The cause for the beatification of Fulton Sheen, a great man of God this blog has written about on several occasions (try here and here, or perhaps here), is now to be started again after a strange interruption due, in its essence, to a controversy about where his mortal spoils should rest (with New York having allegedly verbally promised to allow the tomb to be transferred to Peoria,then allegedly not delivering on the promise and so endangering the shrine project therein conceived, with the result that Peoria’s diocese stopped the procedure altogether).
It is a pleasure to read that a man who was almost forgotten when he died, and considered a part of an old church not worth wasting time about, is now not only safely marching toward beatification, but even the object of a tomb controversy like we have in Italy for our Divino Poeta, Dante Alighieri. This clearly shows not only that his message is now – after the dust of the Vatican II madness has clearly settled – properly read and listened to again (just make a google video search, or go on youtube, and stun; or visit Amazon for vast choice of re-printed books) but that it is clearly anticipated that his remains will become a mass attraction and source of great prestige; a prestige that evidently both Peoria and New York claim as their own.
Personally, I am unlikely to ever land in Peoria, whilst I will (God pleasing) probably have further occasions to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Having said that, the idea of a national shrine attracting people from all the country – and, surely, from abroad – to kneel and say a prayer in front of the tomb of this great man is sweet even from the distance.
I allow myself to see in this a further sign of the times, and ask myself the rhetorical question whether, say, twenty-five years ago a shrine to his memory – and attendant tomb controversy – would have been very likely. How was that? Oh yeah….
The times they are a’ changing…