Sheen beatification delay an act of “sabotage,” Peoria official writes

“I am confident that Sheen’s Beatification will eventually take place,” Monsignor James Kruse, an official in the Diocese of Peoria involved in advancing Sheen’s cause, wrote in a lengthy Dec. 7 op-ed. “Regretfully, certain forces are now inexplicably causing its delay…may Fulton Sheen pray for us.”

U.S. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is pictured preaching in an undated photo. (CNS photo)

Peoria, Ill., Dec 7, 2019 / 09:30 pm (CNA).- After the Diocese of Rochester last week confirmed it had requested that the beatification of Venerable Fulton Sheen be delayed, a longtime Peoria diocese official is accusing the Rochester diocese of repeatedly “sabotaging” Sheen’s sainthood cause.

“Under the veneer of the Rochester diocese’s call for caution, more than an overwhelming majority of people would conclude that it is an unexplainable act of sabotage — a sabotage that simply hurts the faithful,” Monsignor James Kruse, an official in the Diocese of Peoria involved in advancing Sheen’s cause, wrote in a lengthy Dec. 7 op-ed.

Venerable Fulton Sheen was an American archbishop and television personality who was set to be beatified Dec. 21. The Holy See made the decision to postpone the beatification on Dec. 2, with the Peoria diocese attributing the Vatican’s decision to “a few members of the Bishop’s Conference who have asked for further consideration.”

CNA first reported Dec. 4 that it was Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester who asked the apostolic nuncio to the United States to delay the beatification, citing concerns about an ongoing state attorney general’s investigation into the dioceses of New York state.

“Rochester diocese’s revelation of these undisclosed cases simply follows the same pattern that the Rochester diocese has executed since this past spring,” Kruse wrote.

“This pattern is simple: The Sheen Cause takes a step forward and then the Rochester diocese acts to block the Beatification. When examining the pattern it is hard not to believe that the diocese of Rochester acts more to sabotage the Cause and less to protect the good of the Church.”

In September 2018, New York’s attorney general began an investigation into whether any of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses had covered up acts or allegations of clerical sexual abuse. Sheen was Bishop of Rochester from 1966 to 1969.

Kruse says he was first contacted by the Rochester diocese in March 2019 by “Fr. Dan Conlon, Vicar General of the diocese of Rochester,” who told him that the Diocese of Rochester had submitted documents to the attorney general of New York which “may possibly implicate Sheen in appointing priests to assignments while having knowledge that these priests had abused children.”

Kruse is likely referring to the chancellor of the Rochester diocese, Father Dan Condon.

The Peoria diocese and the New York archdiocese were earlier this year engaged in a legal fight in civil court over Sheen’s final burial place, which ended on June 7, 2019 when the Superior Court of New York denied any further appeals. His remains arrived in Peoria later that month.

The day after the court’s final ruling, Kruse wrote, on June 8, 2019, the Diocese of Rochester submitted to Peoria the documents regarding Sheen’s administration related to two clerics known to have previously abused youth. Kruse wrote that the Diocese of Peoria believed that those documents were also submitted to the Vatican for their review.

Kruse wrote that the Vatican unofficially set a date for Sheen’s beatification for Sept. 20, 2019 but did not present an official decree.

On July 24, 2019, the Diocese of Peoria was informed that the Vatican’s Secretary of State had delayed the Beatification of Sheen “until the Congregation [for] the Causes of Saints is able to study this issue.”

Kruse says the “issue” in question was the set of documents from the Rochester diocese.

“After Matano blocked the Beatification unofficially scheduled in September, [Bishop] Jenky of Peoria gathered together a group to examine the documents. I was involved in this examination. This examination revealed that [Bishop] Sheen acted rightly and did not place children in harm’s way.”

The Rochester diocese said in its Dec. 5 release that it provided documentation to the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the Office of the Apostolic Nuncio, expressing concern about the advancement of Sheen’s cause “without a further review of his role in priests’ assignments.”

