanding Bishop and shepherd. He loves the Church and his vocation, and the time he was our auxiliary bishop in South Bend, I cannot remember once where he was not orthodox in his beliefs. Bishop Jenky is an outstanding servant of Christ who is both diplomatic and outspoken in his defense of the Church and its teachings. You won’t find a better bishop anywhere in my humble opinion.

  • Jay

    Being a very new Catholic, I don’t know the answer to this question: How does a Cardinal lose his job?

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      An official announcement by one of two people: either a pope or an undertaker.

    • Minnesota Mary

      He gets married!

  • Martha Renner

    While I agree that it is prudent of the Church to have a period of ‘cooling,’ as it was put, the actual question is why Sheen? The other freshly minted saints had no such waiting period, and so it is clearly not a matter of ‘the way the Church operates.’ And that is easily answered. It’s because it IS about agendas, and not people, oftentimes. Sheen was just too darn Orthodox. Dolan can’t handle the Truth.

    • Angie Derwell

      Dolan certainly would not be acting on such a matter without the backing of the Holy See

      • DE-173

        The Pope is not CEO.

      • RufusChoate

        Obviously, you didn’t bother to read any of the other stories concerning this issue where it was substantiated that the Vatican instructed the Archdioceses of New York and Peoria to enter into fraternal discussions on the transfer of the body over a decade ago under Egan.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    We are more likely to see New Church prelates such as Dolan celebrating the life of a Charlie Sheen than that of a Fulton Sheen.

    • Des Farrell

      Charlie Sheen got his name from his Dad who changed his from Estevez due to his love for Fulton Sheen. I’m a new reader here and I have to say that your comments about Cardinal Dolan are deeply disturbing. How about you show a little moderation as befitting your level of education? Snide sneering remarks may score you points on the internet but they are very much beneath you.
      This comment: ‘Cardinal Dolan, a perfectly disgraceful and scandalous prelate’. tells me that you have allowed yourself to be convinced by the sound of your own hyperbole. You are doing a disservice to the Church.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Rubbish. The Cardinal is a disgraceful modernist, a hypocrite through and through. He cares more for the opinions of his Democrat Party friends than he does for upholding and teaching the Gospel. The time for Catholics to “pay, pray and obey” in the face of such scandal is long past. I reiterate every word I wrote about Cardinal Dolan.

      • ubiPetrusEst

        Des Farrell, for some information about Cardinal Dolan’s outrageous acts, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be7ImroaKHU for Michael Voris’s report, or go to http://dorothydayworker.blogspot.com/2014/09/gay-rights-abortion-infanticide-faith.html for Dolan’s sad history.

        Dr. Williams is not indulging in slander, uncharitableness, or hyperbole: Dolan’s acts are despicable.

  • Raymond Rice

    Once, I took a good look into a closeup picture of Dolan’s eyes and saw the back of his head!!

  • Quite a rather elaborate justification for a territorial contest between prelates.

  • We *do* live in the darkest time in Church history, Donald. It’s hard for historians, who know all the details of physical turmoil the Church and world has experienced throughout the centuries, to realize that we are now living in a time of utterly and unarguably unprecedented moral dissolution. Never before has the vast majority of the Christian world utterly rejected the natural moral law in practice. In other words, never before have so many souls been on a fast track to hell. What arrogance it is to belittle that because you know all the details of the Avignon Papacy, or the Arian crisis. Those were fleabites in comparison to the souls falling into hell like snowflakes that we see today.

  • shadowind

    As someone who’s a huge fan of Venerable Fulton J Sheen, it’s just a shame that Cardinal Dolan is being a bully like his predecessor was in the 60’s when it came to Venerable Sheen, and I hope that this sorted out and that Peoria gets to be the home of Venerable Sheen’s remains.

    • Aaronwall

      When we get angry with Dolan, it is helpful to read this wise commentary on what was written, prophetically, not long ago, by Father George Rutler who is a priest of the archdiocese of New York:

      Righteous Anger (from Fr. Rutler) – Throw the Bums Out in …throwthebumsoutin2010.blogspot.com/…/righteous-anger-from-fr-rutler….

  • Tony

    The wonderful thing about Fulton Sheen was that he had an intellect of the highest order — the top student at his time at the Louvain. Yet he could communicate with ordinary people; he brought theology to life. His first book, on psychology and modern philosophy, is a masterpiece. Most impressive to me, in my Image edition, is that he included long passages in French and Latin, untranslated. Sheen figured that scholars would be able to read them …

  • Angie Derwell

    Curiously, no one has mentioned this fact: Properly, his body should be in the (arch)diocese which he had served canonically as bishop. That would be Rochester, NY. But Sheen was a disaster there and there are many people still alive there whom he hurt and offended, and who certainly would rather that his body be in New York City or Peoria or anyplace other than Rochester.

