The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a charismatic figure of US Roman Catholicism in the 20th century and a pioneer in using media for religious purposes, is one step closer to sainthood.
A Vatican statement on Saturday said the pope had approved a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession, meaning he will be beatified. No date for the ceremony was given.
The Vatican did not identify the miracle in the Sheen case, but the Catholic News Agency reported that it was the full recovery of a baby named James Fulton Engstrom, who was stillborn in Illinois in September 2010.
The baby’s parents, Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield, prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son after he showed no signs of life when medical professionals tried to revive him.
A seven-member panel of medical experts advising the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints gave unanimous approval of the miracle attributed to Sheen in March 2014.
Sheen, who was born in Illinois in 1895 and died in New York in 1979, was sometimes called the first ‘televangelist’.
Between 1930 and 1950 he hosted ‘The Catholic Hour’ on the NBC radio network, which had an audience of four million.