PEORIA, Ill. — The remains of famous Roman Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen can be moved to Illinois from New York, nearly 40 years after his death, a judge said.
Joan Sheen Cunningham, 90, believes moving her uncle's remains to Peoria, Illinois, will improve his cause for sainthood. New York Supreme Court Judge Arlene Bluth said that is a "laudable purpose."
"It makes no sense, given his lifelong devotion to the Catholic Church, that he would choose a location — New York City — over the chance to become a saint," Bluth said Friday, calling Sheen a "legendary figure."
Sheen's remains are at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. Cunningham sued the cathedral and the Archdiocese of New York, which have opposed her wishes.
Sheen, who died in 1979, was known for his revolutionary radio and TV preaching in the 1950s and '60s. He was ordained a priest in Peoria.
Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky has pledged to work for Sheen's sainthood and place his remains at St. Mary's Cathedral in the western Illinois city.
Trustees at St. Patrick's Cathedral said in a statement that lawyers would review the judge's decision. They said Sheen indicated in his will that he wanted to be buried in New York.
"The process of beatification and canonization focuses only on where the soul of a person is, not on where an individual's mortal remains might be," trustees said Monday.