Archbishop Fulton John Sheen: Venerable
The Eternal Word Television Network still continues to air his Emmy-winning show, over a dozen of his books still remain in print, his anthologies are still being promoted, and he is still converting souls. During his lifetime he won converts such as automaker Henry Ford II, author Clare Boothe Luce, ex-Communist Louis Budenz, former communist spy, Elizabeth T. Bentley, and the innumerable thousands of those who came into the Church as told by letters he received. Fulton John Sheen was once asked by Pope Pius XII about how many converts he brought to the faith. His answer was, “Your Holiness, I have never counted them. I am always afraid if I did count them, I might think I made them, instead of the Lord."
Due to his heroic virtues on earth, the late Archbishop Fulton John Sheen, is now declare “venerable” in the Catholic Church. On June 28th, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced that this servant of God may now be venerated by all the faithful and therefore paves the way for declaration of this man’s sainthood. Before beatification, a miracle by the intercession of Venerable Fulton John Sheen must be recognized by the Church.
Fulton John Sheen: His Life of ServiceSheen earned a Ph.D. in philosophy of the highest honor and won the admiration of G. K. Chesterton after writing a prize-winning book. He was a professor at Catholic University and taught philosophy and theology from 1926 to 1950. During this time Fulton John Sheen appeared on a nationally broadcast radio program called “Catholic Hour”, which poured in about 6,000 letters a day and listeners donated funds to the show. NBC grew 118 stations from a 17 stations, giving Sheen an about 7 million listeners.
Sheen became bishop and hosted his Emmy winning program “Life is Worth Living” which reached up to 30 million viewers and drew viewers from other networks. With his increased pay, all of his money went to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith for which he headed and founded their magazine, Mission. This society donated $200 million for 135,000 missionaries abroad. The show broadcasted across 170 stations in the U.S. and 17 in Canada generating 15,000 to 25,000 letters per day from more non-Catholics than Catholics.
As Sheen said of his media experience, “Little did I know in those days that it would be given to me through radio and television to address a greater audience in half an hour than Paul did in all the years of his missionary life.”
Throughout his life, Fulton John Sheen progressed in writing 66 books, contributing countless articles and newspaper columns and preaching throughout the world. Although he was concerned for worldly issues as well, Sheen was a supernaturalist above all, believing that God is love, miracles happen, and the Church spoke the truth about life and death.
Fulton John Sheen: Relevant to the New EvangelizationToday Pope Benedict XVI calls for the New Evangelization, re-evangelizing through the new media methods of the post-Christian biblical society. We are faced with a society that is inundated licentious behavior at the touch of a button anywhere and anytime, technology that makes a self-seeking lifestyle convenient at the expense of life, and religion is left on the backburner.
The archbishop, Fulton John Sheen, was one of the greatest communicators of the 20th century. He gave the world a glimpse of what is needed to evangelize the light of Christ on this new generation. He spoke out about Christ and his Church and gave courage to those of a godless regime to convert. He evangelized through all possible mediums until his death in December 1979.
Fulton John Sheen: A Life Well ServedOnly a few months before his death, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen met his Holy Father John Paul II. As he embraced Sheen at the sanctuary of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City before a roaring crowd, John Paul II said to the archbishop, “"You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are a loyal son of the Church." Receiving those endearing words of confirmation of a life well served, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen died December 9, in his chapel before the Blessed Sacrament.
Leah Libresco: Catholicism to Convert an AtheistLeah Libresco is a blogger that gained a reputation as an atheist on Patheos, a website that brings users together to discuss religion and spirituality. Libresco had continually reached around 5,000 page views per post since she began blogging with Patheos. However, on Monday Libresco had posted a blog that has been shared on Facebook over 18,000 times, produced 150,000 views, and “now, a few days later, her blog is probably getting 20-30 times its normal traffic,“ says Dan Welch who is Patheos’ director of marketing. Coverage of Libresco’s blog has been written about on MSNBC and captured in a video interview with Libresco on the CNN website.
What’s the Hype? Catholic Teachings to Convert an AtheistLibresco posted a blog saying she was no longer an atheist but is now in the process of becoming a Christian and more specifically a Catholic. So how does a church that is stigmatized as being “against women”, hating homosexuals, and having blind, non-thinking followers convert an atheist like Libresco? Libresco’s blog followers have come to know her as a brilliant, forward-thinking secularist woman who identifies herself as bisexual. Now they are scratching their heads wondering how did this church that is contrary to what Libresco is convert an atheist like her. According to knowledgeable Catholics, the Church is not against women like Libresco. Elizabeth Scalia, the managing editor of the “Catholic Portal” at Patheos, comments that the Church “isn’t and never was.”
Church Morality to Convert an AtheistLibresco began her blogs as “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend.” She has now changed it to “Unequally Yoked: A geeky convert picks fight in good faith,” and is no longer with that Catholic boyfriend looking to convert an atheist. She describes morality as “objective, human independent, something we uncover like archaeologists not something we build like architects… and Christianity offered an explanation…”
Libresco is now proceeding to an RCIA program and continues to go to mass. She is not certain about everything as she states, “I’m still confused about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, I still need to do a lot of work to accept gifts graciously.” The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said ,“There are not 100 people who hate the Catholic Church; But there are millions who hate what they believe the Catholic Church to be.”
Scalia writes of the Church, “We have a long history of brilliant people — atheists and non — who have trained their big brains on Catholicism, intending to either disprove it or simply to splash about in its currents, only to find themselves drawn further in. Catholic teaching has been thoroughly reasoned and laboriously fleshed-out; there is actual thinking, full of nuance and complexity, at its core — where Faith and Reason share a kinship, within which the natural and supernatural wave back and forth, like wind-stirred wheat in a field; it’s a dance of organic wholeness.”
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