The Fulton Sheen Movement is circulating a petition to revive the beatification process for Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.
The petition follows a three-and-a-half-year postponement period at the recommendation of Bishop Salvatore Matano of the Diocese of Rochester. The purported reason for the pause was to wait for the results of the New York attorney general’s investigation into Catholic bishops’ handling of sexual abuse complaints in the state.
The Holy See has thoroughly investigated the archbishop’s life. The New York attorney general’s investigation also found nothing that should cause doubt in proceeding with Sheen’s cause for canonization.
In 2019, the medical and theological commissions assigned by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints confirmed a miracle brought about through Sheen’s intercession, which is required for beatification.
The final step remaining in the process would be a Mass of beatification, featuring a ceremonial proclamation of Sheen as “blessed.” The Mass was originally scheduled for December 21, 2019, but has yet to be rescheduled.
According to their website, the Fulton Sheen Movement was founded to “re-light the torch to set the new date for Sheen’s beatification Mass by uniting the voices of the faithful all around the world….”
The movement aims to rally the lay faithful to support the Diocese of Peoria and Bishop Louis Tylka in their ongoing effort to determine a date in 2023 for the beatification Mass of Sheen to be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria, Illinois.
The Fulton Sheen Movement’s website asserts that their petition to Church authorities is a response to his call to action for the laity.
“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It’s up to you, the people,” Sheen once said. “You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”
The Fulton Sheen Movement states: “This petition comes from the heart of the laity who are crying out for heroic and bold leadership in the Church — a leadership we see in Venerable Fulton Sheen.”
Fulton Sheen was a priest known for many things, including his passion for evangelization, social justice issues, priestly sanctity, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Above all, the Fulton Sheen Movement points out that Sheen’s devotion to the Eucharist serves as an important model in the current context of the Eucharistic Revival.
He promised God that he would make a daily Holy Hour from the day of his ordination until the day of his death, and he often credited this time before the Blessed Sacrament with the success of his ministry.
Many hope that, should his cause be pushed forward, the power and graces of his intercession will be unleashed and the faithful will be inspired to love Christ more in the Eucharist.