“The Diocese of Rochester did its due diligence in this matter and believed that, while not casting suspicion, it was prudent that Archbishop Sheen’s cause receive further study and deliberation, while also acknowledging the competency of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to render its decision. The Holy See ultimately decided to postpone the beatification,” the diocese said.

The diocese said that Matano had requested a delay “prior to any announcements of the beatification.”

But Kruse, along with two other officials connected to the beatification cause, told CNA that Matano had also raised his concerns after the date was set. Kruse wrote that Matano did so both in person to an official from the nuncio’s office in Washington DC, and later in an official letter.

Kruse told CNA that Matano sent the letter in question to the apostolic nuncio Nov. 19, after the beatification was announced, saying that he could not support the scheduled beatification and requesting that it be delayed.

According to Kruse, a copy of this letter was also sent to Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Cardinal Angelo Becchiu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Blase Cupich of Chicago.

“When I read this letter I immediately remembered Matano telling me in July that the case is now in the hands of Rome. We must wait for the conclusion of their investigation and abide by their decision. His earlier words rang hollow as I read his letter that again has blocked Sheen’s Beatification,” Kruse wrote.

CNA requested a copy of the Nov. 19 letter from the Diocese of Rochester. The diocese told CNA Dec. 5 that “it is not appropriate to release a letter addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio.”

The Democrat and Chronicle, a Rochester newspaper, reported Dec. 4 that the Rochester diocese had stated to the paper that Sheen’s handling of the cases of not just of Guli but also “two or more accused priests” deserved “more investigation.” The article goes on to speculate that there could be more than a dozen such cases.

The case of former Rochester priest Gerard Guli was the main focus of the documents submitted by the Diocese of Rochester, Kruse said.

The former priest was ordained in 1956, and from 1963 to 1967 served in parishes in West Virginia. According to a document issued by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, in 1963 the Diocese of Rochester received an allegation that in 1960 Guli committed abuse or misconduct against adults, not minors.

Kruse told CNA that the priest “returned from Wheeling to help his sick parents” in 1967.

Sheen became Rochester’s bishop in October 1966.

Some have claimed that Sheen gave Guli an assignment in the Diocese of Rochester, despite the 1963 allegation against him, Kruse said, and that Bishop Matano was concerned the NY attorney general would identify this issue in any report or announcement. But Kruse said that Sheen never assigned Guli to ministry, and reiterated in his op-ed that the case was thoroughly vetted and “Sheen did nothing wrong.”

Kruse also mentioned the case of another former priest, John Gormley, who abused youth in 1969 and whom Sheen immediately removed from ministry when the abuse was reported. Gormley later left the priesthood and again, Kruse says, it was determined that “Sheen did nothing wrong.”

“Regretfully, it appears that only after receiving the attorney general’s approval will Sheen enjoy Beatification,” Kruse wrote.

“We also must wait to see if the Rochester diocese’s established pattern will continue even after this report.”

Kruse concluded his op-ed by exhorting the faithful to follow Sheen’s example.

“Both the Vatican and the Peoria diocese have confirmed that Sheen did not put children in harm’s way. The Vatican also has confirmed that Sheen’s intercession raised a baby from the dead. The diocese of Peoria constantly receives reports of more miracles that are attributed to the help and intercession of Sheen,” Kruse wrote.

“I am confident that Sheen’s Beatification will eventually take place. Regretfully, certain forces are now inexplicably causing its delay…may Fulton Sheen pray for us.”


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22 Comments

  1. Dolan and Cupich are corrupt men who despise Sheen, a Holy prelate who is the exact opposite of everything they stand for. Of course they will try to prevent his canonization, but ultimately God and the truth will triumph.

  2. This is not surprising in any way. The PC culture is alive and well today in way to many areas of the Catholic Church.From the harboring of illegal immigrants,to some of the flock and leaderships embrace of “Pot Shops”,Abortion,and LGBTQ and all it’s many off shutes.The continuing chipping away of Peters Rock.Is beyond disturbing anymore,by these lost souls of Lucifer’s employment.

