PEORIA, Ill. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The beatification of Abp. Fulton J. Sheen is being postponed after certain bishops lodged objections, according to a press release issued by the diocese of Peoria, Illinois.
Last month, the Vatican announced it had approved the long-awaited beatification of the popular archbishop, after a contentious legal battle between the New York archdiocese, which had refused to release his remains, and Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen's closest living relative, with legal rights over his body, who asked that his body be transferred to Peoria, Illinois, where Sheen was born, raised, went to seminary and was ordained a priest.
On June 8, New York's highest court ruled in Cunningham's favor Sheen's, leading to the private 5 a.m. disinterment of Sheen's body from St. Patrick's Cathedral on June 27. Media were not informed of the event, although Church Militant was on the scene to capture exclusive footage of Sheen's casket as it was taken away.
According to the Peoria diocese's press release, several unnamed members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops "have asked for further consideration" of Sheen's beatification, originally scheduled for Dec. 21.
"In our current climate, it is important for the faithful to know that there has never been, nor is there now, any allegation against Sheen involving the abuse of a minor," the statement clarifies.
The diocese also makes clear that "[a]t no time has his life of virtue ever been called into question."
"This development is unfortunate especially because there continue to be many miracles reported through Sheen's intercession," the press release continues. "Several have even been reported since the announcement of the Beatification date two weeks ago. It is undoubtedly further proof for those who truly believe in this Cause that these miracles will be credited to the intercession of the Venerable Fulton Sheen in the future."
The identity of the bishops who have expressed concerns as well as their specific objections remain unknown.
The full press release follows: