Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is now “Venerable” after the Vatican announced today that Benedict XVI had signed a decree recognising that the archbishop heroically lived Christian virtues.
The announcement of the decree marks a significant step in the canonization cause of Peoria, Ill.-born Archbishop Sheen (1895-1979), the Emmy award-winning televangelist whose program, "Life is Worth Living," was broadcast from 1951 to 1957.
The Vatican now has to recognise a miracle has occurred through his intercession for him to be beatified, the penultimate step to canonization. Alleged miracles have been reported, which are now being assessed by experts in Rome.
For little over a year, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has been examining his cause based on volumes of Archbishop Sheen’s life gathered in his home diocese of Peoria. The Congregation will have first examined if the archbishop had shown evidence of the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and then the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.
Theologians and cardinals will then have confirmed that he did indeed practice heroic virtue, leading the Holy Father, with the aid of the Consulters from the Congregation, to declare him "Venerable". Now that the Pope promulgated the decree of heroic virtue, the former bishop of Rochester, NY, may now be venerated by all the faithful.
The Vatican also announced today that the Pope had promulgated a decree recognizing that Alvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano, a former prelate of Opus Dei, also showed a life of heroic Christian virtue. Don Alvaro (1914-1994) was the first prelate to succeed the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria Escriva.
The full list of the decrees promulgated by the Pope, announced today (VIS):
- Servant of God Luca Passi, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy (1789-1866).
- Servant of God Francesca de Paula de Jesus, known as Nha Chica, Brazilian laywoman (1808-1895).
- Servants of God Manuel Borras Ferre, auxiliary bishop of Tarragona, Spain, Agapito Modesto (ne Modesto Pamplona Falguera) of the Institute of Brothers of Christian Schools, and 145 companions, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1939.
- Servant of God Giuseppe Puglisi, Italian diocesan priest (1937-1993), killed in hatred of the faith in Palermo, Italy in 1993.
- Servants of God Ermenegildo of the Assumption (ne Ermenegildo Iza y Aregita) and five companions of the Order of the Blessed Trinity, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.
- Servant of God Victoria de Jesus (nee Francesca Valverde Gonzalez), Spanish religious of the "Instituto Calasancio de Hijas de la Divina Pastora" (1888-1937), killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1937.
- Servant of God Devasahayam (Lazarus) Pillai, Indian layman (1712-1752), killed in hatred of the faith in India in 1752.
- Servant of God Sisto Riario Sforza, Italian archbishop of Naples and cardinal of Holy Roman Church (1810-1877).
- Servant of God Fulton Sheen, American archbishop, and former bishop of Rochester (1895-1979).
- Servant of God Alvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano, Spanish prelate of the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei (1914-1994).
- Servant of God Ludwig Tijssen, Dutch diocesan priest (1865-1929).
- Servant of God Cristobal of St. Catherine (ne: Cristobal Fernando Valladolid), Spanish priest and founder of the Congregation and the Hospital of Jesus of Nazareth in Cordoba (1638-1690).
- Servant of God Marie of the Sacred Heart (nee Marie Josephte Fitzbach), Canadian widow and founder of the Handmaidens of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known as the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec (1806-1885).
- Servant of God Mary Angeline Teresa (nee Bridget Teresa McCrory), founder of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm (1893-1984).
- Servant of God Maria Margit (nee Adelaide Bogner), Hungarian professed nun of the Order of the Visitation (1905-1933).
- Servant of God Ferdinanda Riva, Italian professed sister of the Institute of Daughters of Charity (1920-1956).
On 10 May the Holy Father authorised the Congregation to promulgate the decree concerning the martyrdom of Servant of God Juan Huguet y Cardona, Spanish diocesan priest (1913-1936), killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936."