The following comes from a June 15 story on Catholic World News
The stalled beatification cause of Archbishop Fulton Sheen could soon resume, thanks to a petition by his family members weighing in on where he should be buried.
Joan Sheen Cunningham, the archbishop’s oldest living relative, was joined by other relatives of the archbishop in filing the legal petition with the Supreme Court of the State of New York, asking that the body be transferred to Peoria, Illinois.
“With the progress that the cause has already made, a beatification could be celebrated shortly after the arrival of the remains in Peoria and with the approval of Pope Francis,” the Diocese of Peoria said June 14 in its comment on the petition.
The transfer could take place as soon as the court grants approval, according to the diocese. The petition seeks to inter the archbishop in a crypt in St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Peoria. It claims that “in the very near future” the Vatican will order the beatification ceremony to be held in Peoria.
The Diocese of Peoria said that Bishop Daniel Jenky, is “immensely grateful” for the work of Cunningham and her family. The bishop is looking forward to resuming the archbishop’s cause of beatification.
In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI authorized a decree that recognized the heroic virtues of the beloved archbishop, who served as host of the “Catholic Hour” radio show and the television show “Life is Worth Living.”
Archbishop Sheen also authored many books, with proceeds supporting foreign missions. He headed the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and served as an auxiliary bishop of New York and as Bishop of Rochester. He continued to be a leading figure in U.S. Catholicism until his death in 1979 at the age of 84.
Sheen was born in the Peoria diocese and served as an altar boy at its cathedral, where he was ordained a priest in 1919.
The Peoria diocese opened the Cause for Canonization in 2002 after the New York archdiocese said it would not explore the case.
Despite the progress of the cause for beatification, Archbishop Sheen’s body became the subject of an impasse between the Peoria diocese and the New York archdiocese. His body is interred in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. The Peoria diocese was unable to obtain permission to exhume and transfer the archbishop’s remains. Bishop Jenky suspended the beatification cause in September 2014.
The Archdiocese of New York said that Archbishop Sheen expressly stated his desire that his remains be interred in New York. The archdiocese also cited an official instruction from the Holy See 10 years ago that Sheen’s body not be moved to Peoria.
Due to this instruction, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said in 2014 that he was hesitant to exhume the body before receiving explicit permission from the Vatican and from close family members.
Now, officials in the Peoria diocese hope for further action.
“I am confident that the Archdiocese of New York will cooperate fully with the request of the family of Archbishop Sheen,” Monsignor James Kruse, vicar general of the Diocese of Peoria, said June 14.
“On several occasions, the archdiocese has declared its desire to cooperate with the wishes of the family,” he said. “I cannot imagine that the archdiocese would oppose the family’s petition presented to the court. It is our hope that the archdiocese will offer their consent to this petition to expedite these matters.”
According to the diocese, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has no objection to the transfer of the body. It added that the congregation has repeatedly voiced appreciation for the diocese’s promotion of the beatification cause.
Joan Sheen Cunningham’s petition said that if Archbishop Sheen knew he would be declared a saint, he would have wanted to be interred in Peoria’s St. Mary’s Cathedral. The petition noted his first Holy Communion and his priestly ordination took place at the cathedral. His parents are buried within blocks of the cathedral, and most of his living relatives still reside near Peoria.
“A shrine to Archbishop Sheen is in the process of being built next to the altar in St. Mary’s where the marble crypt is to be located,” the petition said.
The New York archdiocese is pleased at the apparent progress, but more steps may be necessary, said archdiocese spokesperson Joseph Zwilling.
He told CNA that the archdiocese had made its own proposal several weeks previously, after securing the advice and consent of Cunningham.
According to Zwilling, this proposal would balance Sheen’s desire to be permanently buried in New York with “the understandable desire of the Diocese of Peoria to have his earthly remains present in their diocese for the celebration of his long hoped-for beatification.”
Zwilling said the New York archdiocese asked the Peoria diocese to reopen the cause with the understanding that Sheen’s remains would be sent to Peoria for a beatification ceremony as soon as it was announced. The archbishop’s remains would then be returned to the crypt at St. Patrick’s Cathedral “at an appropriate time.”
“The Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome tells us all that is holding up the cause is the letter from the Bishop of Peoria reopening the cause he closed two years ago,” said the archdiocese’s spokesman.
He said the archdiocese will need some time to review Cunningham’s legal petition, but he said it is “definitely encouraging that the Diocese of Peoria seems ready to reopen the cause.”