  3. Given the Cuomo “thinly” veiled contempt for Catholicism we can all imagine what is presently being crafted with complicity from ecclesiastical adversaries. Not more than a year ago someone in a comments thread predicted Archbishop Sheen would unjustifiably be enlisted into the roster of the disgraced for one reason or another. It rang true then and lo and behold, it has come to pass.
    The vipers are so predictable even the groundling laity can provide their profile in advance of their mendacity and subterfuge.

  4. What sad, bitter little men rule in New York, the spiritless inheritors of Pilate, Caiaphas, Thomas Cromwell, and perhaps even Lavrentia Beria (who reportedly said, “Find me the man and I’ll find you the crime”).

    But Jesus lives, and so, by the Grace of God, does Blessed Archbishop Sheen.

  5. The criterion for being declared a saint is personal sanctity, not infallibility in making every daily management decision. Yes?

    Quick, someone write a memo on diocesan letterhead questioning the canonizations of all those declared saints with any kind of administrative responsibilities in the past century or more…

    After all, while St. John Paul II was the key figure in taking down the atheistic Soviet Empire, for example, he still punted on cleaning out the entrenched infestation of bad actors inside the Vatican. (Instead, he visited and personally evangelized 105 nations–a marked improvement over the Prisoner-of-the-Vatican status of popes only a century earlier).

    It’s just possible that personal sanctity is still the valid criterion for special recognition by a Church on the move.

  6. Yet another attempt by the “Sons of Perdition,” to defame, libel, and cast aspersions on a holy, faithful, and righteous Catholic.

    Ponder: they are doing this even as the Vatican had earlier set the beatification. The line “have you no shame?” resounds.

    See with your own eyes the war against Holy Mother Church and its future saints. Ask yourself: “CUI BONO?”

    Plan and act accordingly. <

  7. Could it be that this was payback from the Diocese of Rochester? Having lost its legal fight with Peoria as to where Sheen’s remains would be buried, the timing of sending the “documents” to the Vatican suspiciously raises the question.

  8. ““After Matano blocked the Beatification unofficially scheduled in September, [Bishop] Jenky of Peoria gathered together a group to examine the documents. I was involved in this examination. This examination revealed that [Bishop] Sheen acted rightly and did not place children in harm’s way.”

    “The Rochester diocese said in its Dec. 5 release that it provided documentation to the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the Office of the Apostolic Nuncio, expressing concern about the advancement of Sheen’s cause “without a further review of his role in priests’ assignments.””

    So: either the Rochester diocese failed to give the information to those investigating Archbishop Sheen’s sanctity, so that there is some possibility that the attorney general will find further information (which I doubt),

    or

    The Rochester diocese knows quite well that there’s nothing the attorney general will find and is just being spiteful.

    • Leslie I’m not certain the bishop, bishops mentioned here were acting out of spite. Unfortunately this NYS attorney general judges allegations of priest abuse from a different – in my opinion jaundiced view. He has published names [besides those proved guilty] of priests who were accused of crimes that could not be substantiated. Damaging their reputation. As you likely know some priests have been falsely accused and incarcerated out of hatred or for financial gain. There may be the fear of those concerned that this AG may well wait until the day Cardinal Sheen is Beatified to publish unfounded allegations against him. I personally believe Fulton J Sheen is a saint. His recorded retreats to priests have had a very positive influence on my priesthood as well as on others.

      • Given the particular bishops involved, it’s hard to imagine spite not being involved, a desire to permanently create a stain of doubt in the popular Catholic imagination about the authentic life of holiness of Sheen, thus, a de facto slander on the integrity of orthodoxy. Even if the cause now proceeds, this is a stain that can never be removed. If this were supposedly a concern about secular slander, they could easily welcome the opportunity to fight back forcefully against the phony claims thereby scoring a victory against anti-Catholic sentiment, provided they had the fortitude to do so.

