JD Flynn and Ed Condon/CNA

6 December, 2019

The diocese noted it had particularly considered the issue of Sheen’s role in ‘priests’ assignments’
The Diocese of Rochester confirmed on Thursday that it had requested a delay of the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, which had been scheduled for December 21 until it was postponed indefinitely earlier this week.
But an official in the Diocese of Peoria said the Rochester diocese has not disclosed all of its interventions to delay the beatification.
“A person’s cause for beatification must entail a review of the person’s entire life. In this regard, the Diocese of Rochester has considered the tenure of Archbishop Sheen as the Bishop of Rochester,” the diocese said in a statement on December 5.
The diocese noted it had particularly considered the issue of Sheen’s 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 statement came one day after CNA’s first reported on December 4 that Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester had 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.
Sources told CNA that Matano was especially concerned that the attorney general could time the release of an announcement concerning Sheen to coincide with the beatification, potentially marring the celebration with allegations of scandal.
The December 5 Rochester statement said the diocese had requested a delay “prior to any announcements of the beatification.”
The diocese said it had “provided the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the Office of the Apostolic Nuncio with documentation that expressed concern about advancing the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen at this time without a further review of his role in priests’ assignments.”
Msgr. James Kruse, an official in the Diocese of Peoria involved in advancing Sheen’s cause, told CNA that while the Rochester diocese had raised those concerns before the beatification date was set, it also raised them again in recent weeks. Two other officials connected to the beatification cause confirmed Kruse’s statement.
Kruse said the Rochester press release did not acknowledge that fact.
The priest told CNA that Matano sent a letter to the apostolic nuncio on November 19, after the beatification was announced, saying that he could not support the scheduled beatification and requesting that it be delayed.
“They did not agree with the fact the beatification date was set and announced, and asked that further consideration be done,” Kruse told CNA on December 4.
CNA requested a copy of the November 19 letter from the Diocese of Rochester. The diocese told CNA on December 5 that “it is not appropriate to release a letter addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio.”
Kruse told CNA on December 4 that the issue in question is the case of Gerard Guli, a former Rochester priest.
“Guli is the issue,” he told CNA.
The 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.
“We have studied extensively Sheen’s administrative decisions regarding Guli, and he never put children in harm’s way,” Kruse said.
“And in talking with Guli, assignments that some say Sheen gave him, Guli says ‘I never served there.’”
“And so this whole concept that Sheen appointed a pedophilic priest, that’s just not true,” Kruse added.
“The documents clearly show that Sheen’s successor, Bishop Hogan, appointed Guli, and it’s at that assignment that Guli offended again.”
“It’s [Bishop] Hogan who appointed Guli to the parishes in the towns of Campbell and Bradford where Guli offended, and it’s part of the reason that led to his ultimate removal and laicization, as well as other issues.”
Hogan was Sheen’s successor.
In 1989, Guli was arrested for an incident of abuse involving an elderly woman. The priest was serving at Rochester’s Holy Rosary Parish at the time. He was subsequently laicized.
Guli was not mentioned in the Diocese of Rochester’s December 5 statement, and the diocese declined to answer questions about the priest December 4.
“We have known about the Guli issue for quite a long time and all of that has been thoroughly examined…that all of the life and everything has been vetted, and in the end, Sheen is exonerated in things. And likewise, Rome has vetted all of that also,” Kruse told CNA.
The Rochester diocese said December 5 it “appreciates the many accomplishments that Archbishop Sheen achieved in his lifetime in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide through media, thereby bringing the message of Jesus to a vast audience. His legacy in the area of communications made him a prophet in the future use of mass media to advance the teachings of Jesus, a phenomenon recognized by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”
On December 3, the Diocese of Peoria said the delay of Sheen’s beatification is “unfortunate especially because there continue to be many miracles reported through Sheen’s intercession.”
“Bishop Jenky is deeply saddened by this decision. In particular, Bishop Jenky is even more concerned for the many faithful who are devoted to Sheen and will be affected by this news. He is firmly convinced of the great holiness of the Venerable Servant of God and remains confident that Sheen will be beatified. Bishop Jenky has every intention of continuing the Cause, but no further date for Beatification has been discussed.” the diocese added.
For its part, the Diocese of Rochester said that “a beatification process reminds us that we are all called to be saints to live with the Lord eternally in heaven, praying that the Lord judges us worthy to behold Him face to face in that beatific vision that brings everlasting joy. From his place with the Lord, Archbishop Sheen enjoys eternal peace and joy in the everlasting presence of God, Our Father, whom he did serve with dedication and zeal for the salvation of souls.”


