Tag Archives: cause for beatification

Civil court rules Fulton Sheen’s remains can go to Peoria

Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen

NEW YORK CITY, NY – The Superior Court of New York ruled Friday, 8 June 2018, in favour of Joan Sheen Cunningham, who had petitioned to move the body of her uncle, Venerable Fulton Sheen, to the Cathedral of St Mary in Peoria. The body of the late archbishop is currently in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

The Diocese of Peoria welcomed the decision.

“This is the second time that the Superior Court of New York has ruled in favour of Joan Sheen Cunningham’s petition,” read a June 8 statement from the Peoria diocese.

The judge, Arlene Bluth, ruled that “the location of Archbishop Sheen’s final resting place would not have been his primary concern” and that “it makes no sense, given his lifelong devotion to the Catholic Church, that he would choose a location over the chance to become a saint.”

The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonisation in 2002 after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Benedict XVI recognised the heroic virtues of the archbishop.

However, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended the beatification cause in September 2014 on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese.

The Archdiocese of New York, however, has said that Vatican officials have said the Peoria diocese can pursue Sheen’s canonisation regardless of whether his body is at rest there.

Sheen was born in Illinois in 1895, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria at the age of 24. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, and he remained there until his appointment as Bishop of Rochester in 1966. He retired in 1969 and moved back to New York City until his death in 1979.

Sheen’s will had declared his wish to be buried in the Archdiocese of New York Calvary Cemetery. Soon after Sheen died, Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York asked Cunningham, Sheen’s closest living relative, if his remains could be placed in the New York cathedral’s crypt, and she consented.

Cunningham has said that Sheen would have wanted to have been interred in Peoria if he knew that he would be considered for sainthood. In 2016, she filed a legal complaint seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to Peoria.

An initial court ruling had sided with Cunningham, but a state appeals court overturned that ruling, saying it had failed to give sufficient attention to a sworn statement from a colleague of Archbishop Sheen, Monsignor Hilary C Franco, a witness for the New York archdiocese.

Msgr Franco had said that Sheen told him he wanted to be buried in New York and that Cardinal Cooke had offered him a space in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The appeals court ordered “a full exploration” of the archbishop’s desires.

The Diocese of Peoria said that the New York superior court ruled this week that Msgr Franco “testified completely in line with the testimony of Joan Sheen Cunningham. Therefore, both supported their understanding that above all else Archbishop Sheen would not have objected to his remains being transferred to Peoria.”

“Furthermore, the Archdiocese of New York could not supply any further testimony against Joan Sheen Cunningham’s petition. The court ruled that their testimony was fundamentally the same,” the Peoria diocese said.

Bluth ruled that “Mrs Cunningham has offered a sound reason and a laudable purpose for her petition” and that Sheen “would care much less about the location of his earthly remains than his ability … to continue to serve man and God on a grand scale after his earthly demise.”

The Peoria diocese expressed their hope that the Archdiocese of New York “will cease their legal resistance and respect the ruling of the Superior Court. Bishop Jenky hopes that the New York Archdiocese will cooperate with … the practical matters as to moving the remains of Venerable Archbishop Sheen to Peoria, Illinois. It is the hope that this process will begin immediately.”

The Diocese of Peoria said that moving Sheen’s body to Peoria will be the next step towards bringing his beatification to completion.

“Bishop Jenky encourages everyone to pray for a renewed spirit of cooperation in the effort to beatify Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.”

Sheen served as host of the “Catholic Hour” radio show and the television show “Life is Worth Living.”

In addition to his pioneering radio and television shows, Archbishop Sheen authored many books, with proceeds supporting foreign missions. He headed the Society for the Propagation of the Faith at one point in his life, and continued to be a leading figure in US Catholicism until his death.

Archbishop Sheen’s intercession is credited with the miraculous recovery of a pronounced stillborn American baby from the Peoria area.

In June 2014, a panel of theologians that advises the Congregation for the Causes of Saints ruled that the baby’s recovery was miraculous.

The baby, later named James Fulton Engstrom, was born in September 2010 showing no signs of life. As medical professionals tried to revive him, his parents prayed for his recovery through the intercession of Fulton Sheen.

Although the baby showed no pulse for an hour after his birth, his heart started beating again and he escaped serious medical problems. – CNA/EWTN News

New book reveals details of John Paul I’s death

ROME – A new book discloses details about the death of Pope John Paul I – who died in 1978 after just 33 days in office – and conclusive evidence that his death was the result of a heart attack, as previously thought, the CNA/EWTN News posted on its news portal on 6 Nov 2017.

In the book, called “Papa Luciani: Chronicle of a Death,” Vatican journalist Stefania Falasca presents thoroughly-researched evidence, including previously undisclosed medical reports, witness testimonies and Vatican documents, confirming original reports that the late pontiff died of a heart attack.

Albino Luciani, who was born on 17 Oct 1912 in Italy’s northern Veneto region, was elected Bishop of Rome at the age of 65. He took the name Pope John Paul to honour both of his immediate predecessors, St John XXIII and Bl Paul VI.

His term as pope was short-lived, however, as he died suddenly on 28 Sept 1978, after only 33 days in office. It has been presumed his death was caused by a heart attack, but a lack of published evidence has allowed conspiracy theories to surface, including insinuations of murder.

The book will be released Nov 7, which is said to coincide with the announcement that John Paul I’s cause for sainthood is moving forward. According to Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli, on Nov 7 or 8 the Vatican may announce Pope Francis’ approval of the “heroic virtue” of Albino Luciani, declaring him “venerable.”

This then opens the path for his beatification, which requires the approval of a miracle attributed to his intercession. Currently, the Vatican is examining two alleged miracles from the late Pope’s intercession.

In her book, Falasca, who also serves as vice-postulator of Luciani’s cause for sainthood, outlines evidence regarding John Paul I’s death, including how the evening before his death he suffered a severe pain in his chest for about five minutes, a symptom of a heart problem.

It occurred while sitting and praying vespers in the chapel with his Irish secretary, Msgr John Magee, before dinner. The pope rejected the suggestion to call for a doctor and the pain went away without treatment. His doctor, Renato Buzzonetti, was only informed of the event after his death.

Contrary to what was first announced by the Vatican, however, it wasn’t the pope’s secretaries who first found him the next morning, but a young sister.

When the elderly Sister Vicenza, who helped care for the pope, noticed that he had not come out of his room to take his morning coffee, she knocked on his door, opening it when he didn’t answer.

She immediately came back out in a state of shock, however, and called for the younger Sister Margherita Marin. In her sworn testimony, Sr Margherita relates that entering the room she “touched his hands, they were cold, and I saw, and was struck by the fact that his nails were a little dark.”

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is from the same region as John Paul I, contributed a preface to the book. In it he explains that while serving as Patriarch of Venice in 1975, Cardinal Luciani also suffered from a heart problem and was treated with anti-coagulants appearing to resolve it.

Sr Margherita, now 76 years old, said in her testimony that John Paul I did not seem tired or weighed down by his new responsibilities, but that she always saw him “calm, serene, full of trust, confident.”

Though his papacy was very short, requests to begin John Paul I’s beatification process followed shortly after his death and came from many parts of the world. These requests were formalized in 1990, with a document signed by 226 Brazilian bishops.

On 23 Nov 2003, he was declared a Servant of God by his immediate successor, Pope John Paul II.

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