Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saint Archbishop Sheen? Not So Fast, Please.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen's cause for canonization is underway and he is now a Venerable. Will he be canonized? Probably. Unlike  Paul VI or John XXIII there are actually many people who have been devoted to him for decades and who have been calling for canonization.  Should he be canonized? I'm not sure. When I was younger I would've said "yes," but after re-reading Sheen's works and accounts of his life I'm leaning towards "no." Does this shock you? I loved watching re-runs of archbishop Sheen's show and I was deeply moved by The World's First Love and his Life of Christ.  His 1967, book, however Footprints In A Darkened Forrest was a clunker. I first put it down to age and illness and maybe shell-shock from  his fight with Cardinal Spellman but his enthusiasm for  Fr. Teilhard de Chardin is disturbing:

  “It is very likely that within 50 years when all the trivial, verbose disputes about the meaning of Teilhard's ‘unfortunate’ vocabulary will have died away or have taken a secondary place, Teilhard will appear like John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as the spiritual genius of the twentieth century.” 



Archbishop Sheen thought that a man like Teilhard de Chardin was a saint. Teilhard either was taken for a fool or participated in one of the greatest scientific hoaxes in history.   He also spent more time digging up bones and talking about secular and occult matters rather than conferring the sacraments.  Archbishop Sheen's was taken in by this man and also thought that Gandhi was a saint. Well, Mrs. Gandhi, their sons and some of his nieces would probably beg to differ.  It doesn't affect his personal holines but it says something about the dear archbishop's discernment.



Now,to be fair, I have to point out that a saint can make a mistake.  The Church does not say that a saint has to be 100%  correct about things that are not essential to the Faith from soup to nuts. St. John Bosco veered into papalotry on occasion in his letters. St. Vincent Ferer thought  that an antipope was the real pope for a time. Canonization requires martyrdom and/or heroic virtue.   

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen was great in the film studio and was a fine writer.  According to the FBI, his personal habits were beyond reproach. That does not automatically make him worthy of canonization. The canonization process has been cheapened and it's an embarrassment to the Church. St. Josemaria Escriva and Pope St. Paul VI both had highly questionable pasts and are now canonized. This is a scandal to many people and enemies of the Church smirk over the stories of Paul VI's sex life.   Pope Francis is going to do as he pleases but the Church really needs to pull back and return to the intense rigorous process of canonization that we once had. 

Everyone in Heaven is a saint. Most saints have not been canonized. Their lives were hidden in the mists of antiquity or their heroism was known only to God or they did not have enough people working on their cause. Not every saint needs to be canonized. Allowing Fulton Sheen to remain a Venerable for a time or forever is no insult to him. St. Romuald, founder of the Camaldolese order waited over 500 years to be canonized. St. Martin de Pores died in 1639, and was not even beatified until 1837. St. John Fisher was martyred in 1535. He was not canonized until 1935!  There is no need to rush. There's no need to make a mistake that will blow up in the Church's face later. It has to be noted that there are people still living in Rochester who will tell you that the only thing the archbishop did there was to treat them like lab rats.  

If you don't want to get on the Sheen canonization now bandwagon just yet it doesn't mean you are a bad Catholic.  Look beyond the Archbishop's glamour and ask with honest curiosity and open heart if canonization in this case is really to the glory of Our Lord and the edification of His Church.

17 comments:

rohrbachs said...

To add to the concern, it was reported that Sheen told Bella Dodd not to "name names" of the Communists she infiltrated into the Church, including the (at the time) four cardinals. What a different world this would be today had she shared that information.

Squiggyberkley said...

Canonization can take more time if at all. Saint Bede the venerable (672-735) was not canonized until 1899. Duns Scotus (1266-1308) is still Blessed. Jose Maria Escriva (1902-1975) (founder of Opus Dei who disguised himself as a farmer to escape martyrdom during the Spanish revolution) was canonized in 2002. So with enough backing (cash and connections) things can be relatively fast tracked. In the end all popes will face the judgement seat and say that they declared, (some more than others)defined, and pronounced that with reasonable certainty that certain people made it to heaven. Hence the constant discernment of spirits and noting well that there are other spirits out there other than the Holy Spirit and they are screaming rather loudly for attention.

