Skip to content

Ven. Fulton J. Sheen the Most Popular Man in Television

Believe it or not, but there was a time when the most watched program on television was hosted by a Catholic bishop.  Each week 30,000,000 people weekly, Catholics and Protestants alike,  tuned in to watch Bishop Fulton J. Sheen discuss spiritual issues.  He had no special effects or cut scenes.  He stood almost exposed on on a sound stage in front of a live audience armed only with a bible and his trademark chalkboard.   Strangely, he didn’t need any graphics or effects.  Even when watching his program today it is enough to just see the man talking into the camera (I believe there were three in the studio).  His words carry that much weight.

Archbishop Sheen had a way of talking.  He was a man that knew the power of a pause.  It wasn’t just his words, the cleric was handsome, square jawed, extremely quick witted, all around telegenic.

The young bishop originally hosted a national radio program ‘The Catholic Hour’ from 1930-1950,  before being offered a time slot on the Du Mont Network.  Du Mont didn’t necessarily give Sheen a time slot out of charity.  They did it because they didn’t want to waste another expensive to produce program.  You see Sheen was originally broadcast against two extremely popular shows; CBS’s Frank Sinatra, and NBC’s “Mr. Television” Milton Berle who at one point in his career commanded 80% of the total television audience.

Despite being given this graveyard of a time slot Bishop Sheen shined.  His program ‘Life is Worth Living’ was an unexpected success.  Sheen was the only person to seriously challenge Berle for his TV crown.  The good bishop even won the Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding TV Personality’ in 1952.  Sheen was so popular that when the Du Mont network folded in the mid 1950’s ABC picked up ‘Life is Worth Living’ and aired it until 1957.  Sheen then hosted ‘The Fulton Sheen Program’ in syndication until 1968.

Sheen on temptation.

Sheen was also a stanch critic of communism, particularly Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union.  In part because of this he was able to strike up a well documented relationship with FBI director J. Edger Hoover.  Hoover’s file on Sheen (Hoover keept secret files on hundreds of popular Americans) is now available online HERE.  In this document one can see how far Sheen’s fight against communism went.

Sheen on loneliness.

After his television career  Sheen served as Bishop of Rochester NY.  Prior to this Sheen earned is bishop credentials byserving as Auxiliary bishop of New York since the early 1950’s.  His time in Rochester was short lived as Paul VI saw the need for Sheen as an evangelist, an in 1969 Sheen was named Archbishop of the titular see of Newport Wales so that he could continue his work of spreading the Christian message until his death in 1979.

1979 Good Friday Sermon.

Bonus:  Sheen’s appearance on the popular panel game show ‘What’s My Line’.

We should remember to pray for the now Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, and his cause for canonization.  More information on what you can do to support the cause is available from the Fulton J. Sheen Foundation.

Really Cool Video on the Latin Mass… No Really

This goes under my “so cool that I had to share it” file.

And they say that young people don’t care about religion.  This young woman not only shares her joy and love of the extraordinary form, but she also brings up a few good points about problems that can come along with the ordinary form as well.

She also has some great videos on subjects such as Natural Family Planning, chapel veils, defense of traditional marriage, the rosary, being pro-life, and many others.  It is great to see that as the more free-wheeling generation is graying that young Catholics are beginning to discover orthodoxy.

Thanks to Catholic Answer’s Leah Darrow for sharing this on her Facebook fan page!  You should follow Catholic people on Facebook.  They post cool stuff.

What Does Your Rosary Say About You?

I must admit.  I am a sacramental geek.  I love to read about, collect, and use all types of sacramentals.  Of course there are many types of sacrimentals that one might hold a personal devotion to.  I am a member of The Association of the Miraculous Medal, so I wear a miraculous medal daily. I have also been enrolled in the  Fivefold Scapular so this is also worn around my neck daily.  Again, around my neck I wear a St. Benedict Jubilee Medal that received a very long blessing in the extraordinary form  by a Benedictine Priest.  However today I’d like to focus on what may be the most common and customizable sacramental, the rosary.