    • Phil Steinacker

      A good administrator he was not; his strength was in being a teacher – the first responsibility of a bishop.

      As for your claims of people being hurt and offended by Archbishop Sheen, I could care less about those who whine about being offended by anyone. Our nation has become a nation of wimpy victims. Sheen talked tough, and liberals hated him then and now.

      If you have any documented cases to offer illustrating his having harmed someone, then post it. Otherwise, shut up with the gossip.

      I don’t expect to see you comply with any serious documentation.

      • Angie Derwell

        As you can see in my reply above, Sheen caused offense by adopting so many fashionably liberal policies of the tumultuous late 1060’s. He lived long enough to make amends, but the damage was done.

        • GG

          He is not responsible for the liberal bishops that came after him.

    • GG

      Show your proof.

      • Angie Derwell

        Sheen had never been a pastor and, for the best intentions, was an unrealistic romantic when it came to running a real diocese. True, his successor Matthew Clark virtually destroyed the diocese and his excellent new successor has a hard job ahead of him. Sheen was bishop of Rochester during his “trendy period.” He appropriated some anti-capitalist sentiments popular at the time with the Liberation Theology movement, and insulted the officers of the Kodak Company for “not doing enough for the poor.” It was a dramatic and unfounded charge. especially as Sheen knew nothing about Kodak and had never consulted with those who ran the company. This attack nearly lost Rochester its major industry. Sheen lost the support of many military families by strongly opposing the Vietnam War, and he raised eyebrows when he suggested that the “three modern saints” were John Kennedy, Dag Hammarskjold, and Mahatma Ghandi. He imposed the the liturgical reforms of Vatican II with little explanation or sensitivity, and although he had grown up with the old Latin Mass, he forbade it (and even refused his own brother’s request on Long Island that he be buried with the Latin Mass. ) There was nothing in canon law that would have prohibited a bishop from giving an indult, as Paul VI himself said.) Very soon, many Catholics were protesting by dropping
        buttons in the collection. As one historian of Rochester, Father Robert McNamara, put it, “his one constant fear was that Catholicism
        would be judged by other Americans as behind the times or irrelevant. ”
        Sheen told a synod of bishops meeting in Rome that “it would be
        important to bring competent laymen into the running of our seminaries
        because some of them have a deeper spirit of faith than we find in some
        priests.”

        On January 5, 1968, Pope Paul VI named two auxiliary bishops for the
        diocese: Dennis Walter Hickey, the vicar general, and John Edgar
        McCafferty, a member of the Priests’ Council and a former chairman of
        the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission. They were welcomed by the diocesan clergy, for many were growing cold toward Bishop Sheen.

        Some clergy considered the bishop’s policies radical and perhaps designed to keep his name in the headlines. Sheen did not like to attend meetings, and clergy learned quickly that if a committee disagreed with him, he would call no further
        meetings.

        All of these frustrations came to a head in the spring of 1967. Sheen
        would give to the federal government the property of St. Bridget’s
        inner-city parish on which to erect housing for the poor as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s’s “Great Society.” Sheen decided to give St. Bridgit’s parish to the federal government for this purpose. The parishioners were not consulted. The pastor learned about it only by reading the front page of the local newspaper.

        Local urban renewal officials were unhappy,charging that HUD had gone over their heads in making the deal. The congregation of St. Bridget’s was unhappy. The priests were up in arms over the bishop’s exercise of his authority. Sheen issued a press release on February 28, 1968, Ash Wednesday, describing the deal he had made with the federal government.

        The next morning, six student pickets, who had been working in the
        parish, protested. Father Francis Vogt, pastor of St. Bridget’s, called
        the bishop’s gift a “mistake”. Another priest told a reporter, “If the
        Bishop wants to make some grand gestures, he could move down here and live and then maybe he would be selling his books instead of giving away church property.”

        After only three years of these and other disasters, the Holy See accepted Sheen’s resignation.

        There is a lot of other information which you can research, but you may find this sufficient “proof.”

        • GG

          He was not an administrator. You bring up a small slice of his life. He did not teach error. That some cry babies are still whining, decades later, is no proof he is not a saint.

          • Fargo106

            She didn’t say he wasn’t a saint… she said he was a disaster in Rochester and many folks there would be happy for him to be in NYC, or Peoria, or anywhere but Rochester. She backed it up with tales of his time there, none of which was to imply that he is isn’t a saint. I like Sheen. I don’t know if he is a saint or not, but based on Angie’s post I can see why the folks of Rochester were not pleased with his administration of affairs there.