Fred said...

Thanks for the reasoned comments on Bishop Sheen. And Escriva? After he was canonized, I can't take canonizations seriously.

Sam Sham said...

Good grief. John XXIII and Paul the Apostate are “canonized” by a heretic and you’re worried about a true saint in waiting. I’d be more concerned that having it done by him would be invalid.

Tom said...

Besides his adulation for Teilhard and his blunders as Bishop of Rochester, New York, another blot on his record is the claim of a non-existent second doctoral degree:

More troubling is an allegedly fake doctorate. Reportedly tired of lecturing to freshmen at Catholic University, Sheen applied at one point to teach older students. In the process, a hitherto unmentioned — and so-far undocumented — Ph.D. from the Pontifical College Angelicum, in Rome, materialized, miraculously or not, on Sheen's CV. He got the job. - Amy Welborn, The Sheen Cause (https://amywelborn.typepad.com/.../10/the_sheen_cause.html), quoting from a brief piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education on the cause of Archbishop Sheen (no longer online), ultimately from Thomas C. Reeves' biography of the Archbishop: America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen.

thembree said...

He got his PhD in Sacred Theology there in 1924. It's listed on Wikipedia.

Chriss Rainey said...

I could not agree more.

Chriss Rainey said...

It is worth considering that Sheen too was young and foolish once just like the rest of us. And, in a way it is somewhat more difficult to see error when you are standing right next to it than from a distance.

So what if he made a few mistakes in his life! Who hasn't? Ultimately it isn't the skeleton in his closet that matters but whether or not he persevered in faith and led others to do the same.

Fr. Dean P. said...

Its easy for you to pick on his shortcomings, but there were also many more conversions due to his preaching and work with the Propaganda Fidei. You seem to stand in judgment of his worthiness of being beatified, yet when you listen to his own words, Sheen would not consider himself worthy and often went to confession as well as heard many of them. I for one became a Catholic Priest from being a chemical engineer after listening to his audio tapes. I was living a promiscuous and faithless lifestyle, but his clear delineation of the faith as well as his clarity of thought won me back to my Catholic roots. If you really listened to his words and read all of his books, you see a burning desire for the love of God and the Blessed Mother. Yes we all have our faults and may have some regrets, but saints aren't born, they are forged in the crucible of bearing the Cross and living through their mistakes. Even St. Augustine had a child out of wedlock prior to becoming a priest, so should that scandal disqualify him from being a saint?

Squiggyberkley said...

Fr Dean is correct- "Saint" does not necessarily mean flawless. Padre Pio had a real bad temper but was very kind in the confessional according to a great aunt of mine (may she rest in peace). As I said before, I always had the Army order many of his "Wartime Prayer book" pocket sized editions (when I was a chaplain for 20 years) that I always handed out to soldiers along with copies of the Catechism and the Catholic Bible (the latter two if they requested it). Even the non Catholics found the booklet to be very helpful. He was another person that really knew how to use the media. I became a priest after reading his book and listening to his audios- on cassettes back in the day. No system is flawless, but we pronounce as the Catholic Church with "reasonable certitude..." I was an Army spy for 5 years before becoming a priest. That served me well in knowing how to keep secrets. And no, Army intelligence is not an oxy moron to those who died in this service.....
Weigh in Dymphna- what think you?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Bishop Sheen may be a saint in heaven already, but I find his late-in-life support for Chardin and his enthusiasm for Saul Alinsky troubling as well. No one expects a saint not to have had flaws, but these are pretty big deals -- to support two men who left legacies of diabolical error that affect us to this day.

I'm also troubled by the race to make people saints so quickly. It used to be hundreds of years. Let's hit the pause button on some of these canonizations.

