VATICAN CITY, December 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, beloved by generations of American Catholics, has been abruptly put on hold by the Vatican.
“The Holy See decided to postpone the date of Beatification, at the request of a few members of the Bishop’s Conference who have asked for further consideration,” according to a press release from the Diocese of Peoria, where Sheen’s beatification ceremony was to take place.
“In our current climate, it is important for the faithful to know that there has never been, nor is there now, any allegation against Sheen involving the abuse of a minor,” continues the statement. “At no time has his life of virtue ever been called into question.”
Peoria Bishop Danial Jenky “is firmly convinced of the great holiness of the Venerable Servant of God and remains confident that Sheen will be beatified. Bishop Jenky has every intention of continuing the Cause, but no further date for Beatification has been discussed.”
“BREAKING: Holy See postpones Sheen beatification,” reported Michael R. Heinlein, editor of Simply Catholic. “Apparently comes at request of some members of Bishops’ conference.”
BREAKING: Holy See postpones Sheen beatification. Apparently comes at request of some members of Bishops’ conference.
— Michael R. Heinlein (@HeinleinMichael) December 3, 2019
Sheen’s beatification was to take place in less than three weeks, on December 21, at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Illinois, where Sheen was ordained to the priesthood on September 20, 1919.
The Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria were locked in a court battle over Sheen’s body for several years. The Diocese of Peoria ultimately prevailed earlier this year, which allowed the beatification process to continue.
Sheen was a popular teacher and radio and television personality in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. His television show “Life is Worth Living” reached millions of viewers of all faiths, supplementing more than 50 books.
In 1947, Archbishop Sheen in a memorable radio sermon laid out the dozen or so tricks the anti-Christ will use to destroy Christians.
Like the devil, whose trademark signature is to twist the truth to sell sin, so the anti-Christ, according to Sheen, will twist the minds of men to make them believe he is the “Great Humanitarian” who will “talk peace, prosperity, and plenty.”
“He will write books on the new idea of God to suit the way people live. He will invoke religion to destroy religion. He will even speak of Christ and say that he was the greatest man who ever lived,” he said.
“In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one; he will not believe in God,” he continued. “And because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect.”
“He will set up a counter-Church, which will be the ape of the Church because he the devil is the ape of God. It will be the mystical body of the anti-Christ that will in all externals resemble the Church as the mystical body of Christ. In desperate need for God, he will induce modern man, in his loneliness and frustration, to hunger more and more for membership in his community that will give man enlargement of purpose, without any need of personal amendment and without the admission of personal guilt. These are days in which the devil has been given a particularly long rope,” the archbishop added.
A critic of Nazism and Communism, Sheen was also an effective proponent of racial harmony. During the Second World War, he wrote: “For a Catholic to be anti-Semitic, is to be un-Catholic.” He deplored nuclear weapons as immoral and also, for a time, advocated for an American withdrawal from the conflict in Vietnam.