The Venerable Fulton J. Sheen: a model of virtue for our time
Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday signed a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of the Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen, allowing him to be styled as Venerable. This is the second major step in the process of his cause for canonization. Archbishop Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, in 1919. He served the Church in Peoria for more than three decades, before being appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951, and became the Bishop of Rochester, NY in 1966.
During his years of service, he became the leading religious radio and television personality in the United States, while continuing to publish books and articles prolifically. Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria told Vatican Radio the declaration gives US Catholics renewed confidence in a timely intercessor.
“I believe [Ven. Fulton Sheen] is the perfect person to emulate in our current grave difficulties,” said Bishop Jenky, citing Sheen’s successful engagement with the culture at a time when National Socialism, the Great Depression, the Communist threat and growing moral challenges from many different quarters. “[Sheen] was not afraid to confront what was wrong,” Bishop Jenky said.
“He would dialogue with the world,” he explained, “but – I also know – he had steel in him.”