“Bishop Daniel Jenky and all who have done so much to advance the cause of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen are owed a great debt of gratitude for all of the work that they have accomplished thus far,” he said. “If it be God’s will, may we soon be celebrating the news that Archbishop Sheen will be beatified in Peoria.”
Archbishop Sheen’s intercession is credited with the miraculous recovery of a pronounced stillborn American baby from the Peoria area.
In June 2014, a panel of theologians that advises the Congregation for the Causes of Saints ruled that the baby’s recovery was miraculous.
The baby, later named James Fulton Engstrom, was born in September 2010 showing no signs of life. As medical professionals tried to revive him, his parents prayed for his recovery through the intercession of Fulton Sheen.
Although the baby showed no pulse for an hour after his birth, his heart started beating again and he escaped serious medical problems.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a living Saint who was the most prophetic Preacher of the 20th Century. His television program Life Is Worth Living was way ahead of its time and is still relevant today. Where is today’s Archbishop Fulton Sheen? I hope and pray that his beatification takes place very soon. Archbishop Fulton Sheen pray for us.
I am so THRILLED that beloved Archbishop Sheen’s Cause for Canonization has been re-opened! I have been a HUGE Sheen fan, all of my life!
It is about time ! However, knowing how things are going on in the Vatican, I bet it will be a long and drawn out process.
Dolan has been an obstructionist.
Bishop Daniel Jenky and those in his Diocese did all the work.
Looking forward to Abp Sheen being declared a Saint by the Church.
A possible barrier to his canonization is the case that he may have fabricated earning a second doctorate: America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (Reeves) pgs. 65-70 Sheen constantly sought fulfillment in the wider world not only because of the excitement and challenge but also because he found life at Catholic University less than pleasant. The fifteen-man theological faculty consisted of many quarrelsome and unproductive professors who were moonlighting off campus to compensate for their low salaries and routinely defying the administration. The reputation of the theology program at CUA had slipped badly.30
In January 1927, Sheen became involved in a bitter struggle over a proposal to offer undergraduate seminary…
“….He might remain an instructor for years, slowly creeping his way up the academic ladder. (His old friend Charles Hart was promoted to full professor twenty-two years after receiving his doctorate, thirty-one years after he joined the faculty.)34 Sheen believed he deserved better and had been promised more. He was in demand, becoming nationally, even internationally, famous. So he did something, perhaps with great reluctance, that was highly uncharacteristic, and shocking to anyone who knew him—something that would become his darkest secret. Fulton invented a second doctorate for himself. .
“….Initially, the new degree listed was an S.T.D., a doctorate of sacred theology. The rector and the vice-rector each had an S.T.D., which is an earned degree, as required by the campus constitution.35 (Vice-Rector Edward A. Pace also had a Ph.D.) Old Testament scholar Franz J. Coln, dean of the School of Theology, had a Ph.D. but no S.T.D. Many of the theologians held doctorates of sacred theology. The S.T.D. first appeared under Sheen’s name in the General Information catalogue for 1927–28, on a list of the School of the Sacred Sciences faculty. But on the faculty listings that required dates and places of degrees, no second doctorate appeared that year.36 In the Courses of Study catalogue for 1928–29, Sheen for the first time…
“….Sheen also began switching from S.T.D. to D.D. at times. (They were never listed together.) In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Doctor of Divinity degree had been earned as well as honorary.40 By this time, however, the D.D. was usually an honorary degree, often bestowed upon bishops and other dignitaries. The first reference to a D.D. appeared in Sheen’s application for early promotion (the typing appears to be his), where he listed his doctoral credentials as “Ph.D., D.D.”41 The Catholic Who’s Who from 1930 and the Marquis Who’s Who in America for 1930–31 both listed the D.D. and cited its origin as the University of Rome, evidently assuming that “Rome” after D.D. meant the campus in the Eternal City that Sheen never…
“….It is interesting to note that the S.T.D. was listed under Sheen’s name, along with his Ph.D., in every CUA catalogue from 1927 until he left the campus in 1950. He never cited the D.D. in the official campus publication; but then, no one else on the faculty listed that degree either. A few other honorary degrees were listed—Sheen himself cited an honorary LL.D. beginning in 1931—but not the D.D.45 In 1942, Sheen claimed that the D.D. had come from the Angelicum.46 Five years later, in a curriculum vitae that appears to have been typed by Sheen, we see the same claim.47 In his annual reports to CUA officials in mid-1947 and in mid-1949, there was no mention of a second doctorate. 48 Nor was a second doctorate reported in the Time…
“…On the more general level, perhaps there was some laxity about credentials at CUA during this period, the assumption being that only wholly honorable men would teach at the pontifical institution. In 1930, Rev. William J. DesLongchamps, a full professor who had been named dean of the proposed School of Liturgical Music, resigned after the discovery that his “Mus.D. Rome” was fraudulent. This was unearthed not by the faculty but by the wealthy woman, Mrs. Justine Ward, who offered funding for the school. Indeed, when the administration hesitated to suspend Des
Longchamps immediately, Mrs. Ward withdrew her financial offer.51 The reason behind Fulton’s creation of the D.D. for himself remains puzzling.52 The same is true of Fulton’s…
Diocese of Peoria ought to enlist the aid of some fearless fishermen from Bari to bring the good archbishop home again.
