'Sheen is Clean' - Cause for Bishop Fulton Sheen Overcomes Obstacle
Monsignor Jason Gray, the executive director of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, has recently affirmed the untainted reputation of the late Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in the context of his beatification process. Monsignor Gray, speaking in an interview on "The World Over with Raymond Arroyo," conveyed the Foundation's belief that Archbishop Sheen's virtues have been validated and upheld, indicating that no evidence undermining his character has been discovered.
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Archbishop Fulton Sheen
The road to beatification for "America's bishop" has been marked by meticulous scrutiny both within the Church and in the legal domain. After a protracted legal battle spanning three years, the Archdiocese of New York released Archbishop Sheen's remains to the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, where he was ordained and commenced his priestly service. This decision facilitated the advancement of his beatification cause, with a set date for the beatification ceremony planned for September 20, 2019, coinciding with the centenary of his ordination.
However, an obstacle arose as New York State introduced a waiver to the statute of limitations on reporting abuse cases, which potentially enabled allegations to be brought forward regardless of the time elapsed since the alleged incidents. The uncertainty surrounding the possibility of new accusations prompted caution from the Holy See, temporarily slowing the progress of Archbishop Sheen's cause. Further complications emerged when documents raised queries about how Sheen managed abuse cases during his time as bishop of Rochester, New York, from 1966 to 1969. Thorough research and a presentation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints dispelled concerns about his conduct, leading to a rescheduled beatification date of December 22, 2019.
Subsequently, investigations by the New York attorney general's office into the state's dioceses prompted the suspension of Archbishop Sheen's cause, reflecting the prudence exercised in light of ongoing legal proceedings. However, with the conclusion of bankruptcy proceedings in Rochester, the status of the beatification cause has come under renewed scrutiny.
Monsignor Gray shared that a comprehensive review of all presented cases was undertaken in collaboration with a New York law firm representing various dioceses in the state. This scrutiny aimed to ascertain whether any allegations could cast doubt on Archbishop Sheen's character. The conclusion reached was that no evidence emerged to impugn his reputation. This affirmation was further reinforced when a delegation from Peoria met with high-ranking Vatican officials, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to present their findings.
While the Vatican's perspective remains supportive of the beatification process, Monsignor Gray noted that concerns have been predominantly raised within the U.S. hierarchy. The eagerly anticipated release of the New York attorney general's report could provide clarity on the situation. Monsignor Gray emphasized that the Foundation's desire to proceed stems from a commitment to proceed with the unanimous support of the entire bishops' conference. Despite the challenges and uncertainties, Monsignor Gray expressed confidence that the process will ultimately move forward, underscoring the importance of ensuring a thoroughly substantiated path to beatification for the revered Archbishop Sheen.
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