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NY Court: Move Fulton Sheen's Remains To Peoria

Fulton Sheen
Flickr via Creative Commons
Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the cover of TV Guide.

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria on Friday hailed a New York court ruling that may finally clear the way for Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s remains to be brought to central Illinois.

The New York Superior Court ruled in favor of Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen’s niece, the Peoria diocese said in a statement Friday. Cunningham has tried for years to get the New York archdiocese to allow her uncle’s remains to be moved to Peoria. Her petition has been tied up in the courts, and this week’s ruling is the second time the Superior Court has ruled in Cunningham’s favor.

The latest fight over testimony focused on whether Sheen, a famous Catholic TV evangelist, would (or would not have) objected to his remains being transferred to Peoria. He died in 1979, and his remains are at New York’s St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The Peoria diocese said the new ruling is the “next step towards bringing Sheen’s beatification to completion, including a beatification ceremony in Peoria.” Beatification is a key step toward sainthood.

“Therefore, it is everyone’s hope that Cardinal (Timothy) Dolan as well as the New York Archdiocese will cease their legal resistance and respect the ruling of the Superior Court. (Peoria) Bishop (Daniel) Jenky hopes that the New York Archdiocese will cooperate with Joan Sheen Cunningham and the Diocese of Peoria in the practical matters as to moving the remains of Venerable Archbishop Sheen to Peoria,” the Peoria diocese said in a statement Friday.

Sheen was born in El Paso, where a Sheen spiritual center and museum are located. Sheen's popular program "Life Is Worth Living" was a pioneer of TV evangelization.

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