Fulton Sheen was a bishop and archbishop of the RC church.

He came to fame as a a TV evangelist.

He also served as a diocesan bishop, as we see above.

His first great loyalty was to the RC church.

Could he have compromised his morally and integrity by covering up for abuse priests?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

If he was compromised he should not be proclaimed either Blessed os a Saint.


Pat this is a smear campaign against Sheen. Its well known that the New York Archdiocese needed a Court Order to finally hand over his body to his home Diocese. Sheen and Cardinal Spellman of NY did not get on.


Look, it is as clear as day to me that there is something dodgy about Fulton Sheen. A man who pranced around in all that gear before the TV, intent on his own self-aggrandisement and publicity, like a pig in shit in the full on clerical culture of the time, outwardly fiercely loyal to the Church, his employer and his ‘Mother’, charismatic and personable……Well, you only have to imagine what the other side of the coin was like. We know it from the past and from other characters like this that there is something hidden, something in the shadows, which is the flip side. I bet that those bishops in the US who have asked for a delay / postponement know about something iffy about Fulton Sheen. And, it’s interesting that all this has happened at a time when New York State has lifted the statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes, the very place where FS spent the majority of his time as priest, bishop and televangelist. Also, the statement from the Church tries to say that this has noting to do with ‘the obvious’, but do you believe them ?! They know something is about to come out, or has come out and been previously suppressed because of the statute of limitations, and FS is spoiled goods and will not be beatified. His cause will now quietly be forgotten. And highly so. The man was creepy.

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What an egregiously bigoted rant. Brilliant own goal. As a devotee of Fulton Sheen, I can only thank you for your contribution to this debate.


All aspects of his life have been analysed with a fine tooth comb which is why he has reached the status of Venerable. Your thesis is not credible


This is both hilarious and ridiculous.
Since when did encouraging and protecting abusive relationships and dodgy sex prevent promotion right up to canonisation in the church?

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You are completely right; it is indeed covering-up of serious issues and keeping silent which Roman bishops are bred for.


It would seem.very prudent to me for the Diocese to thoroughly investigate every aspect of Cardinal Sheen’s life before beatification. In this climate of scrutiny on Church.keafers, past and present, prudence is imperative. There were certain aspects of Sheen’s theatrical as a televangelist that put me off, although you knew your catechism very well after his lectures. However, he was and is still admired by thousands of lay faithful American Catholics. Somewhere in the flaws of his life I hope the goodness prevails.


The blog is sketchy in parts, frustratingly so.

Guli was ordained in 1956. So where did he serve between then and 1963, the year in which he began service in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charlston, in West Virginia. Was it in the Diocese of Rochester? The blog doesn’t say, but the fact that Rochester was, in 1963, notified of an allegation of sexual abuse by Guli of an adult in 1960 suggests that the priest was indeed serving in Rochester at this time. Why else would a diocese hundreds of miles from Wheeling-Charlston be informed of such an allegation. What’s the connection between the two dioceses? This would mean that Guli served not one but two, separate stints in Rochester: 1956 to 1963, and again, from 1967 to ?

Can anyone plug the gaps?


As a follow-up to my previous post, the information I’m seeking is important, because it may exonerate Fulton -Sheen of any legal or moral wrongdoing if indeed he did reassign Guli to a pastoral appointment in the Diocese of Rochester.
Was Guli canonically investigated by Rochester diocese after it received a sexual allegation against him in 1963? If he was, and was subsequently cleared of any impropriety, then any involvement by Fulton-Sheen in his reassignment several years later would have happened in all innocence on his part.