Your rosary can say a lot about you.  The rosary can be customized by the type and color of bead, twine or chain, and finally the centerpiece and crucifix.  If you are like most Catholics you probably have several rosary’s that you have acquired throughout your life.  I can say that I don’t usually buy rosary’s, only have ones that I am given on special occasions.  I am missing two rosary’s from my lifetime collection, one my first communion rosary, and the other a rosary my mother got me from a trip to New Orleans.   All in all I have a small collection containing nine rosary’s that I have collected, mostly from special occasions, throughout my twenty-six years.

Oddly enough the rosary that I carry daily is one that I customized, the only rosary that I purchased for myself.  What does this say?  As I was praying the other day I realized that I use this rosary most often because it is customized to my personal devotional life.  It is a bundle of sacramental that I have personal devotion to.

My most often used rosary. Large black olive wood beads with Pardon Crucifix and Miraculous Medal Center. There is also a St. Benedict Jubilee Medal attached to the first decant.

I refer to this as my “powerhouse rosary” because of the combination of powerfully indulged sacramentals that have much power over evil.   As you can see in the picture, my rosary has a St. Benedict Jubilee medal attached.  The St. Benedict Medal is included because of my personal devotion which springs from the experience of attending a Benedictine run parish while in grad school (the time of my “conversion” from “not so good Catholic” to “attempting to be a good Catholic”).  The crucifix on the rosary is a Pardon Crucifix.  I included this sacramental because at the time I was harboring a lot of resentment for a woman whom I was involved with who could not accept my Catholic faith.  Finally the centerpiece of this rosary is a Miraculous Medal.  This medal was given to  St. Catherine Labouré by Our Lady, it is historically a highly indulged and powerful sacramental.

I own other rosary’s.  I particularly like one that my aunt (a sister of the School Sister of Notre Dame) gave me for confirmation with its natural colored wooden beads beautiful crucifix, and personal meaning.  I also occasionally use the rosary that I received upon completing my first degree in the Knights of Columbus.

Knights of Columbus Rosary with Bl. John Paul the Great style crucifix.

A small rosary using cord instead of chain. The rosary I used through grad school.

A St. Benedict rosary with St. Benedict Crucifix and St. Benedict Jubilee Medal centerpiece. I won this beautiful rosary in a raffle at the 2011 St. Louis Eucharist Congress.

Of course praying the rosary is about asking for Our Lady’s prayers, but it is still possible to work our personal devotions into this prayer.  I end the rosary with the short prayer involving the Pardon Crucifix “: “Our father who art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” followed by kissing the crucifix, and the prayer to St. Michael.

So what is your style.  How does your rosary say who you are?  What way do you work your personal devotions into your rosary?

My First FSSP experience

Yesterday I visited a friend in Quincy, Illinois.  While in town she suggested that we attend the 12:15pm mass at St. Rose of Catholic Church, a parish operated by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.  This was her first visit to an extrodinary form mass and my first visit to a FSSP parish.  Despite the fact that I’ve now been attending the extraordinary form for almost two years I have n0t yet had the pleasure of visiting a parish operated by this group of dedicated priests.   (This is because the two oratories that celibate the extraordinary form in my home of St. Louis are operated by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and by the Benedictines respectively)

Firstly, I have to say that the church building was quite beautiful.  The parish was dedicated to the extraordinary form and trusted to the FSSP in 2008 after being closed shortly before.  I was quite pleased to see a sign in the foyer asking patrons to dress honorably when entering the building.  The inside was simple yet very beautiful.  Unfortunately I did not have my camera to capture pictures of this parish I do have a link to the parish’s photo page:  I was told that the church looks quite different from its use as a regular diocese parish, of course having its alter rails re-installed and modern alter removed, but also several traditional practices such as a small shrine to Our Mother of Perpetual Help installed.

When we arrived about a half hour before mass a rosary was already being said, and in its third decade.  At noon (the rosary was finished) everyone stood and recited the Angelus.  The mass itself was a dialogue mass, with the people reciting the servers responses.  A first for me at a extraordinary form mass was the priest leaving the alter and reading the Epistle and Gospel in English at the ambo.  No homily was delivered.

As for my sweet’s first impressions of a Latin mass; she said it was enjoyable.  We shared my St. Joseph missal so that she could follow.  She enjoyed one advantage over me from my first Latin mass experience, which is a basic knowledge of Latin coming from her theology and musical studies in college.  I’ll have to have her write a guest post for a look at her personal incite.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience for the both of us.  She is looking forward to attending again, as do I during my visits.




