Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (A.D. 1895-1979), ora pro nobis!
The good archbishop and modern evangelizing pro has a special place in my heart. We hail from the same diocese of Peoria, we both have a connection with CUA, and we both know the family whose boy I believe was cured through his intercession. Needless to say, I feel close to Bishop Sheen. I hope one day to be able to call him “Blessed” officially.
He had a knack for getting to the heart of the matter and presenting the truth unabashedly throughout his entire life. He was a prolific writer and epic Catholic personality whose allegiance was no secret. He was a soldier for Christ here on earth and he continues in that vein now in death. He had much to say, a lot of it quite pithy.
Take a glimpse into the mind of this great man and archbishop with some of his “epic Sheen sayings.”
“For the new atheism is not like the old, theoretical atheism, which prided itself on being intellectually compounded of a little science, anthropology, and comparative religion. The new atheism is not of the intellect, but of the will; it is an act of free and eager rejection of morality and its demands. It starts with the affirmation of self and the denial of the moral law.”
“The best friends are those who know how to keep the same silences.”
“Fundamentalism assumes that the Bible is fundamental. Catholicism retorts…that the Bible is not a book but a collection of books, and hence the question more fundamental than Fundamentalism is: Who gathered the books together, and declared that they would constitute a Bible, and be regarded as the revealed Word of God? To answer this question is to get to a body beyond a book, namely, a Church with spirit; for Pentecost was not the descent of books on the heads of the Apostles but the descent of tongues. From that day on it was to be a tongue and a voice, and not a book, that would be fundamental in religion.”
“This is the choice before us: either try to revolutionize the world and break under it or revolutionize ourselves and remake the world.”
“To every Christian…there comes the supreme moment when he must choose between temporal pleasure and eternal freedom. In order to save our souls, we must often run the risk of losing our bodies.”
“The barbarism of the new era will not be like that of the Huns of old; it will be technical, scientific, secular, and propagandized. It will come not from without, but from within, for barbarism is not outside us; it is underneath us. Older civilizations were destroyed by imported barbarism; modern civilization breeds its own.”
“In journalism, the modern man wants controversy, not truth.”
“To pass from sadness to joy requires a birth, a moment of travail and labor, for no one ever mounts to a higher level of life without death to the lower.”
“To do God’s Will until death, that is the inner heart of all holiness.”
“In the marriage act, love is triune: wife gives self to husband and husband to self and out of that mutual self-giving is born the ecstasy of love. The spirit too must have its ecstasy. What the union of husband and wife is in the order of flesh, the union of the human and the Risen Christ is in Holy Communion.”
“A popular God-is-dead book in the United States argues that homosexuality will become normal in a humanistic society where there is no restriction of morals which come from religion. St. Paul declared homosexuality and atheism were related to one another as effect to cause.”
“The modern man has already one-half the condition of salvation: he is miserable.”
“Humility is not self-contempt but the truth about ourselves coupled with a reverence for others; it is self-surrender to the highest goal.”
“Physical idleness deteriorates the mind; spiritual idleness deteriorates the heart.”
“In the Church (post-Vatican II) began a yearning for the lusts of the world. Think of it! ‘In Egypt we had fish for the asking, cucumbers and melons, leeks and onions and garlic.’ Abortion, violence, divorce and repudiation of vows which belonged to the Egypt of the world were now by some accepted or defended. No longer was a solid, moral phalanx thrown up against the spirit of evil. It was no longer what the Church believed or the Holy Father taught, or what the Word of God cautioned; the individual conscience of and by itself became the sole standard of right and wrong: ‘Each of us doing what he pleases’ (Deuteronomy 12:8).”
“Our intellects do not make the truth; they attain it: they discover it.”
“Politeness is a way of showing externally the internal regard we have for others. Good manners are the shadows cast by virtues.”
“The disrespect for authority which is the outgrowth of the stupidity that every individual is his own determinant of right and wrong has now become an epidemic of lawlessness.”
“Modern man has become passive in the face of evil. He has so long preached a doctrine of false tolerance; has so long believed that right and wrong were only differences in a point of view, that now when evil works itself out in practice he is paralyzed to do anything against it.”
“A smile is laughter’s whisper and has its roots in the soul.”
Quotes taken from The Quotable Fulton Sheen, edited by Marlin, Rabatin, and Swan.