What’s the Latest on Fulton Sheen’s Canonization?

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Venerable Fulton J. Sheen reached millions of Americans with his radio and TV shows. His evangelization efforts earned the respect and admiration of many both within the Catholic Church and outside of the Church.

In 2002, the cause for his canonization was opened. The process has been newsworthy, to say the least. The cause for his canonization saw two dioceses squabble over his remains, leading to a temporary pause in the process. Once that was sorted it out, the cause was allowed to continue.

Where do things stand?

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI approved the heroic virtue of Sheen’s life, paving the way for beatification if a miracle could be attributed to his intercession. That miracle was approved in the summer of 2019, and a date for beatification was announced for December 21, 2019. However, On December 3, 2019, the Vatican delayed the beatification.

What’s the holdup?

The allegation from the Diocese of Peoria is that the Diocese of Rochester, NY requested the delay. Rochester is concerned that an investigation into the Catholic dioceses of New York by the state’s Attorney General could shine a bad light on how Sheen handled priests with abuse allegations on their record. However, Peoria maintains that issue has already been investigated thoroughly by the cause’s diocesan and Vatican reviews. It should also be noted that no allegations of abuse have been made against Fulton Sheen.

When will the AG release the report?

The investigation into the diocese’s of the state of New York was launched in 2018 by then-Attorney General Barbara Underwood in 2018. In 2019, Letitia James took over as New York’s attorney general and has not released any information on what the investigation has found. There is no word on when any such report would be released. It is also possible that COVID-19 has caused some further delays in the AG’s office. It should also be noted that New York is also investigating other high profile cases as well, including one into President Trump and his family.

Why wait for New York? Why doesn’t the Vatican do their own investigation?

The short answer is: the Vatican already did, as did Peoria. The delay is simply a matter of prudence while the state of New York does its own investigation. For those who eagerly await the beatification of Fulton Sheen, patience is required.

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