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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Bishop Sheen in Rochester: The Alinsky Connection

In a 1974 Playboy interview Saul Alinsky said,
"If there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say
  about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell."
What can I say? The bloom is off the rose. I can still appreciate much of Fulton Sheen's work, but I can never read it again without a critical eye.  Learning about Sheen's Teilhard enthusiasm got me looking a little deeper into his social justice work. Stephanie Block, an expert on Alinsky community organizing, told me awhile back about Fulton Sheen's connections to Alinsky activities in Rochester. I didn't look into it at the time and forgot about it. It's disturbing to see that Sheen was an active enabler of Alinsky's radicalism. If he were alive today, I hope he would realize the error of some of his beliefs and actions and repudiate them. We'll never know. 

Would Sheen have supported a priest like Fr. Michael Pfleger in Chicago? I can't imagine it, but the priest he made his social justice guru, Fr. David Finks, sounds a lot like Pfleger who's even too much for liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich. Finks worked with the Alinsky organization FIGHT that targeted Kodak. During his tenure at the USCCB, he helped to create the notorious Catholic Campaign for Human Development which allowed Alinsky organizing groups (that support intrinsic evils condemned by the Church) to pick the pockets of the faithful. He later left the priesthood and married. And this was the man in whom Sheen put so much trust. It is disheartening to see how a man can be misled into undermining the good he does with their right hand, by the evil he supports with the left. But I don't intend to inter the good Sheen did with his bones. We have much to thank him for: his vigorous opposition to Communism, his constant urging for priests to make a daily holy hour, the excellence of so much of his writing, the conversions he fostered like Bella Dodd. Pray for Fulton Sheen and learn a little more about him in this 50 year old snapshot from Catholic Digest.

BISHOP SHEEN IN ROCHESTER : He has both startled and delighted the people of his diocese. by Paul Hoffman. Condensed from the New York “Times” Aug. 7, 1967, and published in Catholic Digest, December 1967

A simple brass pole on which a blacksmith mounted a crucifix is his crozier when Bishop Sheen acts as Bishop of Rochester. But most of the time he wears no insignia of his office. He looked like an eager parish priest when he climbed the stairs of the county poorhouse, with the agility of a man much younger than his 72 years, to say Mass for the residents.

The pastoral intensity shown at the poorhouse and the informality that did away with the traditional ornate crozier are some of many changes that Bishop Sheen has brought to Rochester. “He sure is shaking us up,”a priest said.

The bishop’s interests range far beyond his upstate diocese. He belongs to the leadership of the nation’s Catholic Bishops’ conference and is a member of the Commission on Missions in Rome that is charged with implementing Vatican II. He is one of the 24 prelates chosen by Pope Paul for the Synod of Bishops.

He subscribes to theological journals, mostly non-Catholic, from all over the world and keeps getting checks for Catholic missions from throughout the country. He forwards the checks to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, of which he was national director for 16 years. He still writes his newspaper column, which appears from coast to coast, and is taping a new series of television shows at the Channel 5 studios in New York for national broadcasting.

And with all the changes that he has brought to the religious life of Rochester, Bishop Sheen himself seems changed. To millions of television viewers and to readers of his more than 60 books, he had sometimes appeared as a proponent of a peace-of-mind faith with conservative overtones.

In Rochester, he is startling suburbanites by stressing his concern for the inner-city ghetto and his support for a militant Negro organization. He has said Mass for 50 Puerto Ricans crowded into two slum rooms and urged his priests to revive the early Christian “house church” by offering Mass in private homes and taking there the consecrated Host for nocturnal adoration in improvised “centers of spirituality.” To the bishop, the whole world and all its problems are reflected in his diocese in what he calls “a cameo view: this diocese is a microcosm.”

Since his arrival in Rochester last Dec. 15, he has brought in nuns with experience in social work and created a “secular mission,” whose three priests go into trailer camps, villages, and farms “wherever there is a door to knock on and a soul to save.”

He has renamed his diocesan headquarters the “pastoral office” because the previous term, chancery, smacked to him of bureaucracy. He has consulted the diocese’s 600 priests on how he should fill Church posts and has put the diocesan finances into lay hands.

