In a purely speculative exercise, and assuming that the whole fight over his corpse is a diversion, we’ve been putting forth what we think are some reasons why Fulton Sheen’s “cause” for canonization may have been put on hold. Oddly enough, we think we might have come up with a plausible reason — keeping in mind that “plausible” does not mean “probable,” and that “probable” does not mean “I-really-want-this-to-have-happened-therefore-it-did.
In our book we believe we have traced the major source of the problem to the influence of Msgr. John A. Ryan, a.k.a., “Monsignor New Deal,” “The Right Reverend New Dealer,” and the modernist changes he introduced into the understanding of the natural law in A Living Wage (1906), and applied in the work he considered his magnum opus, Distributive Justice (1916). We have hard evidence to support this contention, and we present it in our book.
The fact is there is evidence of a clear animus Ryan had against Sheen, whom he evidently greatly feared, and took steps to neutralize the threat represented by one “destined to shed more light and luster” (Fulton Sheen, Treasure in Clay, p. 44) than anyone else upon Catholic University, thereby displacing Ryan from his throne. This may be the cross to which Sheen referred in the opening of Life of Christ (1958).
In our opinion, the suspension of Sheen’s cause may be due to the same conflict in paradigms with which CESJ has been struggling since its founding in 1984. We see this also in civil society, the economy, and throughout Islam, which (in our opinion) is undergoing a “reformation” of sorts that will determine whether it goes with the Aristotelian reason-based orientation of Ibn Khaldûn, or with the faith-based orientation of the Wahhabi and the Caliphate.
The world is divided by a great culture war between faith and reason, when it should be united on the basis of clear principles of the natural law enlightened and guided, not contradicted or opposed, by faith, hope, and charity. Until the issue is decided, it could be considered unwise or imprudent to do anything other than suspend the cause for Sheen’s canonization.
If Sheen’s cause proceeded further before the issue is settled, those who venerate him for his faith and spirituality (which just happens to be exactly the same as theirs, especially when it isn’t) yet reject his reason-based Aristotelian-Thomism, would claim validation of their position. This would, on a much smaller scale, be as much a disaster as what happened with the hijacking of the Second Vatican Council — and as unwarranted as it would be unjust.