The Diocese of Rochester confirmed on Thursday that it had requested a delay of the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, which had been scheduled for Dec. 21 until it was postponed indefinitely earlier this week.
But an official in the Diocese of Peoria said the Rochester diocese has not disclosed all of its interventions to delay the beatification.
“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 said in a statement Dec. 5.
The diocese noted it had particularly considered the issue of Sheen’s role in “priests’ assignments.”
“The Diocese of Rochester did its due diligence in this matter and believed that, while not casting suspicion, it was prudent that Archbishop Sheen’s cause receive further study and deliberation, while also acknowledging the competency of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to render its decision. The Holy See ultimately decided to postpone the beatification,” the diocese said.
The statement came one day after CNA’s first reported Dec. 4 that Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester had asked the apostolic nuncio to the United States to delay the beatification, citing concerns about an ongoing state attorney general’s investigation into the dioceses of New York state.
Sources told CNA that Matano was especially concerned that the attorney general could time the release of an announcement concerning Sheen to coincide with the beatification, potentially marring the celebration with allegations of scandal.
The Dec. 5 Rochester statement said the diocese had requested a delay “prior to any announcements of the beatification.”
The diocese said it had “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.”
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