The Fight Within the Catholic Church Over the Bones of America’s First Televangelist
Thirty million people tuned in to watch ‘Life Is Worth Living’ before he was sent into ecclesiastical exile. Now there’s a movement to have him sainted—and a battle over his bones.
Bishop Fulton Sheen was the world’s first televangelist, drawing 30 million viewers to his weekly show until he fell victim to a jealous cardinal who drove him off the air and out of New York into what was called “ecclesiastical Siberia.”
In posthumous recompense for the wrongs he suffered at the hands of Francis Cardinal Spellman, he was accorded the honor of being buried in the crypt beneath the altar at Saint Patrick’s cathedral.
But it was the small Illinois diocese where Sheen started out that began the process of making him a saint back in 2002. And the niece who is Sheen’s closest living relative has filed a lawsuit seeking to have his remains moved to a cathedral in Peoria.