Okay I’m Back

Okay I’m back now.

Sorry I don’t have that review of the Baronius Press missal for you; that is still to come.  I’ve had a few personal happenings in my life that made blogging… less important.

I’ll also apologize for a short welcome back post, but what more is there to say?  Longer posts will come this weekend (that Baronius review will come on Saturday).

God Bless!



Slow Posting Week

I’m sorry that it has been a slow posting week.  I was out of town last weekend.  This was followed by my present “finals week” (no one tells you as a student that finals week is far more work as a professor).  Then I will be backpacking for three days to unwind from the aforementioned “finals week”.

Needless to say I probably won’t be on a regular posting schedule again until Monday.  I know that you are all just dying for me to tell you what to think, but you will have to wait another couple of days.

Preview: Monday I’ll be posting my personal review of my Baronius Press missal.  I know that there are already a few reviews floating around, but I’d like to add a few more pics to your collection if you are still on the fence about purchasing this book.

God Bless,


Why All The Hate NCR?

If you are like me you read all of the Catholic News sites and publications that you can get your hands on.  For the past few years we haven’t seen a lot of good news.  Abortion has been on the rise, the sex abuses scandal is still being felt, and bishops have been silent on issues ranging from catechesis of the faithful to basic human rights and social justice.

But lately there has been a wind of change in the Catholic atmosphere in the United States.  Since President Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services decided to force Catholic institutions such as colleges and hospitals to break with moral conscience and provide contraception to employees, the bishops of the United States have been beautifully vocal and unified.

Needless to say the Catholic news sources are full of praise for our bishops and good news regarding the fight against the HHS mandate.  Unfortunately there is one last holdout who refuses to post this positive news.  The National Catholic Reporter is the voice of liberal “Catholics”.  While Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register support the magisterium and the Catholic faith the NCR seems to have decided to double their efforts to undermine Catholic doctrine and the magisterium.

A quick rundown of headlines are as follows.

  • From Oregon to Ohio, a swell of support for Catholic sisters,  [This article may sound positive on the surface, but upon reading you see that the support is for by the supposed lay faithful for the sisters as the mean old Vatican attacks the poor nuns.]
  • Austrian Parish Listens to Priest, none receive the host, [The article is about a priest who asked anyone in the congregation who was in a state of mortal sin to not receve communion.  What a noble idea!  To follow the rules.  But not so fast, the article sides with the layity who were being ‘antagonized’ by the priest”]  A quote for the story: – “one of the mothers of a child receiving first Communion told the press it was incomprehensible that the few remaining Catholics were being antagonized like this.”
  • LCWR crackdown more complicated than ‘Rome vs. America, [My first problem with this story is the biased title.  A ‘crackdown’ implies that the nuns have done nothing wrong and ‘Rome’ has.  My second issue with the article is that it is full of language like ‘investigation’, ‘crackdown’, and went as far as giving the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the title of “the Vatican’s powerful theological watchdog agency.”]

Really its not news that the NCR’s lack of faithfulness to the Church is nothing new.  It isn’t even newsworthy, in fact its expected, but I felt the need to rant.  Thank you for listening.

May, The Month of the Blessed Virgin

We are getting ready to start my favorite month of the year.  May is special to me for more than one reason.  For one since I was a kid I’ve been a summer person with a despise for winter and fall.  Summer meant no school, baseball, auto racing, and car shows (I’m a bit of a gear head.)  Today summer is still special to me.  I’ve never grown out of my distaste for winter.  Even though there is no three month summer break, there is still something liberating about summer.

May is great.  It is the gateway month to the glowing, warm, liberating season of summer.  To us Catholics May is also special for another reason.  May is a month detected to the Blessed Virgin.  The month is capped off with the celebration of the Visitation, celebrating Mary becoming the first evangelist by visiting her cousin Elizabeth, on May 31.

Of course every day is a great day to ask our heavenly mother for her prayers, but may is an especially good time to spice up your prayer life and rededicate yourself to your favorite Marian devotion.

