Hearing nuns' confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.
Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?
The proud man counts his newspaper clippings, the humble man his blessings.
Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.
Pride is an admission of weakness; it secretly fears all competition and dreads all rivals.
Love is a mutual self-giving which ends in self-recovery.
The big print giveth, and the fine print taketh away.
I feel it is time that I also pay tribute to my four writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
If you don’t behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.
The difference between the love of a man and the love of a woman is that a man will always give reasons for loving, but a woman gives no reasons for loving.” Life Is Worth Living
Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.
Why are those who are notoriously undisciplined and unmoral also most contemptuous of religion and morality? They are trying to solace their own unhappy lives by pulling the happy down to their own abysmal depths.
Pain without love is suffering or hell. Suffering with love is sacrifice. Love does not have the power to kill pain or extinguish it, but it does have the power to diminish it.
Fulton John Sheen (born Peter John Sheen, May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979) was an American bishop (later archbishop) of the Roman Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio.
Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy at The Catholic University of America as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester from October 21, 1966 to October 6, 1969, when he resigned and was made the Archbishop of the Titular See of Newport, Wales.
For 20 years as Father, later Monsignor, Sheen hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour (1930–1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1951–1957). Sheen's final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show. For this work, Sheen twice won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, the only personality appearing on the DuMont Network ever to win a major Emmy award.
Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network's Church Channel cable networks. Due to his contribution to televised preaching Sheen is often referred to as one of the first televangelists.
After earning high school valedictorian honors at Spalding Institute in Peoria in 1913, Sheen was educated at St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, Illinois, attended Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota before his ordination on September 20, 1919, then followed that with further studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His youthful appearance was still evident on one occasion when a local priest asked Sheen to assist as altar boy during the celebration of the Mass.
Sheen earned a doctorate in philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1923.] While there, he became the first American ever to win the Cardinal Mercier award for the best philosophical treatise.
In 1924 Sheen pursued further studies in Rome earning a Sacred Theology Doctorate at the Pontificium Collegium Internationale Angelicum, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum.
Sheen was for a year assistant to the pastor at St. Patrick's Church, Soho Square in London while teaching theology at St. Edmund's College, Ware, where he met Ronald Knox. Although Oxford and Columbia wanted him to teach philosophy, in 1926 Bishop Edmund Dunne of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Illinois asked Sheen to take over St. Patrick's Parish. After nine months, Dunne returned him to Catholic University, where he taught philosophy until 1950.
In 1929, Sheen gave a speech at the National Catholic Educational Association. He encouraged teachers to "educate for a Catholic Renaissance" in the United States. Sheen was hoping that Catholics would become more influential in their country through education, which would help attract others to the faith. He believed that Catholics should "integrate" their faith into the rest of their daily life.
He was consecrated a bishop on June 11, 1951, and served as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York from 1951 to 1965.
A popular instructor, Sheen wrote the first of 73 books in 1925, and in 1930 began a weekly Sunday night radio broadcast, The Catholic Hour. Sheen called WWII not only a political struggle, but also a "theological one." He referred to Hitler as an example of the "Anti-Christ."
Two decades later, the broadcast had a weekly listening audience of four million people. Time referred to him in 1946 as "the golden-voiced Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, U.S. Catholicism's famed proselytizer" and reported that his radio broadcast received 3,000–6,000 letters weekly from listeners.
During the middle of this era, he conducted the first religious service broadcast on the new medium of television, putting in motion a new avenue for his religious pursuits.
In 1951 he began a weekly television program on the DuMont Television Network titled Life Is Worth Living. Filmed at the Adelphi Theatre in New York City, the program consisted of the unpaid Sheen simply speaking in front of a live audience without a script or cue cards, occasionally using a chalkboard.
The show, scheduled in a graveyard slot on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m., was not expected to challenge the ratings giants Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra, but did surprisingly well. Berle, known to many early television viewers as "Uncle Miltie" and for using ancient vaudeville material, joked about Sheen, "He uses old material, too", and observed that "[i]f I'm going to be eased off the top by anyone, it's better that I lose to the One for whom Bishop Sheen is speaking."
Sheen responded in jest that maybe people should start calling him "Uncle Fultie".
Life and Time magazine ran feature stories on Bishop Sheen. The number of stations carrying Life Is Worth Living jumped from three to fifteen in less than two months. There was fan mail that flowed in at a rate of 8,500 letters per week. There were four times as many requests for tickets than could be fulfilled. Admiral, the sponsor, paid the production costs in return for a one-minute commercial at the opening of the show and another minute at the close.
In 1952 Sheen won an Emmy Award for his efforts, accepting the acknowledgment by saying, "I feel it is time I pay tribute to my four writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John." Time called him "the first 'televangelist'", and the Archdiocese of New York could not meet the demand for tickets.
One of his best-remembered presentations came in February 1953, when he forcefully denounced the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin. Sheen gave a dramatic reading of the burial scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, substituting the names of prominent Soviet leaders Stalin, Lavrenty Beria, Georgy Malenkov, and Andrey Vyshinsky for the original Caesar, Cassius, Marc Antony, and Brutus. He concluded by saying, "Stalin must one day meet his judgment." The dictator suffered a stroke a few days later and died within a week.
