A miracle for Fulton Sheen?

An investigation has begun, according to CNS:

That James Fulton Engstrom celebrated his first birthday Sept. 16 is amazing. In fact, some would call his life a miracle.

Considered stillborn one year ago after his mother’s healthy pregnancy and “a beautiful, short labor,” James was without a pulse for the first 61 minutes of his life. It was only when doctors at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria were ready to call the time of death that his little heart started beating.

His parents, Travis and Bonnie Engstrom, believe James is alive because of the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a candidate for sainthood.

On Sept. 7, a tribunal of inquiry was sworn in to investigate the tot’s alleged miraculous healing. Joining James and his family at the ceremony in Peoria were Bishop Daniel R. Jenky; Andrea Ambrosi, postulator for the cause; and members of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation board, some of whom are relatives of the late archbishop.

Peoria is the late archbishop’s home diocese. His cause was officially opened in 2002. The Sheen Foundation centralized its operations in the diocese in 2007.

In addition to Bishop Jenky and Ambrosi, others sworn in included Msgr. Jason Gray, a pastor and judicial vicar of the diocesan marriage tribunal, who as episcopal delegate to the Sheen tribunal is responsible for guiding the process; and Dr. Louis Varela, a Houston family physician, who chairs the Sheen Foundation board and is the Sheen tribunal’s medical expert.

The tribunal’s work takes place in secret, so there is much that Msgr. Gray cannot say. But since the Engstroms have shared their story widely, he said the general details could be made public.

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6 responses to “A miracle for Fulton Sheen?”

  1. Hope it proves to be true. Fulton Sheen was a major gift of God to our Church. It is interesting to see how many still watch his tapes and read his books.

    I also find it interesting how things with Fulton Sheen are similar in ways to the issues with Father Frank Pavone.

    Sheen could be difficult at times when his authority was challenged. In the early 1950s, he and Cardinal Spellman, a very proud man, engaged in a bitter feud largely over the dispersal of Society funds. The struggle led to a private audience before Pius XII, who sided with Sheen. In a rage, Spellman terminated Sheen’s television series, made him a local outcast, and drove him from the Archdiocese. In 1966, Sheen became the Bishop of Rochester.

    Interesting and I wonder if Pavone and Zurek end up going before Pope Benedict XVI, if this would work out the same. I doubt it would be as public as back then, but I am willing to bet that Pope Benedict wants to see Father Frank back working with PFL full time. I suspect the issue again is money as PFL annual budget is multiple times that for the dioceses of Amarillo. If the Pope takes council from Cardinal Burke, it could prove interesting. He is becoming a major force in the Vatican… http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/world-news/detail/articolo/burke-stati-uniti-estados-unidos-united-states-6028/

  2. I grew up listening to Fulton Sheen on national television preaching to Catholics and non-Catholics alike about Christianity from a Catholic perspective.

    And I have grown old listening to Father Pavone on EWTN preaching to the choir about the true evil of abortion.

    To paraphrase that famous quote from a vice-presidential debate held long ago confirming that Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, Father Pavone is no Bishop Sheen.

    But if Cardinal Burke says Pavone should be freed from Amarillo to lobby the choir once again in behalf of the unborn, that would be enough for me. I might even send a shekel or two to Priests for Life unworried as to what might be done with it.

    Having lived in St. Louis when Burke was its archbishop, I know that Burke, love him or loathe him, is the real deal, a kosher Catholic leader unaffected by the caprices of Vatican II yet welded to its truths.

    But, given all that, Frank Pavone is still no Fulton Sheen, whether the latter is a saint or not.

  3. I received my college diploma from “Uncle Fultie” who at that time presided at all the graduations at the college. I believe he was a holy man. (Ah, but those eyes, that smile, that voice!)

  4. I find more similarities between Bishop Fulton Sheen and Father Robert Barron than with Father Pavone.

    I think that Bishop Sheen was indeed a Saint, miracle or not, but in my opinion the Church is making saints to fast. It took decades, sometimes centuries in the past for the Church to officially declare a Saint. Now it takes just a few years, but I think that we are too close to the events and lives of these saints (small “s”). Time gives perspective and allows the contemporary fervor to quiet and the true proportion to come into focus. Persons like Fulton Sheen, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Jose Maria Escriva, etc., are just to close to us and still evoke emotions based on living memory which may not be the surest thing to determine official sainthood. But that is my opinion only.

    I am glad the baby was blessed by the intervention of Bishop Sheen and hope the investigations will prove successful.

  5. # 4 Rudy

    The word ” saint ” scripturally does not refer to special people who have been canonized by a church council or special people who are venerated by masses bowing , kissing or burning candles in their images.
    The term ” saint ” in GOD’S word is simply defined in
    1 Cor. 1:2 . Anyone made holy in Jesus Christ, anyone calling upon his name , repenting and surrendering their lives and making Him Lord and Savior, a ” true ” Christian, is a saint !

  6. Jireh: I know the distinction, that is why I mentioned the difference between Saints and saints. Saints with a capital S are declared officially by the authority of the Catholic Church after certain requirements are met that validate the person canonized holiness of life. Of course all the elect in baptism are saints, with lower case s, but certainly not all of us live lives of holiness even after our baptism. We don’t the exact number of Saints and saints in heaven, but on those declared so by the Church there is a certainty that they have achieved the beatific vision.

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