I'm with Dymphna. "Not so fast please!"

Squiggyberkley said...

482 were canonized by Saint John Paul II- there was an Italian article titled "Troppi Santi, Santita!"- "too many holy ones, your Holiness" that came out some years back. May the Vatican guided by the Holy Spirit discern well.

Rescued by Mary said...

...Fulton Sheen - The Dramatic Liar...

His ridiculous fairytale about a mythical princess that the town of Fatima was supposedly named after, is of course completely made up in his own mind.

This little story is never contradicted, but where is the evidence for it outside the words of this tee vee fellow...???

Modern day catholics have believed all of this because they are pathetically gullible, having their intellects darkened by the lies.

The moohamadians recognize the daughter of their false prophet, so what...


And what is the lie...!!!

The lie is that the lady of Fatimiah was Mary.

When we know that she was not...

To pawn off this story about a christian knight that supposedly betrothed the daughter of Mohammad, and use this mythos as an excuse why a conquering army would name a city after the enemy they just defeated, and create some sort of connection between whatever appeared there in Portugal and the Mother of God is beyond dishonest...

It’s downright diabolical...!!!


RbM

Squiggyberkley said...

According to the Koran Fatimah is not the Virgin Mary. Hence some education for you:
Fatimah (c. 605 –632) was a daughter of the Islam Muhammad(pbuh) from his first wife Khadija. She is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. She remained at her father's side through the difficulties suffered by him at the hands of the Quraysh of Mecca. After migration to Medina, she married Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, and was mother to four of his children. She died six months after her father, and was buried in Jannat al-Baqi in the city of Medina, although the exact location of her grave is unknown. Most Shias believe that she was injured when defending Ali against the first Khalifa, and that this incident led to her early death.
She seems to have performed only three acts of political significance, each recorded in almost all sources, both Sunni and Shia, though in different versions. First, after the Conquest of Mecca she refused her protection to Abu Sufyan; after the death of the Prophet she defended Ali's cause, opposed the election of Abu Bakr, and had violent disputes with him and particularly with Umar; third, she laid claim to the property rights of her father and challenged Abu Bakr's categorical refusal to cede them, particularly Fadak and a share in the produce of Khaybar. From "An Islam Primer"

Rescued by Mary said...


A curse to mankind...!!!

That evil prayer that actually comes from Islam...!!!

Added to every Rosary by that wayward wolf in sheep clothing, shepherding a blinded flock from Portugal...

But pastor dumb dog at your antichrist church will never tell you this...

The three little children would have no way of knowing this so a demonic spirit had to have told them...

The Muslim Koran is where this smut originates...

Oh my jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell...

“Oh, lord! Surely we believe, therefore forgive us our faults and save us from the torment of the fire.”

Aal-e-Imran, Chapter 3, Verse 16


So you go ahead and keep praying to your devil lady....!!!

Disgusting heretical Roman Apostates...!!!

Kneel down and push your forehead into the ground, EXACTLY like the fallen angel told you to,

“*This prayer was also taught by the Angel of Peace at Fatima. Kneeling on the ground, the Angel bowed until his/her forehead touched the ground...”

https://thesecularbrownie.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/n00021501-b.jpg


And then hit the play button...!!!

https://quran.com/3/16

Islam conquered Rome at Fatima. Once you finally see this, things will begin to become clear.

Little wonder why all these occupants of the Vatican City State Stool have seen fit to kiss the Koran.

They can kiss my ass...!!!


RbM

Squiggyberkley said...

If you are really "rescued by Mary"- act that way! I do not advocate the teaching of the pedophile/pig Mohammed and his successors. I just pointed out that the virgin Mary is not the same as the woman the Koran calls "Fatimah."

Rescued by Mary said...

I never said that you or any one else believed that ... did I ...

The moohamadians will flock to the Fatima shrines. Because they recognize whatever appeared there as the mary of their Koran ...

And why is that ...??? Why do you think that is ...???


RbM