The late Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen is on a fast track for “sainthood.” In June he was declared “venerable,” meaning he is two steps away from canonization, when he will be entered into the Catholic Church’s canon of saints. Sheen (1895-1979) had a vast influence in spreading Roman Catholicism through his radio and television broadcasts from 1930-1968. The audience to his weekly television broadcast, Life Is Worth Living, reached 30 million. He believed that his success came by praying to the consecrated wafer of the mass, “the Blessed Sacrament,” which is kept in a little box called a tabernacle in Catholic churches (“Archbishop Fulton Sheen Beatification,” EWTN News, June 30, 2012).
The mass wafer was his Jesus. In his autobiography, Treasure in Clay, Sheen said that one of his spiritual secrets was to offer a weekly mass “in honor of the Blessed Mother to solicit her protection of my priesthood.” He devoted an entire chapter to Mary, “The Woman I Love,” saying, “When I was ordained, I took a resolution to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist every Saturday to the Blessed Mother ... All this makes me very certain that when I go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will say to me in His Mercy: ‘I heard My Mother speak of you.’ During my life I have made about thirty pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and about ten to her shrine in Fatima” (Treasure in Clay, p. 317). Thus by his own testimony, Fulton Sheen’s hope of eternal life and acceptance before God was wrapped up in Mary.
Billy Graham and Fulton Sheen became close friends beginning in 1944 when Graham was a young evangelist with Youth For Christ. In his autobiography, Graham says he was traveling on a train from Washington to New York and was just drifting off to sleep when Sheen knocked on the sleeping compartment and asked to “come in for a chat and a prayer” (Graham, Just As I Am, p. 692). Graham says: “We talked about our ministries and OUR COMMON COMMITMENT TO EVANGELISM, AND I TOLD HIM HOW GRATEFUL I WAS FOR HIS MINISTRY and his focus on Christ. … We talked further and we prayed; and by the time he left, I felt as if I had known him all my life.” Thus, Graham testifies that he accepted Fulton Sheen’s sacramental gospel as true “evangelism” even in the earliest days of his ministry.
This exposes a serious deception, because while Billy Graham was befriending Catholic cardinals as fellow evangelists, he was assuring fundamentalist leaders such as Bob Jones Sr. and John R. Rice that he was opposed to Catholicism and that he was a Biblical separatist. It is obvious that Billy Graham was never committed to that position from his heart. Further, it was associations with men like Sheen that corrupted Graham’s thinking. Well does God’s Word say, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
(Friday Church News Notes, August 17, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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