Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen canonization effort cause for pause

From a reader: Good Morning Matt! Below is a link to, what i think, is a great article on Bishop Sheen from the Peoria prospective. Interestingly enough, Bishop Callahan is kind of in the middle of this since he was a pastor in Peoria and then "worked" for Dolan in Milwaukee.
It’s ugly to play tug-of-war with a dead man.

It’s even worse for Roman Catholics, especially those in central Illinois. The man in the middle is Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, the one-time Peoria priest who later earned celebrity and adoration as TV’s original televangelist. Thirty-five years after dying, he still commands a wide audience — though with Sheen’s sterling legacy dragged into the center of a nasty dust-up between the Peoria diocese and the Archdiocese of New York.

An earnest campaign to canonize the El Paso native has sputtered once again, hampered by the huffing and puffing of bishop vs. archbishop. It’s a strange saga, like a soap opera with pointy hats.

Though neither the Peoria diocese nor New York archdiocese returned my requests for comment, they’ve been roundly pounding each other with press releases. Depending on how you read them, the canonization effort is either dead or resting — or possibly primed for a hijacking by New York.

A dozen years ago, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky launched the long, hard push for sainthood. The designation is no mere title among the faithful: Catholics can petition saints for intercession and prayer. Plus, if the effort were successful, Sheen would be the first American-born bishop to reach sainthood, not a bad nod to his old stomping (and praying) grounds of Peoria.

A key custom of the canonization: the remains of a saint get buried at the site of his diocese. For Sheen, that gets a little tricky: he started his priesthood in Peoria, though he spent the bulk of his career in New York — where his body is buried (with other deceased bishops) under St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Remains are key to Catholics as relics, for their spiritual significance. Relics often are displayed as a memorial to allow followers to venerate a saint, such as with a kiss.

With the Sheen effort, sainthood would require his remains to be buried in Peoria — likely in a shrine at St. Mary’s Cathedral, where he was ordained. According to the Peoria diocese, Bishop Jenky met in 2002 and 2004 with Cardinal Edward Egan, then the leader of the Archdiocese of New York. Egan, according to Jenky, pledged that the archdiocese had no interest in pursuing Sheen’s sainthood but would work to move his remains to Peoria “at the appropriate time.”
Read more: http://www.pjstar.com/article/20140908/News/140909266#ixzz3CqK2xXt5

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