The show ran until 1957, drawing as many as 30 million people on a weekly basis. In 1958, Sheen became national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, serving for eight years before being appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester, New York, on October 26, 1966. He also hosted a nationally syndicated series, The Fulton Sheen Program, from 1961 to 1968 (first in black and white and then in color). The format of this series was essentially the same as Life Is Worth Living.
In September 1974, the Archbishop of Washington asked Sheen to be the speaker for a retreat for diocesan priests at the Loyola Retreat House in Faulkner, Maryland. This was recorded on reel-to-reel tape, state of the art at the time.
Sheen requested that the recorded talks be produced for distribution. This was the first production of what would become a worldwide cassette tape ministry called Ministr-O-Media, a nonprofit company that operated on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Parish. The retreat album was titled, Renewal and Reconciliation, and included nine 60-minute audio tapes.
For several years, Ministr-O-Media was one of the largest distributors of non-musical tapes in the United States. The operation started in the St. Joseph’s rectory dining room and eventually grew into five temporary classrooms on the church property, employing nine parishioners full-time, and at one point 18 workers in all. At its height, Ministr-O-Media staff and volunteers were packaging and mailing 500 albums a week and, in ten years, shipped a million tapes to clients worldwide. The effort generated income of $15,000 per week.
St. Joseph’s Parish was targeted to be closed due to lack of funding for repairs before the chance connection between Sheen and Brady. The parish, founded in 1763, owed its continued existence to the intervention of Sheen and the tape ministry that rebuilt the church, in collaboration with a dedicated workforce of parish volunteers.
At Sheen’s direction, most of the tape ministry profits were turned over to the pope’s worldwide missionary effort, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In its decade of existence, Ministr-O-Media routed over a quarter million U.S. dollars to this charity
Sheen was credited with helping convert a number of notable figures to the Catholic faith, including agnostic writer Heywood Broun, politician Clare Boothe Luce, automaker Henry Ford II, Communist writer Louis F. Budenz, theatrical designer Jo Mielziner, violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler, and actress Virginia Mayo. Each conversion process took an average of 25 hours of lessons, and reportedly more than 95% of his students in private instruction were baptized.
According to the foreword written for a 2008 edition of Sheen's autobiography, Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, Catholic journalist Raymond Arroyo wrote why Sheen "retired" from hosting Life is Worth Living "at the height of its popularity ... [when] an estimated 30 million viewers and listeners tuned in each week." Arroyo wrote that "It is widely believed that Cardinal Spellman drove Sheen off the air."
Arroyo relates that "In the late 1950s the government donated millions of dollars worth of powdered milk to the New York Archdiocese. In turn, Cardinal Spellman handed that milk over to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to distribute to the poor of the world. On at least one occasion he demanded that the director of the Society, Bishop Sheen, pay the Archdiocese for the donated milk. He wanted millions of dollars. Despite Cardinal Spellman's considerable powers of persuasion and influence in Rome, Sheen refused. These were funds donated by the public to the missions funds Sheen himself had personally contributed to and raised over the airwaves. He felt an obligation to protect them, even from the itchy fingers of his own Cardinal."
Spellman later took the issue directly to Pope Pius XII, pleading his case with Sheen present. The Pope sided with Sheen. Spellman later confronted Sheen stating "I will get even with you. It may take six months or ten years, but everyone will know what you are like."
Besides being pressured to leave television Sheen also "found himself unwelcome in the churches of New York. Spellman cancelled Sheen's annual Good Friday sermons at St. Patrick's Cathedral and discouraged clergy from befriending the Bishop."
In 1966 Spellman had Sheen reassigned to Rochester, New York and caused his leadership at the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to be terminated (a position he had held for 16 years and raised hundreds of millions for, to which he had personally donated 10 million of his own earnings).
Sheen never talked about the situation, only making vague references to his "trials both inside and outside the Church". He even went so far as to praise Spellman in his autobiography.
While serving in Rochester, he created the Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, which survives to this day. He also spent some of his energy on political activities, such as his denunciation of the Vietnam War in late July 1967.
On Ash Wednesday in 1967, Sheen decided to give St. Bridget’s Parish building to the federal Housing and Urban Development program. Sheen wanted to let the government use it for African-Americans. There was a protest, since Sheen acted on his own accord. The pastor disagreed, saying that “There is enough empty property around without taking down the church and the school.” The deal fell through.
On October 15, 1969, one month after celebrating his 50th anniversary as a priest, Sheen resigned from his position and was then appointed Archbishop of the Titular See of Newport (Wales) by Pope Paul VI. This ceremonial position allowed Sheen to continue his extensive writing. Archbishop Sheen wrote 73 books and numerous articles and columns.
Beginning in 1977 Sheen "underwent a series of surgeries that sapped his strength and even made preaching difficult."
Throughout this time he continued to work on his autobiography, parts of which "were recited from his sickbed as he clutched a crucifix."
Sheen died of heart disease on December 9, 1979, having previously had open-heart surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is interred in the crypt of St. Patrick's Cathedral, near the deceased Archbishops of New York.