|Bishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)
Bishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) was a famous preacher on U.S. radio and television. In June 2012, a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican stated that he lived a life of “heroic virtues” – a major step towards beatification – so he is now referred to as “Venerable”.
For 20 years as Father, later Monsignor, Sheen hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour (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.
Here is a transcript from the Fulton Sheen Program recorded in 1965, called There’s Hope (Part 3), that can be found on the YouTube website. In it, Bishop Sheen tells the true amazing story of a kid who wanted to make fun of confession, but who later became the Archbishop of Paris, France, which shows that one should never despair, because God will use the most surprising ways to convert us and bring us back to Him:
by Bishop Fulton Sheen
There was an archbishop of Paris who gave a very famous sermon at Notre Dame Cathedral. In the course of his sermon, he told of a priest who was hearing confessions. And in his confessional, he could hear three boys outside.
They were revolters; they were saying that God is dead. Then they decided to see if they could make fun in some way of what was in there. Then they hit upon the idea of one of them going in and making a confession. Just for the joke of it. So they agreed that anyone who would be brave enough to go in and make a confession – they would give him five francs.
The one boy said, “All right! I’ll go in.” And when he went in and made his confession, the priest, pretending he did not know anything about the conversation, and accepting the confession as if it was genuine, gave him as a penance to go up to the Communion rail, kneel down at the Communion rail and say, “God is dead. And I would not want you to help me, even if I needed you.” So the boy said he would go there.
So the boy came out and said to the others, “Give me the five francs.” And they said, “Oh no! You must have gotten a penance. Go and say your penance.” So he went up to the Communion rail and he started. He got out the words “God is dead”, and he choked. He could not finish the words, and he began to cry.
And the archbishop, continuing his sermon, said to his congregation, “I am that boy!” And that is the way I think the world is today: the brave little boy just half brave. And yet, on the way to light where there is hope beyond the resurrection. We can bear anything in this world, any kind of a how, so long as we know the why. And the why was given on the way to Emmaus.
Bishop Fulton Sheen