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PEORIA, Illinois, December 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A blistering commentary published over the weekend on a website devoted to the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen accuses the Diocese of Rochester of “sabotaging” the popular preacher’s beatification, which had been scheduled for later this month.  

Monsignor James Kruse, who has been described as a “key cog in Peoria Diocese’s sainthood campaign for Sheen,” and has reportedly worked for years on the Cause for Sheen’s canonization, penned the acerbic article. It asserts that the Rochester, New York Diocese has been working for months to ensure that the beloved bishop’s beatification would not occur.  

Kruse suggests that sinister motives underlie the Diocese of Rochester’s recent call to the Vatican to exercise caution as that diocese finds itself buried under more than 70 new claims of sexual predation and cover up dating back a few decades.   

The “Rochester Diocese’s revelation of these undisclosed cases simply follows the same pattern that Rochester Diocese has executed since this past Spring,” writes Kruse. “This pattern is simple: The Sheen Cause takes a step forward and then the Rochester Diocese acts to block the Beatification.” 

“When examining the pattern it is hard not to believe that the Diocese of Rochester acts more to sabotage the Cause and less to protect the good of the Church,” he adds. 

Kruse goes on to supply a lengthy timeline of events concerning the drama of Sheen’s Cause. This timeline, he says, “reveals that under the veneer of the Rochester Diocese’s call for caution, more than an overwhelming majority of people would conclude that it is an unexplainable act of sabotage – a sabotage that simply hurts the faithful.”  

‘The timing stinks!’

“[T]he Rochester Diocese’s lack of full disclosure simply smears Sheen. The timing stinks!” says Kruse.

The “Rochester Diocese’s pattern begun last Spring: Sheen’s Cause takes a step forward and Rochester acts to block the Cause,” he writes. “Constantly the Diocese of Rochester calls for greater caution, but it is hard not to think that [they] simply act to sabotage the Cause.”

He continues:

[T]he Rochester Diocese acted to block the Cause. This was not really an act of caution, but appears to simply be another act of sabotage. All of the reasons for this sabotage are unknown. But one reason [Rochester Bishop Salvatore] Matano has made clear: Sheen’s Beatification can only come after the Attorney General’s report. Sadly, [Matano] has subjugated a Church decision to the civil authority of the Attorney General of New York. Regretfully, it appears that only after receiving the Attorney General’s approval, will Sheen enjoy Beatification. We also must wait to see if [the] Rochester Diocese’s established pattern will continue even after this report.   

In conclusion, I regret that my statement today may cause greater difficulty for the faithful. I regret how deeply these events have challenged their faith and how on face value appear to be so shameful. But, I remind the faithful that Sheen’s administration has been exonerated. 

The accusatory letter comes just a few days after the Vatican announced that Sheen’s beatification had been delayed indefinitely due to concerns of a few members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – later revealed to be Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, and New York City’s Cardinal Dolan.  

Sheen’s beatification was to have taken place in less than two weeks, on December 21, at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Illinois. Sheen was ordained to the priesthood there 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, allowing 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.