The Diocese of Rochester in New York confirmed that Bishop Salvatore Matano requested to postpone Fulton Sheen’s upcoming beatification.
Originally set for December 21st, Fulton Sheen’s beatification was postponed earlier this week at the “request of a few members of the Bishop’s conference.”
The Diocese of Rochester said they requested the postponement of the beatification because they have “concern” about his “role in priests’ assignments” in a statement:
“A person’s cause for beatification must entail a review of the person’s entire life. In this regard, the Diocese of Rochester has considered the tenure of Archbishop Sheen as the Bishop of Rochester. The Diocese of Rochester provided the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the Office of the Apostolic Nuncio with documentation that expressed concern about advancing the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen at this time without a further review of his role in priests’ assignments.”
Diocese of Peoria official Monsignor James Kruse said Bishop Matano sent a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio after the beatification was announced as “they did not agree with the fact the beatification date was set and announced, and asked that further consideration be done.”
Kruse said postponement is the result of former Rochester priest Gerard Guli. In 1963 the Diocese of Rochester received an allegation that in 1960 Guli committed misconduct against adults, not minors.
Kruse said the Guli “returned from Wheeling to help his sick parents” in 1967. Sheen became the Bishop of Rochester in October of 1966. Some claim Sheen gave Guli an assignment in Rochester, but Kruse said this is explicitly and patently false as even Guli said he was not given an assignment by Sheen. Kruse said under “extensive scrutiny” by Rome and all others, Sheen has been “exonerated in all things.”
“Upon my scrutiny and extensive scrutiny of the information regarding Sheen’s administration, particularly in the case of Guli, that Sheen acted in no way to put children in harm’s way or danger, he in no way did cover-up, and I have spoken to Guli who has told me that the assignment that is being claimed was given to him by Sheen, Guli has told me he never served there. We have known about the Guli issue for quite a long time and all of that has been thoroughly examined…that all of the life and everything has been vetted, and in the end, Sheen is exonerated in things. And likewise, Rome has vetted all of that also.”
Another official close to the beatification process corroborated Kruse’s statement.
“The officials of the cause in Illinois looked very carefully at every part of his ministry as a bishop in New York. They did not find that he handled cases badly.”
Kruse said it was actually Sheen’s successor, Bishop Hogan, that gave Guli the assignment.
“The documents clearly show that Sheen’s successor, Bishop Hogan, appointed Guli, and it’s at that assignment that Guli offended again. It’s Bishop Hogan who appointed Guli to the parishes in the towns of Campbell and Bradford where Guli offended, and it’s part of the reason that led to his ultimate removal and laicization, as well as other issues. And so this whole concept that Sheen appointed a pedophilic priest, that’s just not true.”
While the Diocese of Peoria says the decision to postpone the beatification “was solely the decision of the Holy See,” Kruse said it was the Diocese of Rochester that influenced it: “I have seen the statement saying that they did.”