Cleansing Fire

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Is this what’s secretly behind the Sheen delay? (“Second Thoughts” added)

December 6th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

An archival video just surfaced? And it is in the heart of the problems in today’s church? Could this be the real cause of the delay?  Lifesitenews entitles their story:

Abp. Sheen condemns ‘false compassion’ for homosexuals in resurfaced video

And that headline says a lot. Why should all this ‘delay melee’ fall on Bishop Matano? It is the Pope who wants us to “accompany” sinners, and that has been a non-starter among the Faithful from the beginning. Cardinals Dolan and Cupich are the ones who tout accommodating the sins as well as the sinners, and there are plenty of quotes to that effect, whether in St. Francis Xavier Church applause for LGBT or in the St. Patrick’s day parade where the only ones banned were the pro-lifers. And let’s not forget that it was Cdl. Dolan who, by holding onto Abp. Sheen’s body, was able to prevent progress of his cause. One of his predecessors, Cdl. Spellman, must have been cheering from the crypt. What a politically incorrect and embarrassing turn of events:  A saint who refused a payoff demanded by Cdl. Spellman! A saint who believes sin is, well, SIN,  even when it’s a favorite sin among the hierarchy! A saint who believes in ALL the Deposit of Faith!  Truly embarrassing.

This ‘delay of beatification’ event all smells very wrong. Something really doesn’t fit. I certainly don’t agree with Bishop Matano on everything in the diocese, nor am I the right person to be a defender, but I do believe that he believes. He has no ax to grind about reversing any of Bp. Sheen’s actions as far as I can see, but Sheen’s earlier successors did. Bp. Matano is a convenience to the Cardinals; put him out in front of the call for delay, and stay in the shadows. How lucky that the State Attorney General is still working the list, as an excuse to hold things up!  And those lawsuits (e.g. “what else will we find out in testimony in the cases?) may then even serve as additional delay. The bankruptcy further diverts attention and makes excuse.  If I had to guess, the odds seem great that the delay is permanent. But why was there even such a delay in getting the delay?  Is it because of the ‘need’ seen after the video just found?

So after the ad limina visit to Rome, during the USCCB meeting, the Buffalo Bishop steps down, the Albany Bishop takes over, the Rochester Bishop is put out front to take the heat on delaying Sheen, Cardinal Dolan has yet another reason for a big guffaw, and Cdl. Cupich gets another pat on the head from the Pope. Let’s hold up before jumping to conclusions about Bp. Matano; to me he looks like cannon fodder in an administrative process, and as the one having the most to lose. And, like Christ  before Pilate, he is keeping his mouth shut — hence all inquiries are directed to Rome.

The old adage “Follow the money” is easily translated into “Who has the most to gain?” Clearly, it is anyone who does not want Bp. Sheen to be canonized. It is hard to find any reason for Bp. Matano to want to deep-six the beatification. In all good conscience, he could have relied on the due diligence of Peoria, even as a defense if some spurious complaint were found. As far as I know, Bp. Matano does not seem to have anything personal to be gained by being the one to “pull the plug” on such a popular cause. Moreover, the publicity associated with the delay may indeed give rise to more complaints, especially in the expectation of being “attached” publicly to some famous person. Said another way, quite simply, the very publicity due to the delay may give more people the idea to file claims in Rochester. And that will be costly to the diocese, for which Bp. Matano bears obligation for its patrimony. Why then would Bp. Matano take such a chance? I have no idea, other than obedience to priestly vows, if he had been ordered to do so. Where does Satan fit in all this? In driving a wedge between prelates, and between a bishop and his flock having trouble understanding and trusting in something which seems so divisive. And, perhaps, in feeding his hatred of a saint and weakening that saint’s teaching?

I make no claims that my view is the correct one but, from all that I can see, the conclusions drawn up to this time are not justified by public facts.

See also

Some Second Thoughts after the original posting

It appears that there are similarities in a variety of  quotes in different “Catholic” sources. Rather than “naming names” let the reader be invited to check out the articles which appeared almost immediately after the announcement that the beatification wasn’t going forward on December 21st. Here’s what is unique, or at least unusual:

