Tuesday 29th November 2022

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

November 2, 2021 saints No Comments

By DEB PIROCH

He could not remember an age when he didn’t want to be a priest.
Peter John Sheen was a first generation American, born of Irish parents. One of four brothers, he joked of his lack of aptitude for farming. Despite his given name, he was commonly known as “Fulton,” which was his mother’s maiden name. His hometown had the unlikely name of El Paso, Ill. Fulton’s mind must have been in the clouds, because he excelled at his studies, achieving the coveted spot of high school valedictorian.
The future author of somewhere between 60-70 books left home and started his new life by entering St. Paul’s Seminary in Minnesota, being ordained a priest in 1919. From his Ordination till his death, he made a famous promise to never omit a daily holy hour. It was a promise he kept. After a year at Catholic University, he next headed abroad to work on a double doctorate.
His first doctorate was awarded at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. Fulton learned French and was the first American there to win honors for the best philosophical treatise. And as holy people generally do, he also won souls for Christ. Time Magazine detailed that on the way to Belgium, Fulton and his brother — who was studying medicine — went by way of Paris, to practice French. There the priest met a woman who wanted to kill herself. He begged her to wait just nine days, and spent time with her every day, using a dictionary as needed to talk to her in his pigeon French. On the last day, she converted.
Finally came his doctorate in sacred theology from the Angelicum in Rome. Then his first post was a year in London, serving at a parish in Soho while teaching at St. Edmund’s, the UK’s oldest (post-Reformation) Catholic school. He fielded offers from Oxford and Columbia, as his bishop called him back to the United States, to Peoria, to test his humility and obedience. But in a year, he sent him back to Catholic University in Washington, D.C. There he would teach for many years to come. Something that Sheen himself did not know was that in 1935 his own bishop back home lobbied the Vatican that he might be made the rector of Catholic University. That letter was sent to the Vatican secretary of state, the future Pope Pius XII.
By 1926 Sheen was teaching (he would remain at this post till 1950) and dabbling in a new venture, radio. His first appearance truly was at Radio City, N.Y., on the day it opened! Guest appearances became regular and were done in addition to his teaching load. Beginning in 1930, he hosted The Catholic Hour. Though initially airing on a small amount of stations, the amount was quickly accelerated and eventually the mail count reached hundreds of thousands of letters. The archdiocese couldn’t keep up with demands for the audience tickets!
According to the U.S. Census, in 1930 there were 12 million households that had a radio. Well, four million would end up listening to Fulton Sheen’s program. And he was in what today is known as a prime-time slot, dinner hour. Due to exhaustion, Sheen had to take a break in 1950.
Anyone who has listened to Fulton Sheen’s programs — which are still aired on EWTN, and can also be found on YouTube and elsewhere on the web — cannot help but be drawn by his oratory. He has a charisma before the microphone or camera, and studied speaking in Rome. That may have helped, but clearly, he had a natural gift and magnetism that drew people to his voice and persona, to hear his words and the meat behind them.
On June 11, 1951 Sheen was named bishop, serving as auxiliary to the Archdiocese of New York. That same year he began hosting, Life Is Worth Living (1951-1957). The show was pegged in the TV line-up opposite Milton Berle, but Sheen bested him in the ratings.
Everyone watched, not just Catholics. Estimates said that an average of thirty million listened to the program. And he never used notes. Fr. John Baptist Ku, OP, on the website of the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph, has written about Fulton Sheen.
For each half-hour telecast, he prepared for about thirty hours, yielding an hour’s worth of material. Though he “would forget this or that point” which he intended to deliver, he “could draw on the store of accumulated information to take its place. To clarify the subject in his mind, Sheen would deliver the talk in French and Italian to a staff member and a professor a few days before the show. . . . Sheen’s first rule for teaching, preaching and giving retreats was ‘. . . never sit. Fires cannot be started seated. If the students would have to “stand” for my lectures, I ought to stand for them.’ He believed that a preacher who uses notes is about as effective as a man proposing to a girl from a notebook.”
Though it was hard for him, in 1957 he finally left his teaching post at Catholic University to focus on a new role, head of the Society for the Propagation for the Faith. Within three years, he was back on the air with, The Fulton Sheen Program. The show aired until 1968, and his popularity soared. The money that Sheen earned was all donated to the Society, and donations poured in. He was able to send millions abroad, much of it helping non-Christians, too.
At age 70, life gave Sheen a “curve ball” when Cardinal Spellman appointed him bishop of Rochester, N.Y. Some thought it was a punishment as the two were engaged in a dispute of sorts. Bishop Sheen resigned three years later, at which point he was named archbishop of the Titular See of Newport, Wales.
My Confirmation sponsor worked in Rochester for Catholic Charities, supervising counseling for unwed mothers and families. At the time her own mother died, Bishop Sheen was there, and he took time to attend the funeral. It might be said he made time for everyone.
Indeed, the FBI even had a dossier on him. But the file contains nothing damning, mainly numerous friendly letters that Edgar J. Hoover wrote to Fulton Sheen, including one thanking him for addressing the FBI Academy. The FBI also praised a film he did on Communism, noting that the FBI should use it for their teaching in FBI classrooms.
The file also finally relates how the priest invited Louis Budenz, editor of the Communist Daily Worker, to meet and chat about Communism and his soul. Later Budenz returned, not to discuss the Revolution, but the state of his own conversion.
Two months before Sheen’s death in 1979, Pope St. John Paul II met him in New York and embraced him, saying: “You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You are a loyal son of the Church!” He might just as well have said, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23). The look on Fulton’s face is tremendous.
Pope Benedict XVI, who knew Sheen from the days of Vatican II, promulgated a decree on his heroic virtue in 2012. Now Venerable Sheen’s beatification has been approved and we await the date and, we hope, one day, his canonization. For intercessory prayers go to: celebratesheen.com.

