After repeated refusals the Archdiocese of New York will finally move Fulton Sheen’s remains to Peoria, allowing his cause for canonization to continue.
In 2002, the cause for canonization of Archbishop Sheen was opened by the Diocese of Peoria after the Archdiocese of New York stated they would not explore a cause. In 2014, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended the cause for beatification on grounds that the Holy See would expect Sheen’s remains to be in Peoria.
In 2016, Joan Sheen Cunningham – niece and closest living relative to Sheen – requested his remains be moved to further his cause for sainthood after Bishop Jenky’s decision. The Archdiocese of New York began a prolonged legal battle with Cunningham, however their latest appeal was denied clearing the way for the transfer of the remains.
Last Friday, the New York Court of Appeals handed down their ruling denying the final appeal to keep Archbishop Sheen’s remains in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York Joseph Zwilling acknowledged the decision in a statement:
“We have been informed that the New York Court of Appeals has denied further appeal of the New York Supreme Court decision upholding Joan Cunningham’s petition to disinter Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s mortal remains from under the altar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where they have rested for nearly 40 years.”
Zwilling also confirmed their cooperation in the transfer of Sheen’s remains:
“In light of the court’s denial of further appeal, the Trustees of Saint Patrick and the Archdiocese will work cooperatively with Mrs. Cunningham and the Diocese of Peoria to arrange for the respectful transfer of Archbishop Sheen’s mortal remains.”