Are you referring to the ones who brought back St. Nicholas?
I know of all of this information too, Brian. I also know, that a long time ago, university degrees were not of the same structure as they are today. Many years ago, degrees were not given in the same manner, with the same structure of classes and requirements, as they are, in today’s world. Degrees were not so much looked up to, as to be a master of your subject! Also, in Europe, the way in which students study and obtain their credentials, or degrees– is different than in the U.S. Somehow, a professional had to put something down on paper, to justify his position. I will continue…
I will continue. So, I have wondered if these “degrees” were not really fabricated, it just so happened that people in responsibility, at CUA, and at book publishing houses, went ahead and made up certain lists at various times, of what they believed to be Sheen’s achievements and credentials, both in the U.S. and in Europe– in a manner that would look appropriate, in an academic publication, or in one of Sheen’s books. I have wondered if some terms were used interchangeably, or else also– certain types of university degrees and degree programs, have also actually changed their names. Some usages of certain terms, may have become also out-of-date, archaic. We’ll see!
I truly hope that someday, a reliable source can explain this problem, with Sheen, and the seemingly faked credentials! Also, I would like a very good explanation, of the man in Beverly Hills, or Hollywood– who got very angry with Sheen, for spending perhaps too much time with his aspiring-actress wife— discussing her interest in the Catholic religion?? Or something very naughty? It hurts too much, to think of that! Hope this can be explained!
“I am so THRILLED that beloved Archbishop Sheen’s Cause for Canonization has been re-opened! I have been a HUGE Sheen fan, all of my life!”
If, you are so THRILLED, and a HUGE fan then please explain why you would write such a naughty post at 2:02 am? Something is quite fishy, to say the least. Please explain your real motive for writing that.
Catherine– I am a lifelong fan. of Abp. Sheen! However, I and many other Catholics, have found ourselves to be UNFAIRLY DECEIVED, due to certain things that have occurred, in our Church, over the years!! What is the truth, behind the strangely (faked?) credentials, of Abp. Sheen– and the allegations of adultery?? BETTER THAT WE DON’T KNOW THESE THINGS– better to let time p[ass, and let history be history. But the canonization process, WILL REVEAL THE TRUTH!! HEARTBREAKING!!
Linda Maria, When all is said and done, like St. Athanasius, God knows who His saints are. There is overwhelming evidence that both Padre Pio and Bishop Sheen, led numerous amounts of souls to Jesus through Mary. I believe there is a better way for you to help all Catholics truly understand what actually happened at the hijacking of Vatican II. Bishop Sheen and Padre Pio would NEVER have blamed the massacre in Orlando on the Catholic Church. Today, many are leading souls away from God. Pray for their conversions and courage to publicly apologize for denying Christ by throwing stones at His Revealed Truths.
Catherine, a 1950’s Vatican investigation of allegations that beloved, gifted, holy Padre Pio may have been guilty of serious allegations of womanizing, revealed that the allegations may be true– and that this heart-breaking result, may hinder any future possible canonization process, for the stigmata-bearing friar! Makes you SICK!! Anyway– I guess later, when they did succeed in canonizing St. Pio, all turned out well! It is so PAINFUL, to see these scandals, of beloved Church figures!
Linda Maria, Church history is replete with examples of false allegations against good men. We do know that St. Peter denied knowing Christ three times and yet Our Lord said, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church” Here is a beautiful quote from Bishop Sheen.. “I am certain that it was God Who made certain people throw stones at me, but I am just as certain that I have thrown stones at other people, and for those stonings I beg His mercy and pardon.” Of his devotion to the Mother of God there never was any doubt. His earlier book on Our Lady, The World’s First Love, must be one of the finest pieces written on the Blessed Virgin this century.”