        • On the contrary, this “stain” would not only be removed, that fact that it was posed with questionable intent would speak even more profoundly to the cause of Sheen’s holiness in the final analysis. Remember the strictures wrongly placed on Padre Pio by the Holy See, from which he was exonerated, and his heroic silence in the face of them!

        • Edward newly elected 2019 NYS AG Letitia James announced she will continue to investigate priest abuse cases made by former AG Barbara Underwood. This AG has also filed lawsuits against Pres Trump an indication of her mindset. Bishop Matano Rochester who strongly adheres to Apostolic Tradition has corrected many of the liberal policies of his predecessor. It’s wrong for anyone here on this Site or elsewhere to accuse him of something as despicable as spite. The new AG is reviewing previous investigation made by Ms Underwood and she may well have a different standard of judgment. It’s advantageous for the Diocese and the Catholic Church NYS to first permit her to release her findings. Then if warranted the Church can file its own legal action of defamation of character if such were leveled at Cardinal Sheen and others. Rather than proceed now with beatification and then have to respond to new allegations by the AG and expected repercussions the Church would be in a much more favorable position to promote Sheen’s beatification after the AG report.

          • I should have qualified with more specificity. I do believe the character weaknesses of Cupich and Dolan are capable of personal spite. I know little about Matano. For lumping him into a triad I apologize. Nonetheless, I do not agree that in the public imagination that it will resonate as exoneration if secular authority fails to promote any level of accusation. The mere suspicion is enough for the Catholic liberal establishment to unleash their hate towards anyone in the Church viewed as personifying orthodoxy, especially from the life of a heroic witness.

            As a priest, perhaps you’re more virtuous in having cultivated charity than I have. But in the front lines of the abortion wars, in sidewalk counseling for decades, I’ve been literally spit on by Catholic liberals. I know full well of their hate. I know full well how they will interpreted this delay. If he is now exonerated from all sources, they’ll still be convinced of a cover up.

  9. Sadly, we have many younger priests who are on fire for Christ but way too many bishops and cardinals who are duds or mere administrators.

  10. Bishop Matano and Father Dan Condon are faithful servants of God who are working hard for Christ’s Church during very challenging times. I am saddened to hear faithful Catholics speaking ill of them. I am certain that those who say unkind things about them do not know the good that they are doing in the Diocese of Rochester. Please speak with charity about these men of God who need our support in building up the church.

    • I am glad to hear that they are doing good in the Diocese of Rochester.

      That doesn’t explain why, if all records were turned over to the inquirers into the sanctity of Archbishop Sheen, anybody is concerned that the attorney general might find new information.

  11. What petty political hacks are New York, Chicago and Rochester bishops!
    Grovel to your secular masters, boys. Feed yourselves from the scraps of their tables.
    RICO is coming your way, excellencies. Bet on it. You have sealed your own fates. So be it.

  12. Just a handful of years after Sheen’s death, I remember speaking to a Rochester priest who had a pointedly negative reaction when I noted (with some joy) that Sheen was their former diocesan bishop, thinking he would have found this an occasion of rightful pride. In fact, he was pointedly annoyed with what he characterized as Sheen’s sufficient lack of attention to administration of the diocese. As I recall, this was generated by Sheen’s involvement with other projects, beyond his diocesan duties. But I think what struck me was not really the remark itself–knowing certainly that Sheen was not the average diocesan Ordinary!–but what, on reflection, conveyed a disparaging attitude toward the Archbishop, himself. I could have understood perhaps if he said something like, “Well, Sheen wasn’t the greatest administrator at home, but he was certainly one of America’s greatest Catholic teachers and pastoral leaders.” But nothing like that was even remotely expressed.