He has discussed a plan to buy space in secular newspapers to express Catholic views because “the Catholic press talks only to Catholics, like trade journals, as a taxidermist talks to other taxidermists.”
Bishop Sheen has begun sounding out Protestants on the idea of an ecumenical seminary, and he has asked Protestant scholars and a former communist from Britain, a convert to Catholicism, to become teachers in diocesan seminaries.

Soon after his arrival, Bishop Sheen visited the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Plymouth Ave., in Rochester’s 3rd Ward ghetto. A few days later he appointed the church’s assistant pastor, Father David Finks, Episcopal vicar in charge of the inner city’s problems, such as housing, education, employment, health, “social justice, equality, and the sharing of the common heritages of American well-being and Christian civilization.” It was the bishop’s first appointment, and Father Finks thinks that he is the only episcopal vicar for inner-city problems in the nation. The appointment was made under a Vatican Council decision allowing a bishop to delegate some of his powers to members of his clergy.

Father Finks told a visitor, “The thing I like about Bishop Sheen is that he has great instincts. He loves people; he has a real feeling for the poor.”

Another Rochester priest commented, “The appointment of Father Finks has bothered many middle-class Catholics here because he is so thoroughly involved in FIGHT.” The letters stand for Freedom, Integration, God, Honor—Today. The group was developed by Saul D. Alinsky, a community organizer who calls himself a “professional radical,” and was brought to Rochester by Protestant churches in 1965.
At the time Bishop Sheen arrived, FIGHT was battling the Eastman Kodak Co. over its disavowal of an earlier agreement to hire and train 600 unemployed Negroes. The dispute has meanwhile been settled. However, “the bishop’s support for FIGHT has caused many Catholics to drop buttons into the collection plate,” an influential resident remarked. “Many people still think of Rochester as a benevolent company town.”

In addition to his involvement in interracial affairs, Bishop Sheen has been calling for more interfaith dialogues. A member of Rochester’s Jewish community remarked with a smile, “Many among us were scared when Bishop Sheen’s appointment to Rochester was announced. After all, he had that reputation as a maker of converts! But he has been going slow on this.”

Bishop Sheen lives downtown in a 2nd-floor apartment below his diocesan headquarters at 50 Chestnut St. He keeps fit riding an electric bicycle for 15 minutes a day and playing tennis twice a week.


Chriss Rainey said...

I was alarmed when I was told Frederic Bastiat was a Freemason. I am an admirer of his writing and nothing I have ever read has given me any indication he was in any way perverted by an "enlightened philosophy." However, I did find information that said he was initiated into a lodge when he was 19.

All I can say is haven't we all done a foolish thing or two when we were too immature to know better?

I think any connection or affiliation with people in the social justice movement by Fulton Sheen was a temporary mistake of over enthusiasm and an exercise of poor judgment.

Saul Alinsky was successful because his message was devilishly attractive. It is possible Sheen was fooled by it for a while, but far more evidence that he caught on to the evil at the heart of it.

His own brush with social justice is probably what made him able to sympathize with and able to help so many who walked away from communism.

Tom said...

The lay neo-Thomist philosopher Jacqaues Maritain was also involved with Alinsky:

John F. Kennedy said...

Sheen was a complete VII disciple. He swallowed it hook line and sinker. He was doing his "best" to implement it and that meant chucking all of the Teachings and Traditions of the Church into the dustbin of history.

That he was a COMPLETE failure as a Bishop post VII has been completely overlooked due all of the books he authored and video he filmed prior to VII.

A through, Catholic, investigation of his life, especially his later life, would prove that he is not worthy of canonization.

elpine flower said...

MaryAnn, as you wrote back in 2014, "Beware of celebrity clergy."

and now this........

and this.....

Some sins do just lead to more and spread like a virus. Listen t the Holy Spirit Who is within you. Lucifer also comes as an angel of light.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I received this via email. Looks like another element to investigate.

Hi Mary Ann - Saw the Alinsky-Sheen connection. There was another disturbing aspect of his days in Rochester - that of support a petition that SIECUS was circulating for universal sex initiation programs in Catholic schools as was being pushed by the NCCB/USCC under McHugh. A more thorough investigation is indeed needed. Perhaps they can start with Sheen and the heresy of Americanism. R.

Montejurra said...

