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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  • alwayspuzzled

    “This is not a time for the Church to bleed out more authority in a scandal.”

    The cover up scandal has produced and continues to produce many victims, both molested victims and collateral damage victims. The institutional Church does not have much moral authority left to bleed out.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    I have had my issues with Pope Francis but I’ll bet when all the information is in he will move ahead with the beatification.

  • Spiritual_Father_To_Be

    Based on this story, it seems that the reason the beatification of Bp. Sheen has been suspended is fear that the New York Attorney General’s investigation will discover some wrongdoing by Bp. Sheen. Despite the reduced credibility of the American Church hierarchy, I believe that their investigation into Bp. Sheen’s life and episcopacy was more accurate and just than a NY state investigation could be because of the latter’s susceptibility to political influence, especially in liberal NY State. It seems that the prelates involved ought to have more trust in the Church’s canonization process than fear of the state’s judicial/political machinations.

  • Tina Beal
  • This is what you get when you politicize the canonization process and turn it into the lifetime achievement award for progressive Catholics. Sheen’s fondness for Teilhard de Chardin was not enough to overcome the perception that he’s too Old Church

  • Nefertite2

    I have always thought it strange, that PEOPLE should decide who are saints. I mean – either they ARE saints or they are not. WE here on earth cannot decide that they are or should be – we are not the ones to decide that. Also – we cannot know everything that a person has done in life. Also a seemingly very holy man or woman, can have had some dirty secret that no one but he/she himself and God knew about. Maybe the Catholic church should stop these procedures altogether? It is all very mediaeval….

  • St JD George

    I laughed when I saw your name, how apropos. Pray for Mark because he is not well.
    In defiance of cowards and wicked men I choose to call him Saint Sheen. Still I must confess there are many things between his early life and his later years that are hard to totally reconcile, including this “fondness” for a man whom I consider to be a contributor to our modern day collapse trying to reform the Church of God into a new church of man.

  • Anne Cardozo Costa

    What do you mean by shadowy machinations?
    Do you seriously believe this is about jealousy? Do you know Bishop Matano?

  • Daniel F. Crawford

    Given the haste with which a prelate known to have covered for a serial abuser was canonized, it seems strange that this is suddenly important .

  • David Cromie

    Since when has the Roman church been a bastion of truth, especially when it comes to paedophile clerics?

  • Florian

    Dec. 11, 2019: Why aren’t Cupich and Dolan themselves being investigated!!!

  • Florian

    Why take the word of Dolan and Cupich….both of them are suspected of doing the same thing, aren’t they???? Is there envy involved? Jealousy? The Church should ignore both of them and investigate in an honest and through way the Three: Bp. Sheen, Dolan and Cupich…

  • Old news. Archbishop Fulton Sheen was cleared of any wrong doing. 20 years ago. Congregation for the Cause of Saints, the Diocese of Peoria, and current law enforcement reopened the case during the sainthood process, and the cause would not be completing this second step if the allegation (from a very angry, former priest who has an axe to grind) is true. It was not, however, interesting that the Diocese of Buffalo stopped the process. Again. Because they did not want his body removed from NYC. In fact, Archbishop Sheen had zero tolerance for such behavior and ignored the advice of psychologists who advised him to move a priest who was found guilty of abuse. Sheen had that priest laicized. Who, according to the NYT, was friends with said former angry priest that has an axe to grind.

  • Better than those paedophile Protestants ministers and public school teachers-who are second in highest of abuse. Highest is from family members. Catholic clerics have the lowest rate: at the height of abuse in the 1970s, the abuse was towards youth age 16 and up. Since the 1980, abuse numbers declined. Those ordained since the 90s have almost zero accusations or prosecuted cases. See NYT and USA Today for sources.