    Looking back to that conversation light of last week’s events, I now wonder if “administration” was really this priest’s only hang-up with the Venerable…

  13. To Fr Morello, I am a simple layman but I will tell you this if the body of Bishop Sheen was left in NY we would not be going this rout. By the way Bishop sheen was never a Cardinal. For some reason among the higharchy there is some reason they do not want to see Sheen beatified/canonnized. Now has any body thought about the next shoe to drop? If for some reason they should find something,which I don’t think they will, how will church explain the miracle that was used to further his beatification. Did it happen or not? Now you come to the defense of the Bishops , i’m sorry what has Been seen by alll how the Bishops handled the abuse leaves me in doubt . Now we hear from the Archbishop of Baltimore give this observation about why have the beatification in Peoria, the Cathedral might hołd 1000 people and he never Heard a beatification so close to Christmas. I ask you seriously does any of this matter. Finally the 6400 question ,why was this not checked before the propositio was sent to Rome. Should not of this Been checked out Here in the states and what about Rome The Curia Office did they do there job. What about all these who have Been declared venerable or beatified ,priests and or Bishops will they now their cases be up to review especially during the years 1960 to 1980’s .

    • Ted correct Archbishop Sheen was not a cardinal. After retirement from Rochester 1969 [Rochester is not an Archdiocese. New York is the Archdiocese for the entire State] Paul VI conferred him with the honor of titular Archbishop of Newport, Wales UK. And assigned Sheen as his Papal Attendant. I can’t explain the issue of Archbishop Sheen’s body at St Patrick’s and the long legal delay. I can speak to the integrity of Bishop Salvatore Matano and his exemplary support of his priests all those faithful to Apostolic Tradition. The following report coincides with my views on Bishop Matano’s request for delay. “A source close to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State told CNA that Matano contacted the apostolic nuncio after the beatification date was set, to express concerns that Sheen could be named in a report by the attorney general, or accused of insufficiently handling allegations of abuse during his tenure as Rochester’s bishop. There was apparently specific concern that such an allegation against Sheen could be timed to coincide with the beatification on Dec. 21, sources told CNA” (Democrat & Chronicle). Insofar as Matano’s ‘connection’ with two Cardinals Dolan and Cupich Bishop Matano per protocol as in the military would proceed through proper channels in his request for delay to the Vatican. I cannot speak of their motivation except that any Archbishop of New York [Cardinal Dolan] would likely allow such a request from a diocesan ordinary to proceed. I wish to express thanks here to Edward J Baker above who apologized for implication of Bishop Matano in a plot.

  14. The connection of the Bishop of Rochester with the two Archbishop Cardinals of Chicago and New York indicates that there is sabotage, as the diocese of Peoria says, given the history of the two Cardinals in hiding and harboring sex abusers and perverse priests.

    “His Emiinence” Cupich has publicly voiced that he is against investigating episcopal failures and coverups in sex abuse matters, declaring that such investigations are to be avoided as they are simply “going down a rat hole.” Cardinal Cupich is known to have harbored several Jesuit priests “credibly accused” of sex abuse, at Gonzaga University, in an arrangement with the Jesuits, in his old diocese of Spokane, and according to an article at the Spokesman-Review news in Dec21, 2018, Cupich did not inform his successor, Bishop Thomas Daly, of this arrangement. and the President of Gonzaga University Thayne McCulloh also claims he was not informed. It is reported that as Bishop of Chicago, Cupich hounded out a faithful priest, Fr. Kalcik, because he publicly supported his own parishioners in burning an LBGT flag that had been hung in their parish by a previous pastor who was caught dead in his rectory with closets full of homosexual pornography.

    “His Emiinence” Dolan has behaved inexplicably in the Sheen case. Cardinal Dolan presides over parishes in his own Archdiocese of NY that openly promote sexual immorality, including St. Francis of Assisi in NYC, and the parish of St. Paul the Apostle near Lincoln Center, who publicize their subversive “ministry” called “Out @ St. Paul.”

    It certainly doesn’t seem like the Cardinals of Chicago and New York would have any “orthodox” concerns about the Bishop Sheen case.

    So, just what is their concern?

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