Tickled indeed was I to read the news today that a miracle by the intercession of the Venerable Fulton Sheen has been approved unanimously by the medical commission that advises the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It pertains to the miraculous recovery 61 minutes after birth of a stillborn baby in 2010.
The matter will next be put before Pope Francis who, if he approves the miracle, will decree Fulton Sheen’s beatification. It could even be decreed this year.
Sheen’s beatification will no doubt worry some. He does not obviously fit the humble stereotype so much praised these days. His consistent wearing of proper episcopal attire in public, yea on television!, will most likely be seen by some as triumphalism or clericalism, &c. His skill in raising impressive amounts of money for the Pontifical Mission Society, as well as his media ministry (which earned him an Emmy award), will be used as evidence of his vanity love of attention.
Let’s be honest. He did love the spotlight, and he loved being a priest and a bishop. And why not? He was born for this vocation, so why should he not love it? He did it so well. He attracted millions to watch him on TV when Catholicism was still not quite kosher for the general run of American society. He presented the truths of the Faith in an unerringly logical and accessible way, dealt with topical and controversial subjects, displaying humanity and fidelity to truth. He made converts. He was a televangelist before the name was tarnished by the flood of charlatans who would follow in his wake. Even today, though his flowery style might take some getting used to for some, he can captivate and inspire. He was a bishop who was also an apostle. And his humility was apparent to those who cared to look. His one hour before the Blessed Sacrament every day, without fail… the veiled confessions of his own weakness in the examples he used. Humility is a realistic knowledge of self, and I suspect he had a good dose of that.
So why not watch him talk about temptation, so apt for Lent. Watch it to the end.
Blessed Fulton Sheen – sounds good!