        • Marc L

          What are your sources? You seem to write from both personal experience but also from references. I’m interested in learning more about the local history.

          I live here in Rochester and my mother’s family was here all during Sheen’s tenure. It’s true what you say, but I’ve never heard actual stories about that time. You should see the ambivalence of a Rochesterian from the late ’60s about the man, though. So well loved as a teacher and personality; so let down, almost ashamed by his failure as a prelate.

      • Angie Derwell

        GG-
        I have offered some proof. There is much more. Do you have a response?

    • RufusChoate

      Documentation, please. I seem to recall that Rochester had a string of truly awful Shepherds but I have never heard this claim.

  • John200

    Bishop Sheen had an intellect that put him far beyond most of his contemporaries. That is a sin, in 2014 secular eyes which promote secularism on earth, and hell as the followup.

    His second “sin” (if you are a Roman Catholic, you will recognize it as a virtue!) is his insistence on orthodox (ie, normal, properly catechized) Roman Catholic faith as the way to live this rather short life and enjoy the eternal denouement which is to follow.

    Oh gosh, I made a sarcasm, or an irony, or a satire, or whatever it was, and I might have offended some professionally offended doink. I am so sorry, unless it helps the doink, who might be an atheist, a heretic, or an apostate, come to the truth. In that case, I am glad to have made my little contribution.

    That is what Bishop Sheen was trying to do and, in many cases, did.

    BTW, if he is canonized as a saint, it means that he lived as a saint and now, following careful formal procedures, the Church recognizes how he lived.

  • BillinJax

    It just occurred to me that sending Bishop Sheen’s body to Illinois would be proper and in keeping with the (CINO) NY governor’s request that Christians who were not tolerant of his secularizing of New York society should leave the state.

    • RufusChoate

      Bravo Well played… a solid hit.

  • ForChristAlone

    Msgr Chalres Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington DC writes a splendid blog which I always look forward to reading. This past week, he boldly set out his views about the decision of the Archdiocese of New York to allow Gays and their like to march in next year’s St Patricks Day parade. If you want a clear example of how our AmChurch works, read what Msgr Pope posted on his blog. You can bet your bottom dollar that Dolan got on the phone to his beloved comrade Cardinal Wuerl of Washington (Msgr Pope’s ordinary) and blasted this public rebuke by one of Wuerl’s priests. Tell me what you think of how the ‘good ole boys’ network is well-greased. Here’s goes:

    Many of you have expressed concern about a blog post I wrote on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was removed. I am grateful for your concern about this and all the issues we discuss here. I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense.

    I remain concerned about the central point of the article, namely, how we as Catholics can effectively engage a culture that increasingly requires us to affirm what we cannot reasonably affirm. There are many prudential decisions involved in the answer to this question, and my intent is not to directly criticize any bishop or diocese. But this is an issue we must all collectively wrestle with as our culture and our faith reach deeper differences.

    I am grateful to the Archdiocese of Washington, which has generously sponsored our conversation on this site for five years. I am also grateful to all of you who read and comment. I ask mutual charity and understanding for all parties involved. The beautiful motto of James Cardinal Hickey, who ordained me, rings just now in my heart:Veritatem in Caritate (the truth in charity).

  • Stephen Hitchings

    There is a lot of sense in these arguments, but I have always had difficulty with waiting 50 years to start proceedings because it is so much more difficult to get accurate information about the person when most of all of the witnesses are dead.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Surely the fact of an authentic public cultus is more convincing testimony than that of individuals who happened to know him.

      There are many saints of whose lives nothing is known, but their names have been preserved and their intercession sought by the faithful.

  • Jim in Pittsburgh

    This morning I will go to Mass and pray to Bishop Sheen for his intercession for the Church in the U.S. It is shameful that half of the comments involve insults against Archbishop Dolan, and the scandal of the St. Patrick’s parade. Even if they are true, this is not the place for it. What a shameful tirade has nothing practical to say about Bishop Sheen’s cause.
    Perhaps Crisis will print an article advising us simple laymen on how we can promote the cause of Bishop Sheen – a ” How to” piece would be in order. I’m willing to start one in my parish. Just give me some practical, correct advice. Maybe there are thousands of others like me who can do the same. Being over 60 will not be necessary. There are so many videos od Sheen, and many books that the average layman can use to promote his cause. How about it, Crisis? Help us simple souls “rekickstart” the process.

    • TommyD6of11

      Whether this venue is a correct one for discussions of Cardinal Dolans’ decision to promote homosexuality is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade … done so for the all important post modern dictate to be inclusive … is open to debate. I, for one, have observed that many of the most necessary debates take place spontaneously in odd situations and often at least initially unconstrained by normal rules of decorum. In any case, this subject too is worthy of proper illumination by the profound writers of Crisis.