  • All the sources used similar language (some much stronger than others) in clearly identifying Bp. Matano as the source of the complaint against proceeding with the beatification.
  • All agreed that Bp. Matano brought in the two Cardinals, who supported him to the Pope.
  • The appearance of text blaming Bp. Matano was unusually fast yet giving more personal detail than the Vatican usually gives out on internal machinations of a decision.
  • All raised the specter of NYS attorney general’s work, the concern that more would be found, yet stating nothing had been found of a suspicious nature;
  • All seemed to agree there was one priest in Rochester handled by Bp. Sheen but they were all careful to admit it wasn’t an issue (since Peoria had already vetted it.) Moreover, it was handled excellently by Bp. Sheen, but one might see only a grudging acknowledgement of the same.
  • All seemed to agree that Bp. Jenky hadn’t concurred, or at least it certainly wasn’t his initiative for the postponement. Whether he knew about Bp. Sheen’s video which mentioned homosexuality seems not to be known.
  • Most releases (maybe all) did not say anything about the Sheen family, and downplayed or ignored the $1 million spent by Cdl. Dolan to have fought and lost to the Sheen family.
  • All who mentioned the cardinals indicated that it was Bp. Matano who brought them into the matter. One might speculate that this also resulted from the ad limina visit, although none of the media seemed to mention that possibility.
  • Bp. Jenky was positioned as obeying (cooperating with) the command to “postpone”, but limited in response.
  • There were typos or misspellings of some names and titles, perhaps intended to make further searching difficult? (See Abaccio’s comment on this post.)
  • The teaching against permissiveness toward homosexuality, by Bp. Sheen, was treated as a separate matter in news stories from the beatification postponement. In what I read, there wasn’t even any denial that they could be related, both disclosures coming so close together. How can we not wonder?

Warning: the above are impressions from the readings of some (but not all) of the releases. To me, the rapidity of response and the same theme in each seems to indicate simultaneous releases to shape the Catholic Media response, aka “seeding the story.” We’ve learned a lot in the last few years about how fake news operates, and “seeding” the commentary is not an unusual strategy. The early commentators thus get credited with the truth, and then it is an uphill battle to bring forward other reasoned responses. Oh, yes, and often those most at the center of the storm can simply refer the media elsewhere, in this case to the Vatican! This means fewer quotes leading to contradictions among the players? And that is how ‘consistency’ in reporting can be managed, so they don’t contradict themselves or the organization.

BTW:  Do we really have trouble believing that the found video isn’t a prime cause of the postponement? I would imagine that the video, produced when homosexual lifestyle was not only a violation of God’s Law (as it still is), but was also a crime under NYS (and other states) laws, will jar some viewers. It reminds us of how far the current papal opinions on “accompanying” the sinner have gone, and makes true Bp. Sheen’s warnings. If the Church has trouble beatifying and canonizing Bp. Sheen for his comments against permissiveness toward homosexual sin, let us remember that virtually every canonized saint would be in the same situation, with what they wrote, taught or counseled. Are we ready to wipe clean the entire Roman martyrology and start over with exceptions for certain sins? Or is Bp. Sheen reminding us from the grave what he had warned us about?

Here is a short link which covers part of the talk, with a lot of backpedaling and explanation by Cardinal O’Malley for the modern moral theology view:


4 Responses to “Is this what’s secretly behind the Sheen delay? (“Second Thoughts” added)”

  1. avatar Abaccio says:

    In an op-ed by a Monsignor Kruse (VG of the Diocese of Peoria ), Rochester is accused of “sabotage.”

    Now, if this were 2012, I would believe it. If our previous Vicar General were still our Vicar General, I might believe it. But I do have some trust in Bishop Matano.

    In this op-ed, Monsignor Kruse claims he spoke to Father Conlon, our VG. The only problem? Father CONDON is not our VG. A random layman might not understand the difference between a Chancellor and a VG, but a sitting VG ought to! A random blogger might misspell a name, but a VG issuing an Op-Ed?

    He also manages to get the Nuncio’s name wrong, spell Doug Mandelaro’s name wrong, use generally incorrect terminology and fails to respect the conventions of standard written English.

    There is nothing wrong with exercising caution and prudence with regard to these matters.

  2. avatar BigE says:

    The church should go back to it’s prior practice of waiting 50 years before even considering someone for Sainthood. Everything is out by then and any bias (one way or the other) has usually dissipated.

  3. avatar militia says:

    People are so mad about pulling the beatification. It doesn’t make sense that any bishop would do that while in the middle of the Catholic Ministry Appeal(CMA)and risk alienating his own parishioners as well as the rest of the world.

  4. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Filling in the blanks! Why did the Vatican back the cancellation of Bishop Sheen’s beatification? One clue was Sheen’s strong stance against what now seems to be the favorite sin of the hierarchy. If that was the point, then here is the counterpoint. The Vatican has just published a book claiming that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah wasn’t homosexual activity, but that it was lack of hospitality.” The following article claims that PF asked for the book to be written:

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