Fulton was the man’s baptismal name you goose. No hyphen required as in your earlier posts. Sounds as if you have just heard of him and are now pursuing him because you have little or nothing better to do.


That is one of the other “Magna Carta” writing at 11:48am – not one of the cussing, ranting and raving ones. How are we all doing today Fr Magna Carta?


It is quite disconcerting how different Magna Carta’s posts are. My own feeling is that it is only one person, as there are always similarities of phrase. He may indeed be putting on different personalities at will, however the changeable nature of his posts could also be explained by Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.
@12:48 do you know for a fact that a priest or several is behind Magna Carta?



Indeed, you are right.

My mistake.

If only parents would cease naming their children with what sound as though they are surnames, like ‘Cameron’, ‘Finlay’, ‘Crawford’, there’d be far less confusion.

And no, I haven’t just heard of the man. Don’t be a prize gander yourself. 😕


What you describe, at 3:15 is sociological phenomenon particularly beloved of Protestants in Ireland, especially, though not exclusively in the Six Counties. Typically, the surname of the mother, especially if she had no brothers, would be employed as a Christian name for the son, and thus, at least in that instance, guaranteed survival.


I think perceptions and gut feelings about people in general are more likely to indicate what they are really like than the cult of personality which is promoted around them. Both Spellman and Sheen were prelates of their time, and, though they strongly disliked each other, used their very considerable talents respectively as administrator and evangelist at the service of their corporate brand. It is commonly assumed that Spellman was a practising homosexual, though, as far as I know, not a shred of evidence has ever been produced to support that claim. It is said that Spellman himself commented ( to whom? ) that no one would ever believe it, and in one of their frequent rows, Spellman shouted at Sheen that if only people knew what he ( Sheen ) was really like. Spellman felt that Sheen’s skills lay not in administration, so made sure that he did not have rights of succession to himself in New York, but got him appointed to Rochester, where, as Spellman had correctly foreseen, he was not a success, so, possibly, some fall-out from his inept administration there, particularly with regard to the “usual”, is now impeding his advancement into the ranks of the blessed. Having said all that, why should Sheen be regarded today as an exemplar and rôle model? The only contemporary bishop who comes close to him in personal vanity, pomposity and penchant for dressing up is Old Mother Burke, and, sadly, Mother’s communication skills, not to mention charmlessness, leave much to be desired.


Didn’t all the old time bishops dress like +Sheen? At least he cut an elegant figure in whatever finery he wore and used it effectively through the media. ( I seem to remember him on the Merv Griffin show where he wore clericals of a slightly old fashioned vintage. Still elegant nonetheless! )
In many ways he was not unlike Pacelli whom a Western Orthodox journal from the fifties once praised for his angelic singing voice. There again who could forget +Sheen’s vocal commentary on that wonderful Sorrowful Mother Trent Mass?
And could he preach!
Others have been canonized for less.


What you say is true, and I do not belittle Sheen’s qualities. Your comparison with Pacelli is significant as they both represented a type of prelate which is now extinct, even though there are coteries of young men who cluster around Cardinal Burke in an effort to relive the past. Sheen, like Spellman or McQuaid, is an interesting historic figure but I don’t get the drive to create a cult around him, even though he did look fabulous in watered silk.


In the late 1950s the US federal government donated millions of dollars’ worth of powdered milk to the New York Archdiocese. In turn, Cardinal Spellman handed the milk over to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to distribute to the world’s poor. On at least one occasion he demanded that the director of the Society, Bishop Sheen, pay the Archdiocese for the donated milk. He wanted millions of dollars. Despite Cardinal Spellman’s considerable powers of persuasion and influence in Rome, Sheen refused. These were funds donated by the public to the missions, funds Sheen himself had personally contributed to and raised over the airwaves. He felt an obligation to protect them, even from the itchy fingers of his own Cardinal.

Spellman took the issue directly to Pope Pius XII, pleading his case with Sheen present. The Pope sided with Sheen. Spellman later confronted Sheen, stating, “I will get even with you. It may take six months or ten years, but everyone will know what you are like.” Sheen’s TV series was subsequently cancelled, at the height of its popularity. Sheen also found himself unwelcome in the churches of New York City. Spellman cancelled Sheen’s annual Good Friday sermons at St Patrick’s Cathedral and discouraged clergy from befriending the Bishop.

