Bishop Sheen moves closer to beatification

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Fulton Sheen

Archbishop Fulton Sheen is but two steps from beatification in the quest to have him canonized a saint, the Peoria Diocese said Tuesday.

With the validations of medical experts and now theologians that a miracle involving a newborn nearly four years ago should be attributed to Sheen, it now is up to the Pope’s advisors to make a recommendation and finally Pope Francis to declare the former Peorian “Blessed,” the Diocese said in a news release.

The release said word came Tuesday to Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky that the seven-member theological commission that advises the Vatican on Causes of Saints unanimously agreed with the Vatican’s medical experts on the recommendation.

The case involves a stillborn baby born in September 2010. For over an hour the child demonstrated no signs of life as medical professionals attempted every possible life saving procedure, while the child's parents and loved ones began immediately to seek the intercession of Fulton Sheen. After 61 minutes the baby was restored to full life and more than three years later demonstrates a full recovery.   

Tuesday's decision by the theologians comes after the March vote by the team of Vatican medical experts who affirmed that they could find no natural explanation for the child's healing. “The case will next be reviewed by the cardinals and bishops who advise the Pope on these matters.  Finally, the miracle would be presented to Pope Francis who would then officially affirm that God performed a miracle through the intercession of Fulton Sheen,” the diocese said. There is no timeline as to when these next steps might move forward. 

If Pope Francis validates this proposed miracle, Sheen could then be declared "Blessed" in a ceremony that could be celebrated in Peoria, Sheen's hometown. Upon the Holy Father signing the decree for the beatification, an additional miracle would lead to the Canonization of Archbishop Sheen, in which he would be declared a “Saint.” 


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).