Catherine– I am heartsick for the Church, and so weary of all the great amount of problems that seem to never end! One night, some years ago, I watched a TV program on the life of Pope St. John Paul II, and suddenly they showed a series of affectionate letters between the Pope and a married lady, dating back many long years, even before he became the Pope! I burst into tears! WHY this situation?? And what did it mean, and what happened? Well– I waited patiently, and finally, the narrator of the program said at the very end, that the two were just friends, and that was all– and the lady herself explained it! RELIEF!! Continued…
Well, there are a great many books, TV shows, and some movies, too, on the life of Pope St. John Paul II!! Both he and Ven. Sheen adored Our Lady, lifelong, too! LOVE Ven. Sheen’s beautiful book on her! It is my hope that Ven. Sheen’s life will turn out to be SPOTLESS, under the Vatican’s scrutiny– and no further impediments will exist, for his Cause for Canonization to move forward!
Brian, your description of the apparent 2 doctoral discrepancies of Bp. Sheen is interesting as it relates to the possible delay in his canonization process.
I don’t think there is doubt that he did earn a Ph.D at the Institut Catholique, Louvain (Leuven), Belgium about 1923. I know many now-deceased USF Jesuit theology teachers back-when, they who were virtual contemporaries of Sheen, often referred to Sheen as an outstanding philosopher, his concentration in epistemology, esp. the philosophy of science. No one then called his credentials into question.
Is it not possible in fact he obtained an advanced doctorate, common in those days (both JP2 and BXVI did so, but in different ways—-JP2 did his 1st Ph.D at the…
..but in a different manner, 1st getting his Ph.D at the Angelicum, his adv. degree later at the Jagellonian in Warsaw ). I have been told it was common to obtain an advanced Ph.D. during a shortened course of study at the Angelicum “in the old days”, under an order from the Sacred Cong. of Bishops, for bishops being named to a see (the old semi-honorary “D.D.”), to “credentialize” their pontifical teaching authority. This would esp. pertain to Sheen, since other than his master’s degree in theology, his actual Louvain degree was in philosophy.
As for records at the Angelicum confirming this, I understand their records are notoriously bad prior to the computer age. .. Old yellowed files in shelves.
What’s an “advanced” PhD?
Steve Phoenix– thanks for your posts! I know that in years of long ago, university credentials were not as standardized, and both Europe and America also did things differently, with courses of study, names for achievements and degrees, etc. What was most important, a long time ago– was to study hard, and to achieve true mastery of your subject! In the modern era, things are much more standardized and regulated– but this does not always reflect a person’s true mastery of their subject! (Also, in U.S. schools, since the 1960’s, much has been “dumbed-down!”) One has to be careful, of so-called “degrees!” I will continue…
I will continue… So– it is my hope, that the record of Abp. Sheen’s credentials, will be found to be perfectly fine, with no problems. I am also hoping that Thomas Reeves, who wrote the detailed book “America’s Bishop– The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen,” lacked in-depth study, of this issue. I bet Sheen himself was sort of sloppy, in his credential record-keeping. and I bet book publishers, university record-keepers, etc.– tried to compile lists of credentials the best way they could, for their own needs!
Steve Phoenix– do you know anything, as to why St. Padre Pio and Ven. Abp. Sheen both had accusations of incidents of womanizing? Sounds like St. Padre Pio had many accusations, which was a real HEARTBREAK!! Well, they made St. Pio a Saint, regardless! So, I hope in Sheen’s case, all is well, and I hope the incident was just a misunderstanding! Hope Sheen’s true record is SPOTLESS!! And NO MORE HEARTBREAKS!!
Linda M., re. Padre Pio at least, I have read about to a modestly significant extent. C.Bernard Ruffin, a history teacher (and a Lutheran pastor interestingly enough), wrote one of the earlier biographies (1991)on P.Pio in which he reviewed docunentation and also interviewed a number of then-living first-hand witnesses of the Capuchin’s life. Ruffin points out there were a lot of jealous intrigues even among many followers of P.Pio. Because P.Pio spent long hours in the confessional, which was the old-fashioned curtained type, inferences were drawn which Ruffin, remember, a Lutheran who wanted to find out the truth, debunks completely. This was why by the 1960’s a Capuchin brother or novice was posted beside PP at all times to protect…
..PP from “fans” who literally would break into the cloister and grab at his clothing and accost him.
As well (or worse ), for many years the local monsignor (you know in Italy in the 1920’s-30’s, that was equivalent to a bishop ) accused PP of sexual or similar involvement with boys. That also was later thoroughly debunked, but one of the reasons PP was sequestered for many years. (Later it was “proven” it was the monsignor who, fearful of Pio’s renowned discernment of hearts and unknown facts, was the one who was scandalously involved with children. )
One fact we do know from one of the then-young Capuchin novices who spent many long-hours as PP ‘s “bodyguard”, that PP spent whole days when not in the confessional saying the Rosary, over and over—he says he we would say fifty (50) or so EVERY DAY. I still wonder how he would “get a o many in” with his exhausting schedule.
So, as Catherine says, many saints were accused of sexual innuendo —-S. Ignatius Loyola, S. John of the Cross (they accused his “Golden Age of Spaun” poetry writings of evidencing a sexual relationship with the Carmelite sisters), likely the same with Bp. Sheen. It is all to discourage us from asking their patronage, a classic deceit of the Evil Spirit.
I so appreciate your posts, Steve Phoenix! Thanks very much! I had read, a long time ago, of jealous local Italian women chasing after Padre Pio, like a movie star, and some women spending the night in his cell, sleeping with him, and all the other jealous Italian women fighting over this. It never was explained to me, how or why an Italian woman would even be able to sneak into a Capuchin monk’s cell, and why in the world a faithful and holy priest, like St. Padre Pio, would be involved in such a terrible thing?? Do you know anything about this??
The allegations of women supposedly “sleeping with” or in P.Pio’s cell, Linda M. are entirely without factual or credible witness-basis, because, for one thing, besides the strict prohibition of cloister, the locked gates, a Capuchin novice “guard” at hus cell, and also a designated Capuchin night-watchman preventing admission to the Capuchins’ dormitory area, according to one biographer, the cell was never even allowed to be photographed so that no one could know where it was even located.
In fact, the only allegation against PP was lodged by another friar, in 2002, over 3 decades after his death. Several canonical investigation(s) resulted: nothing was substantiated. In fact prior to his death ca.2010, this friar…
…to his death, this Capuchin friar formally and publicly renounced his false claim, admitting he was driven by jealousy and by being ignored while PP was so venerated. The friar died, reciting prayers for PP’S forgiveness and intercession about 2012, and that is the source of this bogus claim.
I encourage you not to believe the lies, LM, and fully trust P.Pio’s powerful intercession.
I cannot imagine crazy, wild, disrespectful local Italian women, sneaking into Padre Pio’s cell at night, to sleep with a holy monk with Christ’s bloody stigmata! DIABOLIC!! Well– I recall blushing in deep embarrassment, when in high school, a priest read aloud to us, the beautiful poetry of St. John of the Cross (his imagery was based on the Biblical “Song of Songs.”) A wealthy married lady wanted to run away with him, but he rebuked her. Then, St. Teresa of Avila once had an adulterous confessor, whom she persuaded to leave his sinful life. I appreciate your posts, Steve Phoenix and Catherine!
It was embarrassing to learn details of the soul’s Divine Union with God, from Spain’s great “Golden Age” poet, San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross). Yet, both he and the great St. Teresa of Avila experienced this Divine Union, the final goal of Christian perfection! Similar to the union of the Bride and Groom, on their Wedding night! In our Spanish literature classes– I loved the poem, “Nada,” by St. John– not so full of embarrassing “Bride and Groom” imagery! But how funny, for young Catholic students to learn from priests and nuns– all about our final goal, union with God, in Heaven– in this way!
It hurt many people, that Pope St. John Paul II seemed to ignore the evil clergy pedophilia situation, in the Church. Especially, when he would publicly praise and reward evil pedophile priests! Also, it was shocking, that Bl. Mother Teresa, for some time, had a Jesuit confessor, who was a notorious, evil child molester! Did she ever find out the truth of this? Shocking! Best for us all to have thorough investigations of candidates for Sainthood, by the Vatican! But after that– only God knows a true Saint!
I think I have forgotten— that a Saint is only a human being, not Christ, nor His Blessed, Immaculate Mother, either! They all have had many types of difficulties in their lives, on their way to Heaven. We have many good Saints to look up to, to teach us, and to help us– even in our own day! They invoke the grace of God for us, in Heaven! We can only know so much about a candidate for Sainthood— and then, we have to trust, that all is well, that they passed the test, and that God guided the process, for us. They can help us with all of our earthly problems, and help guide us to Heaven! Most of all, though– it is Christ and His Blessed Mother, that we can turn to, always!