When Dr. Bella Dodd revealed that four of the cardinals posted to the Vatican were under Communist Party discipline, Bishop Fulton Sheen prevailed on Dr. Bella Dodd not to reveal the names of those Red cardinals, in order ¨not to scandalize Catholics the world over¨ or words to that effect. The same cover-up mantra for the decades of homosexual clerical sex abuse scandals. This running interference for the Communists while posing as a Catholic paladin against Communism was classic Leninist praxis. All of this on top of Sheen´s links to Saul Alinsky, his praise for Teilhard de Chardin, his patent leather shoes and those large satin ribbon bows on the elbows of his altar boys....At some point we have to be humble enough to admit that we were bamboozled by Sheen just as we were by J. Edgard Hoover and Cardinal Spellman.

elpine flower said...

Amen Montejurra !

I am still flummoxed why so many mainstreamed News outlets fail to identify Communist
countries for what they are. Lou Dobbs on FBN is the ONLY one we have heard ever call China by it's rightful title, "COMMUNIST CHINA".

How can the youth look at the millions demonstrating in Hong Kong and still suck up to Bernie and his ilk who is supported by CPUSA ( Communist Party of the United States of America)?
How can they support a Pope who does the same?
It is not ancient history abd it is frightening , especially to see the Teacher Unions out in full force at bernie's rallies.
God Help us , look at Cuba and the so called former communist Russia, or N Korea .
The entire opus dei led "Catholic" media message that Communism is dead was the biggest lie foisted on Catholics around the world.
I even wrote to EWTN's Arroyo about the so called Fr Sirico and his alleged Acton Institute on economic policy when his former co host Sirico was pushing for "unfettered trade with China" and in contrast what is really happening in China . His reply was that he hosts both sides.But I would argue he did not until well after Mrs Engel published "The Sirico Brief"online.

Lacey said...

Perhaps the most spectacular bad pick of a subordinate was Pope Leo XIII's choice of Cardinal Rampolla as Secretary of State. After his death, private papers were found in his room that made it unmistakably clear that he was a full-on occultist, the head of a major occult group that under another name was later headed by Aleister Crowley. (For documentation, see The Rite of Sodomy, Vol. 5.)

Even the best can be very deceived.

Christine said...

"When Dr. Bella Dodd revealed that four of the cardinals posted to the Vatican were under Communist Party discipline, Bishop Fulton Sheen prevailed on Dr. Bella Dodd not to reveal the names of those Red cardinals, in order ¨not to scandalize Catholics the world over¨ or words to that effect."


elpine flower said...

Christine, Dodd made that statement in public in 1939 after she confessed to Sheen and traveled the country giving seminars at Catholic venues.
Joseph Ratzinger had not even entered the Hitler Youth until 1941 after his 14th birthday.

Dodd joined the Communist Party while in Hunter teacher's college in NY.Prior to planting hx men into Catholic seminaries, the Communists already had a foothold targeting public school teachers where they were being trained.

Interestingly, Bernie Sanders more recent talk several days ago was addressed to members of the Teachers Union promising more pay.Bernie and his wife spent their Honeymoon in the Communist Soviet Union.
CPUSA was already established in America in 1919.

Dr. T.T.Coals said...

This article is full of red flags regarding what appears to be +Sheen's orientation as a SJW. I agree fully with JFK's post above. Also, a couple of years ago I was given his "Life of Christ" as a present. After reading most of it, I threw it out, because I considered all its "insights" to be utterly superficial, contrived and artificial, though of course cleverly and even eloquently phrased.

Could +Sheen been the archetype of why Vatican II's revolution succeeded? Was it because the faith of the clergy had no depth, and so were easily deceived by liberation theology?

elpine flower said...

Dr Coals,

The Faith of the clergy has been watered down in many seminaries as they too were infiltrated not only by communist homosexual instructors but by modernist Psychologists.
Sin is no longer sin .
In the early sixties our pastor taught religion class in the Parochial school I attended.
He gave us reports of the weekly discussions and happenings during Vatican Two.
i recall his enthusiasm when telling us they decided to not teach the seminarians that there was an entity called Satan. Instead, he said,".... they are teaching future priests that evil resides in the heart of man."
I raised my hand and asked, :Fr how will they believe in God if they do not believe there is Satan." I cannot remember his reply but I do recall he was annoyed.
As an adult I recounted the story to my mother who told me she did not understand why he called her and demanded to know what I was reading. She said she told him I read the Bible and my missal.