Sheen Cause Over?

Sheen Cause Over? December 5, 2019

Ominous whisperings from Rome tonight concerning the beatification cause of Bishop Sheen have trickled stateside.  Rocco Palma, writer of the Blog Whispers in the Loggia, tweeted earlier today the following,

Amid ongoing “surprise & confusion” over sudden Beatification halt, early Thursday, a house op in Rome relayed that “Sheen cause is over” – read: permanently. Given the gravity of the report, Whispers sought a formal comment from the Holy See… …6 hours later, no response.

And that tweet was amid the shadowy machinations of the Diocese of Rochester which has not been entirely forthcoming with its role in halting the beatification.  The problems rests with Sheen’s time as bishop of that diocese.  There is concern that he transferred an abusive priest to another parish during his time as bishop.  The priest, a Fr. Guli, now laicized, was actually transferred under Sheen’s successor.  The laicized priest is still alive at age 95 and says that Sheen never transferred him.  Diocesan records support this view.  Bishop Matano, the current bishop, protested to the Vatican this past summer that Sheen should not be beatified till this was cleared up. The relevant Vatican and Peoria offices did due diligence and cleared Sheen.  What has not been reported is that after the Sheen cause was put forward again, Bishop Matano objected strenuously again to the Vatican Ambassador to the U.S.  The bishop is not powerful enough to stop the process himself so two archbishops were enlisted to help, Cardinals Cupich and Dolan.  The rest of the news is already known to you.  The process is halted indefinitely pending the outcome of the Attorney General of New York’s report on abuse in the dioceses of the state, just in case they happen to perpetuate the slander against Sheen.  As I mentioned before, such cowardice from ecclesiastics unwilling to publicly support the truth is reprehensible.

Something stinks to high heaven.  One of the worst sins among clerics is clerical envy.  Sheen had to suffer the effects of this sin from his confreres many times in life and now apparently even in death.  Halting a beatification this far along has not been done before, so this is serious business.  Rocco Palma’s ominous tweet probably means that there is much scurrying and worrying in Rome tonight as this brouhaha morphs into a terrible scandal about clerical jealousy and the wish to defame a noble and holy dead man’s reputation.  What once started as a rather humorous “Who gets the body” controversy between two dioceses now becomes a real problem for the Church and its ability to identify saints.  This is not a time for the Church to bleed out more authority in a scandal.  Bishop Jenky of Peoria seems to be the only one who has acted honorably in this matter, and special thanks is due to Msgr. Kruse, Vicar General of Peoria and member of the Sheen Cause, who refused to let the Diocese of Rochester dissemble on its role in halting the beatification.

Though Sheen would probably care less about his own canonization, it is necessary for the millions of faithful Catholics who have be ennobled by his words and evangelization.  If he was worthy of beatification a week ago according to the solemn decree of the Church, he is still worthy of it tonight. A terrible wrong is about to be done and only people’s outrage will be able to stop it. Let us pray that true justice will be done.

About Monsignor Eric R. Barr, STL
Monsignor Barr is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois. In his 35 years of priesthood, he has been pastor, principal, teacher, university professor, Vicar for Clergy and Vicar General. He is a former associate editor of a newspaper and a novelist. He speaks on Celtic Theology and Current Catholic Issues. You can read more about the author here.

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