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Sheen beatification cause delayed again as New York archdiocese appeals decision to transfer remains

December 06, 2016

A New York judge has granted the New York archdiocese a temporary stay of a court order calling for the transfer of the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen from New York to Peoria, Illinois.

The New York archdiocese had opposed the moving of the late archbishop’s remains, and appealed the court order. Judge Arlene Bluth granted the stay pending a hearing on that appeal. An attorney for the New York archdiocese expressed confidence that the appeal would be successful; a spokesman for the Peoria diocese suggested that the appeal could be quickly dismissed.

Archbishop Sheen, who gained national fame as a preacher and television personality in the 1950s, is bured in the crypt of St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York, and the archdiocese had insisted that this was his wish. His family, however, showed that in his will the archbishop had indicated a desire to be buried in a cemetery in Queens, New York.

In her November ruling authorizing the transfer of the prelate’s remains, the judge said that it was “understandable and important” that the family now wished to have Archbishop Sheen buried in Peoria, since the move would resolve an ecclesiastical conflict that has blocked the cause for the archbishop’s beatification.

The Peoria diocese, where Fulton Sheen was born and ordained to the priesthood, had promoted the cause for his beatification. In April 2014, a Vatican panel approved the authenticity of a miracle attributed to his intercession, fulfilling the requirements for his beatification. However, the process ran into a roadblock when the Peoria diocese asked for the transfer of the archbishop’s body in preparation for the beatification ceremony, and the New York archdiocese refused.


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  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Dec. 07, 2016 3:43 PM ET USA

    If the will specified what is probably Holy Cross Cemetery in Queens, why not honor it. There he would be buried in a special section near other prominent NY prelates and priests, including Fr. Richard Neuhaus, whose grave I visit frequently. His remains would then be accessible to everyone. But then Catholics seldom pursue simple and truthful solutions.

  • Posted by: WNS3234 - Dec. 06, 2016 8:20 PM ET USA

    Do the Archd of NY and Dioc of Peoria care how the rest of find this madness incredibly out of place and embarrassing for us "other" Catholics to explain? Seriously, the blight of sexual abuse beatings and parish suppressions, parochial school closings and shrinking #s of priests is glaring and this is advanced to judicial reviews. Somebody needs their ego retooled.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Dec. 06, 2016 6:49 PM ET USA

    Shame! Shame! We have the courts involved in a strictly church issue. These two dioceses should be careful getting government involved. Whenever you involve government you get strings attached. Bishop Sheen belonged to all in the Church. I watched him with my parents in Long Island and California. Neither of these dioceses own him. He should probably be buried in the National Cathedral.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Dec. 06, 2016 6:36 PM ET USA

    This contentiousness is really unbecoming. The case has been adjudicated; it's time for New York to graciously acquiesce.

  • Posted by: dad2dlj - Dec. 06, 2016 5:48 PM ET USA

    The behavior of the NY archdiocese reminds me of the embarrassing scene a number of years ago when the various orders of monks came to blows in the Church of the Hily Sepulcher in Jerusalem. And we wonder why interest in Christianity is waning in the world.

  • Posted by: Archpriest - Dec. 06, 2016 5:36 PM ET USA

    Does the archdiocese of New York and its archbishop realize how scandalous and wasteful of resources these court actions are? This is arrogance gone wild. Hasn't the Church put enough money into the pockets of lawyers already? For what? To have another tourist attraction? Cardinal Dolan and the archdiocese of New York should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Dec. 06, 2016 12:21 PM ET USA

    The behavior of the Archdiocese of New York in this case has been embarrassing and shameful. Venerable Sheen belongs in a real way to all of America, and stopping the cause of his canonization for reasons that effectively amount to possessiveness truly is terrible.