SHEEN, (Venerable) Fulton J. (1895-1979)
American bishop (later archbishop) celebrated for his preaching and work on television and radio. His cause for canonization was officially opened in 2002. In June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI recognized a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints stating that he lived a life of “heroic virtues” – a major step towards beatification – so he is now referred to as “Venerable”.
DS – Document Signed: a NINTH PRINTING of one of Sheen’s most popular books: Peace of Soul. Originally published in 1949 Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., NY and Toronto. Hardbound, cloth covers, 292 pgs. Lacking dust jacket. Boards well worn. Interior clean and fresh. On the first free endpaper Bishop Sheen has penned a dedication: To My Dear Friend, Dr. Robert Moss……with The Blessing & Cordial Homage of The Author, Fulton J. Sheen, Ascension Thursday, 1950.
Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy at The Catholic University of America as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was “exiled” by Francis Cardinal Spellman to Rochester, NY from 1966 to 1969, when he resigned and was made titular archbishop of Newport, Wales. The Spellman-Sheen feud between went back to 1957 when Spellman, in the presence of Pope Pius XII, demanded that the Society for the Propagation of Faith turn over its donations to offset a deficit in the archdiocese. Pius ruled in favor of Sheen and the mission society. Once outside the Pope’s office an enraged Cardinal Spellman turned to Archbishop Sheen and shouted angrily, “I will get even with you!” Unmoved, the Archbishop replied while looking squarely at the Cardinal with his penetrating dark eyes, “Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius!”
For 20 years as Father, later Monsignor, Sheen hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour (1930–1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1951–1957). Sheen’s final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show. For this work, Sheen twice won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Church Channel cable networks. Due to his contribution to televised preaching Sheen is often referred to as one of the first televangelists.