DIOCESE OF PEORIA PRESENTS ADDITIONAL CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING THE SUSPENSION OF THE ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN CAUSE OF SAINTHOOD
Friday, September 5, 2014
After an outpouring of great support for the actions taken by Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria regarding the suspension of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause of Sainthood, the Diocese is providing additional clarifications.
According to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria, Patricia Gibson, who has worked with the Cause from the beginning, “Bishop Jenky only agreed to pursue the cause for canonization of Fulton Sheen after he was assured by the Archdiocese of New York that they had no interest in pursuing the cause but would support Peoria’s efforts. Specifically, Bishop Jenky was told by Cardinal Egan in September 2002 that New York was not interested in pursuing the cause. He also indicated that at the appropriate time he would facilitate the transfer of the body to Peoria. In December 2004, Cardinal Egan again confirmed at a meeting in New York with Bishop Jenky that he continued to support the efforts of the Cause and reassured him that he would work to transfer the body at the appropriate time to be enshrined in the Peoria Cathedral.”
Based on this ongoing assurance, Bishop Jenky wrote to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in early 2005 asking for the body to be transferred to Peoria. They did not in any way forbid the transfer of the body but simply indicated that it was not the appropriate time. The Congregation indicated that “the transfer was not opportune at this time because the Diocesan inquiry had just been started in the Diocese of Peoria.” With this inquiry complete and a miracle being attributed to Sheen, now is an appropriate time.
On June 27, 2014, the Diocese of Peoria received the most recent communication from the Archdiocese of New York. This letter from its lawyer definitively stated that it would never allow the examination of the body, the securing of relics or the transfer of the body. Upon receiving this shocking statement and consulting with advisors to the Sheen Cause, Bishop Jenky believed that he had no choice but to stop his efforts and suspend the Cause.
Gibson added, “It is essential to realize that Bishop Jenky now feels a great responsibility to be faithful to the thousands of supporters throughout Central Illinois, the nation and the world, in regard to the status of the cause. From the beginning, Bishop Jenky sought assurances that New York did not want to undertake the Cause and would support Peoria’s efforts. This assurance was given before the process ever began. Bishop Jenky also confirmed that at the appropriate time Fulton Sheen’s body would be transferred to his boyhood home and be placed in a shrine in St. Mary’s Cathedral where he was ordained. Over the last twelve years, countless people have offered their time and financial support for these efforts in order not only to spread the word about Fulton Sheen’s virtues and holiness but also to prepare a shrine in Peoria upon his beatification. After New York clearly turned down the Cause, Peoria was happy to put forth the lengthy work and effort because of how much he is loved by the priests and lay faithful in this Diocese.”
Clearly Archbishop Sheen’s wishes for his final resting place could not have anticipated that he would go through a canonization process led by his native Diocese of Peoria, after it was turned down by the Archdiocese of New York. The Diocese of Peoria has heard from several relatives this week regarding their desire that Bishop Jenky continue to work towards having the body transferred as was presumed from the beginning.
The Chancellor, Patricia Gibson, further states, “The actions taken by Bishop Jenky this week reflect his strong desire to be true to the countless supporters of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause who for over twelve years have labored and supported bringing the message of Fulton Sheen and his sanctity to the world. Bishop Jenky continues to hope that the promises made twelve years ago will be honored.”