Peoria Diocese wins latest court skirmish over remains of Fulton Sheen

PEORIA — The Catholic Diocese of Peoria on Tuesday won what it hopes was the final court battle to bring the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen to Peoria.

In a 5-0 vote, a New York appellate court rejected the latest appeal by the Archdiocese of New York to keep his remains in a crypt below St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The decision is the latest in a lengthy tug-of-warbetween the New York Archdiocese and the Peoria Diocese over the final resting place for Sheen, who was born in El Paso and ordained in Peoria. The Catholic Diocese considers the move vital in its effort to canonize Sheen.

“We hope that this will be the end with New York,” said Patricia Gibson, attorney for the Peoria Diocese.

Five days before his death, in 1979, Sheen signed a will seeking burial in the Archdiocese’s graveyard, Calvary Cemetery. But the Archdiocese instead sought and won permission from Sheen’s closest living relative, niece Joan Sheen Cunningham, to inter him in a place of honor: St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
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