His Last Words | Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Venerable Fulton John Sheen (born Peter John Sheen, May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979) was an American bishop (later archbishop) of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio. The cause for his canonization as a saint was officially opened in 2002. In June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially recognized a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints stating that he lived a life of “heroic virtues” – a major step towards beatification – so he is now referred to as “Venerable.”
Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of America as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester from October 21, 1966, to October 6, 1969, when he resigned and was made the Archbishop of the titular see of Newport, Wales.
For 20 years as Father Sheen, later Monsignor, he hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour on NBC (1930–1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1951–1957). Sheen’s final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show. For this work, Sheen twice won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Church Channel cable networks. Due to his contribution to televised preaching Sheen is often referred to as one of the first televangelists.
In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Messiah (Christ) and through his crucifixion and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life. These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of God the Father, as an “agent and servant of God”. The choice Jesus made thus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam’s disobedience.
Christians believe that Jesus was both human and divine—the Son of God. While there has been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, and “true God and true man”—both fully divine and fully human. Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin. As fully God, he defeated death and rose to life again. According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead. He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the World to Come.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.299 billion members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, who is known as the Pope. The church’s doctrines are summarised in the Nicene Creed. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within Rome, Italy.
The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ,[note 1] that its bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles, and that the Pope is the successor to Saint Peter to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders and enclosed monastic orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.
Of its seven sacraments the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.
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