Fulton Sheen process delayed by appeal

The anticipated commencement of the Cause for Canonisation of America’s Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been dealt a blow by confirmation that the transfer of his remains to the Diocese of Peoria in Illinois is to be legally challenged by the Archdiocese of New York, their current location.

On November 17, the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that the famed media prelate, whose body lies in the crypt of St Patrick’s Cathedral, could be transferred to a newly prepared vault at St Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, as per the wishes of the archbishop’s niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham who had argued in her petition not alone that such a move would aid his canonisation cause but that St Mary’s was the church where Archbishop Sheen had first been ordained to the priesthood and Peoria is the site where his parents are buried.

Announcing New York’s intention to lodge a formal appeal against the transfer, lawyer John M. Callagy said that “we are confident that we will present substantial reasons for the appeals court to overturn the initial decision”.

Born in El Paso, Illinois, in 1885, Fulton Sheen later moved with his family to Peoria and was ordained in 1919. He would later become director of the Propagation of the Faith, 1950 to 1966, and it was during this period he became famed for his use of television for evangelisation.