Saturday, June 18, 2016

Suit Seeks To Have Archbishop Sheen's Remains Moved To Illinois

Last Monday, the niece of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen filed suit in a New York state trial court seeking to have Sheen's body, which is now buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, disinterred and moved to a cathedral in Peoria, Illinois.  Sheen was ordained as a priest in Peoria.  He was the host of a widely watched award-winning television show titled Life Is Worth Living broadcast in the 1950's. Sheen served as Auxiliary Bishop of New York from 1951 to 1966.  He died in 1979.

Sheen is about to be beatified by the Vatican-- a step toward Sainthood.  The Beatification Ceremony will take place in Peoria since Peoria's Bishop Daniel Jenky was the Promoter for the Cause of Sainthood for Sheen.  According to the New York Times, New York church officials object to moving the remains, saying that it was Sheen's personal wish to be permanently buried beneath the high altar of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They are apparently willing however to allow Sheen's remains to be moved temporarily to Peoria for the Beatification Ceremony, but then returned to New York.  The complaint (full text attached to press release) in Cunningham v. Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral, (Sup. Ct. NY County, filed 6/13/2016), contends that:
if Archbishop Sheen knew during his lifetime that he would be declared a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church that it would have been his wish that his remains be interred in St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria.... St. Mary's was the church he attended with his family as a youth and where he made his first Holy Communion.
(See prior related posting.) As an aside, perhaps reflecting a deficient spell check program, the complaint (as opposed to the press release attached to it) consistently refers to Sheen's upcoming "Beautification" rather than "Beatification."