In 1966, Spellman had Sheen reassigned to Rochester, New York, and caused his leadership at the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to be terminated — a position he had held for 16 years and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for.

On 2 December 1967, Spellman died in New York City. Sheen never talked about the situation, only making vague references to his trials both inside and outside the Church. He even went so far as to praise Spellman in his autobiography.



The office of (informally) Devil’s Advocate was not abolished, but its powers were significantly reduced.

You could call this a ‘dumbing down’ of the canonisation process (I certainly do), allowing even weak contenders (like the notorious paedophile protector, JPII) to clear a much lowered bar to sainthood.


I watched this video. I can’t say I disagreed with FS (though I tried), except in so far as he referred to some shows of compassion as ‘false’. Compassion is compassion; it all is real. But it can be misguided.
I had an aunt who was so soft-hearted that I used to tease her by saying that she would make excuses for Lucifer himself. For a time, a car I had was repeatedly vandalised by young hooligans. I told my aunt this, unequivocally, but a short time later, when the matter was raised again, she said (along these lines): I thought they couldn’t help it; I thought they didn’t mean it. My aunt stood truth on its head through soft-heartedness, and, in the process, made me out to be a liar.
FS was right. There is such a thing as (not false compassion), but misguided and misdirected compassion. It’s source is lack of wisdom: a confection of experience, knowledge, honesty, and common sense.


5.14: I suspect your aunty was right – you are a liar…she even spotted your capacity for over embellishment. Can’t fool wise aunties, Mags!!



That’s my point, Josie love: my aunt WASN’T all that wise.

Do pay more attention in future. 😀


What an old Ham, a Drama Queen, a camp old twat. Spouting the formulaic, mechanistic nonsense of Catholic theology. And all dressed up like some transgender version of Dracula. Really ! And behind all that, I guarantee you, there will have been some serious dysfunction. Would you let this man near you, your family, your children, your grandmother ? No wonder they are having second thoughts about beatifying this prancing old Dame.


Another Magna take over. Crap as usual. The Bitch is raving mad. Carta, whoever you are, go take your pills.


poor granny used to always say, ‘that child is a few sandwiches short of a picnic’. He broke mammy’s heart growing up.


After forty years the Catholic Church is still more interested in protecting itself and its clerical culture than in truly eradicating child abuse, writes Richard Scorer.
“Organisational culture is a powerful force that guides decisions and actions. Leaders play a key role in defining organisational culture by what they say and what they do”. These words come from the report by Professor Alexis Jay into the child grooming scandal in Rotherham. But they also go to the heart of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
Institutions which engage in groupthink, which suppress dissent, and which place loyalty to the institution above protection of children are likely to struggle to eradicate sex abuse.



And THAT (your final sentence) is institutional Roman Catholicism in a nutshell.

The collective is greater than any of its parts, which historically is why dissent was suppressed with Teutonic zeal and efficiency, and with a ruthless paranoia that would have put put Stalinism to shame.

Catholics the world over are realising that they harboured in their homes and hearts not a gentle lamb, but a ravenous lion.

There is (there can be) no such thing as a truly good Romanist priest, especially if he is also part of the episcopate.


I have listened to this guy (sheen) on YouTube. A very impressive preacher – I could listen to him all night. In his time he was a go-to. Is there any evidence that he behaved badly?


Yes, he was an impressive speaker, but the power of his presence and delivery eclipsed serious moral flaws in his preaching. And this, to be honest, is what he is doing in such videos as the one above.
If you listen carefully, he lumps gay people with murderers, rapists, and drug pushers: he ranks them alonside the worst, and most-likely-to-be-hated category of criminal. I admit that I missed this at the first hearing. And the theatrically tremulous anger he expresses while condemning these is of the rabble-rousing kind.


Oh Lord! It looks like old Sheen has lost his shine. Another nail in the coffin, possibly?
Sheen was a Roman bishop, and just like John Paul II, he covered up abuse of the most vulnerable; here is the very face of EVIL.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’’


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