The Evolution of the Work
Originally created as an oral encyclopedia of Catholic knowledge in 1965, Archbishop Sheen opted not to produce this work in print. It took thirty-six years to become a book.
As Archbishop Sheen describes in this book, the written Word came about after those who had witnessed to Christ began to disappear from the face of the earth and it became necessary to record what had been primarily a spoken history. Archbishop Sheen's voice has been silent now over two decades; let this record of an historic work continue his work of bringing souls closer to Christ.
There is a thread of continuity running through the work that ties in Archbishop Sheen's forty-six year career as the leading spokesman of American Catholicism. Those familiar with his radio, television, and written works will rediscover simple truths which made him one of the most popular preachers of his time.
He had a profound impact on radio and television and many feel his destiny would be fulfilled as patron saint of the media.
The original recordings were made to discs in Archbishop Sheen's private New York City residence.
Archbishop Sheen produced this work using the style of an open discourse rather than in written form. Each of the 50 lectures ran 30 minutes and were recorded by
Dictaphone to floppy discs. He used no notes and prepared about ten hours for each lesson. The work ran over 22 hours. Flaws appeared as a result of not being scripted and not being recorded in a professional studio.
The original record series
The work was transferred to 25 long playing 33-1/2 rpm vinyl records and distributed by
Propagation of the Faith Recordings under the title: "LIFE IS WORTH LIVING." Presumably, Archbishop Sheen sent this album series to anyone writing him in search of salvation and the Christian philosophy of life. It is unknown how many sets were distributed in response to the millions of letters he received.
The audiocassette version
The work was re-recorded onto 25-audiocassettes and distributed in two albums by
Keep the Faith, Inc. under the title, YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH. It retails for $59.95 and has a run time of 22 hours. Over 50,000 copies
have been sold around the world.
The cassettes were recorded from a copy of the work and not the master discs. Aside from some minor
technical flaws, parts are inaudible due to Archbishop Sheen's dramatic inflection and inadvertent movements away from the microphone.
The compact disc version
In 2000, Keep the Faith, Inc. had a professional recording studio re-record the work onto compact discs, editing out the static. The new 25-CD album set retails for $79.95 and hosts a new title: A CATHOLIC CATECHISM. It has an enhanced quality and is the best reproduction of the original work. It also runs 22 hours.
The hardback book version
In 1986, the work was transcribed by Jon Hallingstad to a Macintosh computer from a Sony Walkman. The 22 hour opus created a 143,000 word document. The work includes two indexes, the additional biblical index references the more than 450 biblical quotations. Included in the book are over 31 photos from the
Fulton J. Sheen Archives in Rochester, New York.
Also included in the index of the book is the last will and testament of Fulton
J. Sheen, changed just one week before his death.
The cover is taken from famous Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh,
[permission from Woodfin Camp Associates] who collaborated with Archbishop
Sheen on three books in the 1960's.
In 2002, the original 1965 audio program that was produced on 33-1/2 rpm vinyl
records, was converted
to a digital audio format (.wma), and then reproduced in MP3 audio format.
This reengineering allows the entire 22-hour program to fit onto a single CD.
The price of $24.95 is the lowest
cost available for the original audio, reducing the cost 40% over audio cassette
and 60% over compact disc.
to order this exceptionally valued work.