July 2, 2001 [page 73]
DEATH NEVER COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP
“Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been dead for more than two decades, but you’d
never guess that from the number of his sermons and writings that are
republished and anthologized every year. Into this mix, St. Andrew’s Press
offers something unique: a never-before-published book by Sheen. Your Life Is Worth Living: The Christian Philosophy of Life is based on a transcript of an audio narrative called Life Is Worth Living, which was also the title of Sheens long-running inspirational television program. Here the archbishop investigates doctrinal issues (1965 was, importantly, the concluding year of the Second Vatican Council) and answers the questions of his many fans. The book, transcribed by Jon Hallingstad [and edited by Esther B. Davidowitz], showcases Sheens oratorical talents (amazingly, he recorded this using no notes at all) and demonstrated the homiletic depth that made him so popular.
September 1, 2001 [page 20]
Reeves, Thomas C. Americas Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen. Sept. 2001. 470p. illus. Index. Encounter, 116 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94105, $25.95 (1-893554-25-2). 282.
Sheen, Fulton J. Your Life Is Worth Living: The Christian Philosophy of Life. Sept. 2001. 416p. illus. Index. St. Andrews, PO Box 256, Schnecksville, PA 18078, $24.95 (0-9701456-8-3). 282.
These two books illuminate both the meaning and the message of the life of one of the most celebrated religious leaders of the twentieth century.
Reeves does an outstanding job of painting a multifaceted portrait of a complex public figure. The most prominent and influential Catholic personality in the U.S., the charismatic Sheen hosted his own Emmy Award-winning TV show during his heyday in the 1950s. Able to reach millions of viewers and potential converts at one time, he became the foremost evangelist for the Roman Catholic Church. A gifted orator, theologian, and philosopher, the often controversial preacher tackled a variety of sensitive subjects including the inherent evil of racism, the threat of Communism, and the rise of secularism in American society. Although an admirer of Sheen, the author does not gloss over his subjects all-too human failings, documenting Sheens less-than-saintly struggles with greed, vanity, and pride.
Those searching for more personal theological and philosophical information to complement Reeves biographical overview of Sheens private life and professional career should check out
Your Life Is Worth Living. This book, though previously unpublished in written form, comprises the text of a 25-record audio recording released by Sheen in 1965 as an intimate response to the many inquiries about the intricacies of the Catholic religion he received in his capacity as the National Director for the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. Covering a range of topics such as the relationship between God and humanity, the significance of Christ as both God and Man, the purpose of both sin and sacraments in daily life, and the fundamental tension between the soul and the material world, Sheen addresses an array of spiritual and corporeal issues that continue to intrigue and puzzle a new generation of both the faithful and the merely curious.
Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Rev. Kenneth Baker, S.J.
"Bishop Sheen was the most effective Catholic preacher of the 20th century. What was the secret of his success? I think it was in his constant use of concrete examples, stories, comparisons and humor. Sheen never waffled on the basic truths of the Catholic faith, but he presented them in an appealing way that went to the very heart and soul of the listener. His clear voice and compelling logic were backed up by the grace of God which he sought from God through persistent prayer and penance.
Sheen's personality and voice, especially through his videos, CD's, and cassette recordings, are still converting sinners to God long after his death. From heaven he continues to do good on earth just like St. Therese of Lisieux. Along with countless others, both Catholic and non-Catholic, I say, 'Thank God for Bishop Sheen'"