Bishop Fulton Sheen in Black and White

Once upon a time there was a place where families thrived in a traditional values environment. Generally that meant there was ethnicity and community. It also meant that society was monochromatic. Yes, things were black and white.  And while I don’t mean television, TV was simple too: black and white.

Being raised in a Catholic Polish family meant living in an ethnic, traditional neighborhood where nothing was gray; not values, not church and that included Bishop Fulton Sheen.

As a young girl I lived in fear of three things: confession, my grandmother (AKA “Busha”),  and Bishop Sheen. Timing is everything. I was born too late for the weekly night time radio program, The Catholic Hour. But I recall hearing aunts and uncles tell stories of a Bishop’s voice that reverberated truth in a no nonsense approach to the right life.

I would not, however, escape the memorable influence of Bishop Sheen.  Like “saying” the daily rosary and meatless Fridays, watching Life is Worth Living and The Fulton Sheen Program were sacrosanct. During the 1950’s and 1960’s Sheen, in his royalty, would look directly into the camera and your soul and speak without mincing words on moral issues of the day.

Sheen was a televangelist before the term was coined. Here are a few quotes Bishop Sheen is credited with saying:

There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.

A heckler asked Bishop Sheen a question about someone who had died. The Bishop replied, “I will ask him when I get to heaven.” The heckler replied, “What if he isn’t in Heaven?” The Bishop replied, “Well then you ask him.”

A man told Bishop Sheen he did not believe in hell. The Bishop replied, “You will when you get there.”

Our brains today are big enough. Could it be that our hearts are too small?

Dirt is nothing more than matter which is in the wrong place.

As Our Lord said, “Where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” Hence the least love of GOD is worth more than the knowledge of all created things.

Did you know that, in Heaven, an angel is a no-body?

We cannot like everyone, but we can love everyone.

When we say we fear GOD, we mean we shrink from hurting One Whom we love.

We do not need a voice that is right when everyone else is right. We need a voice that is right when everyone else is wrong.

Hearing nuns’ confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.

Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.

Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?

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