A Crowning with Flowers

This month many parishes will have special masses and devotions for Our Lady.  Next Sunday my home parish will celebrate a centuries old ritual of crowning a statue of Mary with flowers.

Of course one can find ways to venerate Mary all year round.  If you are the type that enjoys saying a daily rosary than I can think of no greater grace than joining the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary.  This Confraternity is connected to several indulgences for those members who pray each of the four sets of mysteries weekly.  Several masses are also said by the Dominican fathers for members.

I’ve also recently become a member of the Association of the Miraculous Medal.    Like with  the Rosary Confraternity several masses are said for members annually.  There are also indulgences attached to membership.  One can enroll individually or as a family for just $0.25 per year.

Finally I also find comfort praying to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  Many parishes across the world have perpetual help devotions on Tuesdays.  I am luck enough to be a member of an oratory that has a special mass every Tuesday evening on a special  alter dedicated for this purpose.   Every Tuesday 50 or so of the faithful gather for this celebration of mass followed by devotions.   The oratory is also home to the Archconfraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help which grants additional indulgences to members who participate in the devotion and mass monthly.

Even if your parish does not have a special devotion for the month of May I hope you can find your own personal way to honor our mother and our Queen.

Good Show Bishop Jenky

I first heard about Bishop Jenky’s comments this week on Catholic Answers Live.  If you have not heard; this week Bishop Daniel Jenky, currently serving as Bishop of Peoria, recently made comments during a homily calling on the Catholic Laity to vote with their consciences  this November.  In the homily Jenkey also drew comparisons between the erosion of religious liberties  under the Obama administration’s HHS mandate and the erosion of liberties under Hitler and Stalin during the first half of the century.

During a quick search of YouTube I found a recording of His Excellency’s homily.  Please listen to the strong comments and sobering points brought up by the good bishop.  I’d like to thank for posting the recording (maybe the only time I thank that website for anything).

According to The Huffington Post many faculty members from Jenkey’s college, The University of Notre Dame, are asking university administration to remove Bishop Jenkey from the school’s board of fellows.  In case you are interested the Huff Post link contains the text of the letter and a list of signers listed with their respected departments.  I will refrain from ranting about Notre Dame being a complete disappointment to the Catholic faith and not being an organization that should have any authority to speak for the faithful until a later post.

It seems now, according to The Kansas City Star, that in addition to the statement from Notre Dame faculty members it seems that anti-Catholic Rev. Barry Lynn, who is currently serving as the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is filing suit against the Diocese of Peoria in an attempt to remove their tax exempt status.  In light of this most recent news I question where Rev. Barry Lynn was when President Obama was campaigning in protestant churches across the country.

I’d like to ask you to take action and drop His Excellency a line.  Let him know he has your support and that you are praying for him.

Bishop Jenkey deserves our gratitude for being vocal on an unpopular issue.  I wish more bishops were this brazen in reminding Catholics that being Christian is a lifestyle, not just something we do for an hour on Sunday’s.

Contact the  Bishop’s Office HERE.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan Makes the Time 100

A few weeks ago I made a post asking you to vote Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York into time Time 100.  Well… He made it!!!

Each year Time magazine compiles a list of the 100 most influential people in the world.  This is His Eminence’s first appearance on the list.  As stated Dolan is currently Archbishop of New York, having been enthroned just over three years ago.  He is also the current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and his Vatican title is Cardinal-Priest of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario.

Since January Cardinal Dolan has led the bishops of the United States in the fight for religious freedom against the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic institutions break moral conscience and provide contraception and abortions to employees.

Dolan has united the bishops of the United States in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades.  Dolan has stood up and taken an unpopular position in today’s world.  He has been the first U.S. Church leader in years to come out publicly against the sin that is contraception on a large scale.  It is my hope that many Catholics who are living with the mortal sin of contracepting will realize what a mistake they have made and come back into communion with the Holy Mother Church.

For years Catholic bishops have been silent on the moral corrosion of society.  This corrosion has even reached the poorly catechized faithful of the Catholic Church.   Now, under Cardinal Dolan the bishops of the United States mean to fight back against sin even if it mean ruffling a few feather and making more than a few uncomfortable about their choices.

Congratulations Cardinal Dolan and thank you for having the bravery that so many have not had.