PEORIA (WEEK) - The Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced Tuesday that Fulton Sheen's Beatification has been postponed. Beatification is a title achieved before one can become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
This comes after Peoria's Bishop Danial Jenky announced last month that Sheen's Beatification would take place December 21st after Pope Francis called for the ceremony.
In a press release Tuesday, the reason for the postponement states, "...the Holy See decided to postpone the date of Beatification, at the request of a few members of the Bishop’s Conference who have asked for further consideration. 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 release from the diocese went on to say they have investigated Sheen's life "meticulously" and that, " At no time has his life of virtue ever been called into question."
The diocese also said miracles have been reported since the announcement of Sheen's Beatification after people prayed for his intercession. The diocese did not specify what the miracles were. Proven miracles are something needed for one to become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
In 2010, the Church credited Sheen for helping save a newborn infant whose heart had stopped beating. The baby had no pulse for over an hour, but the family prayed for Sheen to intercede for their child. Moments before a doctor was about to declare the infant dead, the heartbeat returned and the baby started to breathe again.
The diocese concluded their news release saying this about Bishop Jenky's response:
"He [Jenky] is firmly convinced of the great holiness of the Venerable Servant of God and remains confident that Sheen will be beatified. Bishop Jenky has every intention of continuing the Cause, but no further date for Beatification has been discussed.
The Catholic News Agency is reporting the delay also has nothing to do with a dismissed 2007 lawsuit that claimed Sheen, an auxiliary Bishop in New York at the time, allegedly walked in on a Priest sexually abusing a victim and "called the victim a slut, told the priest to put his pants on, and did nothing to report the incident or comfort the victim." The CNA says "the lawsuit was filed by now-laicized priest Robert Hoatson" and "was initially filed federally and dismissed, and the lawyer who filed it was sanctioned by the court."
The same article cites Hoatson as responding he wouldn't respond to the allegation further out of respect for the alleged victim's wishes for privacy.