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Bishop’s sainthood held up by bodily confusion

Bishop’s sainthood held up by bodily confusion

Bishop Fulton Sheen was the host of a very popular syndicated television show through the 1950s. His explanations of the faith made religion comprehensible and compelling for millions, as RNS explains.


After his death, the petition to make him a saint began almost immediately. He was declared ‘venerable’ in 2002, with the diocese of Peoria, where Sheen grew up and was ordained, fostering his cause. However, it has now hit an odd roadblock.

A third New York cardinal-archbishop, Timothy Dolan, refused to allow Sheen’s body to be moved from Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral to Peoria’s St. Mary’s. Citing the wishes of the family and asserting his own devotion to Sheen, Dolan said he would only permit some bone fragments and other relics from the coffin to go to Peoria. Whereupon Jenky, unsatisfied with this medieval division of the remains, called an indefinite halt to the canonization proceedings.

Other saints, like St. Catherine of Siena, are bodily split between two different places, but for now, the episcopal wrangling over corporal remains is posing a conundrum for the drive to sainthood.

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