Beatification Miracle

Eleven years ago, Bonnie Engstrom and her husband were expecting a baby in Illinois. The pregnancy had gone well and during the months they had enjoyed watching Fulton Sheen so much on television that they decided if they had a boy to name him James Fulton. She began asking his intercession throughout every day of her pregnancy. When it came time for delivery, the unthinkable happened: a knot formed in the umbilical cord and the baby boy was born with no heartbeat.
According to a Catholic News Service report, as the medical team worked on him for 61 minutes, she repeated over and over, “Fulton Sheen. Fulton Sheen. Fulton Sheen.”
Finally, the baby’s heart began beating and while the parents were cautioned as to what handicaps to expect, today their little boy is completely healthy. The boy who was dead an hour, lives.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Seems Biden is warning us of another Democratic sweep tonight? Hmmm!

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Zen found guilty in Hong Kong trial

CWN Editor’s Note: Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired Bishop of Hong Kong, was found guilty on November 25 on charges of failing to register a charitable fund that provided legal help for defendants accused of violating China’s draconian new “security” law. The cardinal and five co-defendants will be required to pay a fine equivalent to $500. After his conviction, Cardinal Zen said that the case should not be seen as a violation of religious freedom.…Continue Reading

Kansas Judge Blocks State Law Banning Doctors From Providing Abortion Pills to Patients Online

A Kansas judge has blocked a state law that banned doctors from providing abortion pills through telemedicine. Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson granted an abortionists request for a temporary injunction

Archbishop Broglio elected USCCB president

BALTIMORE (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was elected Tuesday to serve as the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The U.S. bishops elected Archbishop Broglio, the current secretary of the USCCB, to a three-year term as president by a vote of 138-99.