      So how bout Crisis? How about two article.

  • John

    I think it would be wrong to assert that only the historically illiterate or theologically uninformed have views that diverge from papal infallibility (19th century), somacentrism or the theologies that underpin them. I have read the Canonical Gospels as well as a few books on the forgotten (or censored) role of gnosis (“consciousness,” which I note is etymologically identical to “conscience”) in the Early Church (particularly the one John the Evangelist founded), implied throughout the Gospels and celebrated, among others, by Clement of Alexandria. I heartily endorse Elaine Pagel’s books on the subject, as they are clear, thorough and impartial, if shocking to some.

    • DE-173

      “I heartily endorse Elaine Pagel’s books on the subject, as they are clear, thorough and impartial, if shocking to some.”

      Do you always recommend the inane drivel of heresy cloaked as secular academic inquiry?

      • John

        Do please correct me if I’m wrong here: I don’t think history can be heresy, since the orthodoxy/heresy distinction deals traditionally with faith and morals, not history.

      • John

        I was not aware that history could be orthodox or heterodox. Please explain.

        • GG

          History can be revisionist or unbiased.

          • John

            It’s refreshing to hear you say that. I insist that you read the book for yourself, and let me know what you think of it. 🙂

          • John

            Well hello, GG. Everybody hates when history is revised in a way that puts their friends in a bad light. Nearly everybody also hates when history is unbiased, because it is then bound to put their friends in a bad light somewhere. It is what it is. And that’s why I fully expect Pagels’ books to be hated. Hardly anybody is really interested in knowing how Christianity was formed. Why not just go ahead and read something of hers, and tell me what you think!

  • John

    I think it’s wrong to imply that those who question papal infallibility (19th century) or somacentrism somehow must be historically illiterate or theologically uninformed. I encourage everyone to read some of Elaine Pagels’s books which are clear, balanced and a total shock to the system. Blessings!

    • GG

      She is an ideologue. Save the propaganda for the credulous.

      • Art Anders

        Pagels is a laughing stock even among the serious scholars in Princeton. But she seems to be a good businesswoman they way she turns out her popular potboilers. What she writes is so blatantly defective, that anyone who takes her seriously is insulting himself.

  • Regina Barzyk

    Great article Mr Donald S. Prudlo.

    Personally I was uncomfortable with the rush and the “people’s” running about.
    Archbishop Sheen was a greatly educated and intelligent man. He was also very holy. I believe that he is laughing right now.

    I agree with the waiting period. Nowadays everyone wants things “now”.

    Thank you
    many blessings
    Regina Barzyk
    North Carolina

  • joxxer

    Good points I had not considered. Thanks.

  • Fr Dan

    After reading the comments here it made me aware of all the nasty catholics in the church

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Yes there are, and I just might be the worst of them. But I’ve also dealt with a lot of nasty prelates in the last 35 years.

    • Dick Prudlo

      Do you have a real name, Dan, really? Have you something to say that will not offend someone? Then say it. Let’s give it the big test. You could blow off a twelve gauge at most parishes and not hit a Catholic. Catholic, father, is capitalized.

  • Fargo106

    Did the following statement in the article surprise anyone other than me:

    “The bodies of saints, besides the Eucharist, are the greatest thing possessed by the Church on earth…”
    I have not heard that before and I am inclined to differ. First, how does verify that claim. Secondly, could the church survive without the bodies of saints? I think it could. But could it survive without priests to administer the sacraments? Perhaps, but I’m not sure how. Thus, I’d contend our priests and seminarians are the greatest things the church possesses.

    • Marc L

      A valiant effort, but I’m pretty sure the author was emphasizing “things” in contrast to living souls.
      And please don’t claim I’ve just asserted that the Eucharist is “dead.”

      • Fargo106

        That distinction between “things” and living souls would make the author’s statement more plausible to me. I just didn’t immediately see that when reading the article… thanks for the insight Marc.

  • barthomew

    Bishop Sheen once returned to Louvain or Leuven in Belgium where he had studied and said that there is more wisdom in the cobblestones of Louvain than in the minds of many humans. Dolan’s resistance suggests he has the stubborness of a stone rather than the wisdom of a saint, at least on the subject of the remains of Sheen.
    Note that the body of Damien was physically divided between his native city of Louvain or Leuven and the Molokai island of lepers he served.

  • Minnesota Mary

    This tussle over the body of Bishop Sheen reminds me of the fight between the Devil and St. Michael the Archangel over who would have the body of Moses. See Jude 1:9

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