Of all the great saints in the twentieth century, including Therese of Liseux, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II, I don’t think there’s a better model of the New Evangelization than Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Throughout the century, thousands of non-Catholics were drawn to the Church through his influence, and he deepened the faith of millions more. He jumped on new technologies like radio and television and used fresh, creative language to spread the Gospel. He was the epitome of the “new ardor, new methods, and new expressions” called for by Pope John Paul II.
Fulton Sheen’s cause for canonization officially began ten years ago when Pope John Paul II approved an investigation into his life. But it wasn’t until this year, on June 28, 2012, that Pope Benedict XVI approved the investigation and finally declared Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “Venerable”, the first major step toward sainthood. The next stop is beatification—making him Blessed—which some believe will occur within the next year or so. That’s the last stop before full-fledged sainthood which I hope we’ll see by the end of this decade.
I’ve blogged considerably about Sheen over the years, including rare video of his canonization documents and an interview with Msgr. Richard Soseman, the Vatican’s Episcopal Delegate for Sheen’s cause.
During my recent trip to Chicago, I reconnected with Msgr. Soseman, this time in Sheen’s homeland, Peoria, IL. After attending the special Mass of Thanksgiving for Sheen’s venerability, the two of us sat down to discuss Sheen’s influence and where his cause for beatification, and hopefully canonization, currently stands.
Watch or download our interview below:
Download the interview here (10 minutes)
1:05 – What is your role in Sheen’s cause?
2:36 – Researching Sheen’s work and impact
4:19 – What’s the current update on Sheen’s cause?
5:48 – What is Sheen’s lasting legacy?
7:53 – What message would Sheen deliver to the Church in 2012?
Q: What is Sheen’s lasting legacy?
Well, I would say the New Evangelization and the new media. He started it in 1929 when radio was the new media, and then television. He showed us the way we should see what’s coming out—what will be popular, what will be effective—and see how we can use that to spread the Gospel.
Now, he was such an effective instrument at doing that, the question for us is, have we really done the best job [following him] over time? There are bright stars, such as Mother Angelica and EWTN, and those who have blogs and Twitter. But I think the new media would be his inheritance to us.
(Image Credit: Restless Pilgrim)
Keep tabs on Venerable Fulton Sheen’s cause for beatification (and hopefully canonization!) at ArchbishopSheenCause.org.
How has Venerable Sheen influenced you?