Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

The Sheen beatification debacle: Why?!

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 06, 2019

Further thoughts on the Sheen-beatification debacle:

  • According to Father Raymond de Souza , a very reliable reporter, Peoria’s Bishop Daniel Jenky pressed the Vatican to set an early date for the beatification. Why the haste? There’s an obvious danger in a rush toward any beatification or canonization. If there’s any hint of a negative report about the candidate, or any reason to question the process, it should be thoroughly investigated before a final decision is announced. Naturally, those with a special devotion to Archbishop Sheen want to see him recognized ASAP. But impatience is not a virtue; no harm is done by waiting until every question is answered.
  • But if the Bishop of Peoria was in a rush, no doubt that was partly because of the long months of delay that had dogged Archbishop Sheen’s cause, due to the costly and unseemly legal tug-of-war with the New York archdiocese over his physical remains. If the New York archdiocese hadn’t made every possible legal appeal to delay the process, the Sheen beatification might have happened already—before the specter of an attorney-general’s report made the bishops of New York so nervous.
  • Of course the attorney general sees an opportunity to exploit this situation only because for decades, bishops covered up criminal activity.
  • And by giving only the sketchiest of reasons for the postponement, our bishops have encouraged suspicions both that they are hiding something (again) and that Archbishop Sheen was guilty of some unnamed offense.

You might not have believed that plans for the beatification of a revered figure could be turned into another seamy squabble, another reason to mistrust the hierarchy. But our bishops have managed to do it.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Retired01 - Dec. 08, 2019 2:57 PM ET USA

    Yes indeed, if the bishops had not covered so much filth in the past, nobody would be concerned about an attorney general report. Thus, an innocent Fulton Sheen pays for the sins of so many others whose sins were covered by so many bishops in the past.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Dec. 06, 2019 8:31 PM ET USA

    Dare I say that the feud between Abp. Sheen and Cardinal Spellman reflected something considerably more serious than a misuse of Society for the Propagation of the Faith funds, which the archbishop was fully cleared of doing by Pope Pius XII ? Could Spellman's ostracizing of Sheen to Rochester have anything to do with Sheen's private condemnation of the Cardinal's personal proclivities? Vindictiveness is very much a condition of those afflicted.

  • Posted by: Cory - Dec. 06, 2019 7:17 PM ET USA

    Inneptitude and moral torpitude seems to be qualities necessary to become a bishop these days