PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s journey to sainthood has been delayed as Vatican officials postponed this month’s scheduled beatification in Peoria.
The Catholic Diocese of Peoria says in a news release Tuesday that Vatican officials postponed the ceremony that would have put Sheen one step from sainthood.
No reason was given why Sheen, ordained in Peoria in 1919 and who died in 1979, will not be beatified this month or why a “few members of the Bishop’s Conference asked for further consideration.”
The diocese says in the release that it is important to say “in our current climate” when the church continues to deal with the issue of sexual abuse by priests that Sheen’s life has been thoroughly investigated and at no time has “his life of virtue ever been called into question.”
Pope Francis notified the diocese last month that the beatification of Sheen had been approved and would take place on Dec. 21. No new date has been set for the beatification.
Sheen’s remains were returned to Peoria from New York this year after a court ruled Sheen’s niece could bury the clergyman known for his radio and TV preaching could be buried there.