Michigan Legalizes Abortions Up to Birth After Leftist Billionaires Spend Millions Buying Votes

Michigan will become the next state to legalzie abortions up to birth after voters approved the dangerous and radical Proposition 3 to would elimiate every single pro-life law in the state, including parental consent. The 55-45 result in favor of the pro-abortion amendment was not surprising given the millions of dollars leftist billionaires pooured into the state to buy votes with false and misleading television commercials that lied about the effects of the measure. Rich,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider Restate Concerns About Restrictions on Traditional Liturgy

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Raymond Burke has questioned the basis of papal-led efforts to restrict and eventually eliminate the traditional Latin Mass, while Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said the “millennium-old treasure” cannot be destroyed, as it is the work of the Holy Spirit. The cardinal and bishop kindly shared their comments as part of a talk I gave the Latin Mass Society in London on Oct. 21. As concerns deepen over this pontificate’s

Divine Mercy Shrine In Wisconsin Defaced With Graffiti

By JONAH McKEOWN ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CNA) — A Catholic parish in southern Wisconsin suffered a graffiti attack overnight on Sunday, November 20, that saw a large tiled display of the Divine Mercy image defaced with green spray-painted letters.Run by the Stockbridge, Mass.-based Marian Fathers, St. Peter Parish is located in Kenosha, on Lake Michigan…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Theism Reconsidered

By GARY BULLERT Paul Herrick’s latest book, Philosophy, Reasoned Belief, and Faith (University of Notre Dame Press, 2022, 459 pages, $45.00), constitutes the capstone of a forty-year career as an instructor, professional philosopher, and author. It augments more synoptically his earlier book, Think with Socrates: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. Like Socrates, philosophy is a…Continue Reading

The Blessing And Its Counterfeits

By DONALD DeMARCO The blessing, whether it is formal or informal, administered by clergy or laymen, performed in church or at home, is an everyday occurrence in Catholic life. It is a way in which God’s grace is invoked to benefit its intended recipient.We bless our house, our food, our religious articles, people who are…Continue Reading

Putin’s “Winter War” On Ukraine

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Winter has often proven an indispensable ally of Mother Russia.The impending winter of 1812-13 forced Napoleon’s withdrawal from Moscow, a retreat from which his Grande Armée never recovered.The winter of 1941-1942 sealed the ultimate fate of the invading armies of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.Vladimir Putin’s new strategy in the war he…Continue Reading

But The Catholic Bishops Just Rebuked Her… Nancy Pelosi Claims She’s a “Devout Catholic”

By STEVEN ERTELT WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — During her farewell address as Speaker to fellow Democrats on November 17, Nancy Pelosi called herself a “devout Catholic.” But nothing could be further from the truth.“I stand before you as Speaker of the House, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a devout Catholic, a proud Democrat,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Conforming Ourselves To Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10Romans 15:4-9Matt. 3:1-12 In the first reading today, we hear about a shoot that will sprout from the stump of Jesse. Jesse, recall, was the father of King David. The promise made to King David was that one of his sons would sit on his throne in perpetuity.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on the Bible is from the book Catholicism & Scripture. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. Contact us at the addresses provided below. Special Course On Catholicism And Scripture (Chapter 8) To get the people away from worshiping…Continue Reading

When All Seems Lost

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As I look around and survey the general situation, things seem very bleak, as I’m sure they do also for many others. The world is at war, fighting and killing consuming lives, as well as livelihoods, homes, and wealth. Civilization is lost under the rubble as barbarism reigns. A war is waged in the womb…Continue Reading

The Not-So-Nice Origins And Meanings Of The Word “Nice”

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this article on November 13 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + Words can change meaning over time — sometimes dramatically. For example, “manufactured” originally meant “handmade” (manu (hand) + facere (make)). The word “decimate” used to mean “to reduce by a tenth” (decem = ten); now people…Continue Reading

A Very Blessed Place To Be

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5Romans 13:11-14Matt. 24:37-44 As we begin a new Church year today, we find ourselves balanced on the summit of a mountain. From our perch on this height, we look one direction and we see what is behind us, we look the other direction and we see what is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Padre Pio And The Poor Souls

By DEB PIROCH Part 2 “Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in the most need of Thy mercy” — Fatima prayer. + + This week we continue to discuss the special closeness St. Pio had with the suffering souls in Purgatory. Yes, he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Francis De Sales, Author And Apologist

By DEB PIROCH Anger is not a sin. It is how one employs anger that can lead to sin, but Christ Himself was justifiably angered when His house of prayer was transformed into a “den of thieves.” What did Christ mean?A church is for praying, for celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass, for the distribution of the sacraments. It is…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)