From Catholic News Agency:Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Credit: Dumont Network, via Fair Use
The delay of the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen is not related to a 2007 allegation that Bishop Fulton Sheen witnessed and covered up an act of clerical sexual abuse, sources close to the beatification told CNA.
Sheen was due to be beatified at a Mass in Peoria, Illinois Dec. 21. The Diocese of Peoria announced Dec. 3 that the beatification will be delayed, so that more time can be given to examine Sheen’s life.
A source close to the beatification told CNA that the delay is not related a 2007 lawsuit which alleged that while an auxiliary bishop, Sheen walked in on an act of sexual abuse in a New York Church office, “called the victim a slut, told the priest to put his pants on, and did nothing to report the incident or comfort the victim. Bishop Sheen covered-up the crime.”
[A 2007 lawsuit filed by laicized priest Robert Hoatson alleges that Bishop Fulton Sheen witnessed and covered up an act of clerical sexual abuse, apparently while Sheen was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York.
The lawsuit, filed while Hoatson was priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, catalogs a number of instances of clerical sexual abuse Hoatson claims to have witnessed or heard about. Hoatson said he had learned about a number of those instances of abuse through his ministry of pastoral counseling.
Among those instances is one involving Sheen. The lawsuit said that Hoatson “is counseling a victim of a New York Archdiocesan priest whose sexual abuse continued for over ten years. One day, while the victim was being abused in the offices of the Propagation of the Faith in New York City, Bishop Fulton Sheen walked in on the abuse, called the victim a slut, told the priest to put his pants on, and did nothing to report the incident or comfort the victim. Bishop Sheen covered-up the crime.”]