Fighting Over a Dead Archbishop

I find this story quite amusing. The Catholic dioceses of New York and Peoria are locked in mortal combat over the body of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a very popular radio and TV evangelist starting in the 1930s. Peoria, where he was originally ordained, wants his body to be moved from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. New York says no. Food fight!

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Ill., has already constructed a museum in honor of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a native son whose Emmy-winning television show during the 1950s brought Catholicism to the American living room. It has documented several potential miracles by him and compiled a dossier on his good works for the Vatican.

It has drawn up blueprints for an elaborate shrine in its main cathedral to house his tomb and sketched out an entire devotional campus it hopes to complete when its campaign to have him declared the first American-born male saint succeeds.

There has been just one snag in the diocese’s carefully laid veneration plans: the matter of Archbishop Sheen’s body.

Since his death in 1979, his remains have been sealed in a white marble crypt at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, the city where he spent much of his life. And though the Peoria diocese says it was promised the remains, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, who considers Archbishop Sheen something of a personal hero, has refused to part with them, citing the wishes of the archbishop and his family.

Now the dispute over Archbishop Sheen’s corpse has brought a halt to his rise to sainthood, just as he appeared close to beatification, the final stage before canonization. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, Peoria’s leader, announced this month that the process had been suspended because New York would not release the body.

Who’s got the popcorn? I say cut him in half and let them both have a piece.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Doubting Thomas

    I though that was how they did it in the old days, distribute the pieces all over as saintly relics. So Peoria, what am I bid for this leg bone?

  • Chiroptera

    Can’t they take some crackers and turn it into the body of Sheen? Or does that magic spell only have a very limited scope? I don’t have my D&D manuals handy.

  • wordsmatter

    All these guys want is to have lines of rubes gazing in adoration at a sealed white marble box and imagine that the bones of the dead guy is in there – and then exit through the gift shop.

    This problem is easily solved. Get a second marble casket and put them both on display, one in Peoria and one in NY, and declare that Saint Fulton’s bones miraculously exist simultaneously in both places.

    It’s no nuttier than anything else they expect people to believe.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    It’s nice that in this crazy, mixed up world, there us still one organization that manages to focus on the important things.

  • Larry

    Two words: 3D printer

  • Kevin Kehres

    If you want to have a laugh riot, watch some of those old “sermons”. Wow. Chewing the scenery is not the word.

    How anyone ever fell for such a disingenuous load of crap as Fulton Sheen is beyond me.

  • bushrat

    I say cut him in half and let them both have a piece.

    Seems like a nice biblical solution. Or maybe they can wait for a miracle the transport his remains.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Hey, a Roman Catholic archbishop not (yet – sfaik) charged with collaboration or coverup of child rape is a rare and precious commodity – not the sort of resource you want to waste in Peoria!

  • dingojack

    “Who’s got the popcorn? I say cut him in half and let them both have a piece”.

    Maybe they should elevate you to sainthood Ed, what with that Solomanic wisdom and everything.

    Dingo

  • dugglebogey

    Is this the Bishop Sheen that Martin Sheen took his stage name from?

  • blf

    An easier solution would be to saw Peoria and New Bonkers in half (along, say, an East-West latitude) and give the Northern half of each to the other. Much less fuss and bother, and far more practical.

  • tbp1

    I giggled all the way through the NYTimes article on Sunday.

    And I thoroughly agree with Kevin at #6. Really over the top. He reminds me of Criswell in Plan Nine from Outer Space. Either that, or a gay vampire.

  • Synfandel

    wordsmatter wrote:

    Get a second marble casket and put them both on display, one in Peoria and one in NY, and declare that Saint Fulton’s bones miraculously exist simultaneously in both places.

    Not so miraculous. It’s just in a state of quantum uncertainty until one of the caskettes is opened. Of course, Deepak Chopra might sue them for using his trademarked ‘quantum’ mumbo-jumbo.

    Another way to split the difference would be to relocate the relic halfway between in, Canton, Ohio.

  • Randomfactor

    New York should stop fighting the transfer. The Church lost its Sheen decades ago.

  • John Pieret

    Now the dispute over Archbishop Sheen’s corpse has brought a halt to his rise to sainthood, just as he appeared close to beatification, the final stage before canonization. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, Peoria’s leader, announced this month that the process had been suspended because New York would not release the body.

    Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. That’s it! New York should give Peoria Sheen’s nose so that they can clone him! It has a perfect Woody Allen/New York sensibility about it.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Have someone make up a fake body and two sealed sarcophagi. At random, Peoria gets one and New York gets the other. You can’t tell which is which without opening at least one box.

    For extra points, have the boxes made by someone named Schrödinger.

  • pickwick

    Larry @5,

    I normally give my daily allotment of internets to Modus, but it’s yours today.

  • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

    and then exit through the gift shop.

    This is the Catholic Church. Yes, they want you to leave them some money on the way out, but they’re not going to give you a t-shirt for it.

  • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

    Two words: 3D printer

    Hmm… since 3d printers use extrusion, that would actually work for some foods… sausagy-meat… and, like… Cheez Whiz…

    *runs to the patent office*

  • =8)-DX

    @Doubting Thomas

    No, they officially declared a final resting place and then some of the devout (early capitalists) just happened to have his legbone or some dust from it in their pockets, don’tcha’know, itstherealthing totallylegitimate, saint-onna-stick, cuttin’ ma own soul…

  • otrame

    Give all that you have to the poor and follow me. Or, you know, spend millions to make a fancy tomb. It’s what Jesus would have wanted, I am sure.

    My memories of Sheen are limited, as he was on before cartoons on the station I watched as a kid (remember, children, there were only three networks in those days and not all areas had three stations to broadcast them). He seemed like a relatively harmless old coot, boring as hell, but better than the people who sang “On the wings of a snow white dove, he sends his pure sweet love, as a sign from above, on the wings of a dove” with guys in a seriously overblown duck’s ass and female hairdos a slightly more solid and down to earth version of what Jan Crouch wears to this very day.

  • coragyps

    Dammit, otrame! Are you dissin’ on Ferlin Huskey?

    Sallisaw, Oklahoma only had two reliable TV stations, too…..

  • dingojack

    coragyps – was that ’cause the broadcast towers couldn’t reach above of the corn?

    😉 Dingo

  • chuckonpiggott

    @16, D C Sessions.

    You got to Schrodinger before me. Curses.

    (Don’t know how to insert an umlaut)

  • http://mostlyrational.net tacitus

    If you want to have a laugh riot, watch some of those old “sermons”. Wow. Chewing the scenery is not the word.

    They used to play his old sermons on the local Catholic radio station. Given that he would be forever ranting about evils of the Soviet Empire, I assume they were from the 1950s. And if I recall correctly, he also had some extremely regressive ideas about disciplining children too. Not a pleasant character at all, but as we know, modern Popes have a propensity to beatify just about anything that moves these days.

  • anubisprime

    This hoohaa vividly demonstrated that the katolik’s are badly out of sorts and not focussing as normal, probably distracted by certain troubles, but the RCC is missing a profitable bit of scamming by the shape of this drama.

    If they chopped up the bodily detritus from the presumably dead and decaying Archbishop. they could flog bits and bobs to the brain dead like finger bones and rib slices, I am sure once the principle is established then the bits and bobs will miraculously be never ending….is all bits are tallied up after a few years then there could be as many as 20 Archbishop Sheen’s bestowing healing and guidance unto the penitents.

    Then anyone who wants a body can have one…tis a elegant solution methinks.

    I am sure Dolan would have first dibs on the withered and flaccid bit that apparently causes a significant number of still breathing and walking priests great distress.

    Dolan can wear the shrivelled dangly bits around his neck to ward off teh ebil erection demons, and keep it under his pillow at night.

    ‘jus ‘sayin’

  • birgerjohansson

    One word. Cloning!

    (too bad if the staff mixed it up with Adolph’s DNA. “The Boys From Peoria”)

    Anyway Peoria already has a cool dead guy,; The SF author Philip Jose Farmer. They could work ot a scheme to have one casket with PJF and one with bishop Sheen, and exchange them each six moths.

  • Matt G

    Several potential miracles by Sheen have been documented? I guess it depends on what you mean by “potential”, “miracles”, and “documented”.

  • tbp1

    @#18:

    My wife and I have been in both Spain and Italy in recent years. Many of the Catholic churches there have gift shops where they will be happy to give you a t-shirt in exchange for your money.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    First, how fucking desperate for “heroes” does this Church have to be, to make this much noise about a bishop who died about 35 years ago, and whose only accomplishment is a TV show?

    And second, how fucking INSANE do they have to be, to think they can’t idolize a guy without getting into fights over where his body should be stored? Can’t they just let such a basic decision stand?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Don’t know how to insert an umlaut)

    The easy way is to look up ol’ Erwin on FOAW and copy the properly spelled word for pasting here.

    Alternately, there is a character picker tool on most systems.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    That’s it! New York should give Peoria Sheen’s nose so that they can clone him! It has a perfect Woody Allen/New York sensibility about it.

    Yes, but I have to ask…how would it play in Peoria?

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    Easy way of solving this. Just put Archbishop Fulton Sheen between the two competing groups, and have them call to him. The Archbishop will go to the one he really wants to be with.

  • tbp1

    Matt G at #28:

    Several potential miracles by Sheen have been documented? I guess it depends on what you mean by “potential”, “miracles”, and “documented”.

    If you look at the miracles supposedly worked by the early saints and the ones they accept now as evidence of sainthood, you will notice a steep decline in the quality.

  • busterggi

    What? Does no one realize that the proper place for a dead bishop is on the landing?