July 10, 2019

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (AP)

Pope Francis has declared that a late US television preacher once performed a miracle, moving him one step closer to sainthood.

Another lame attempt to try to keep the illusion going.

The Vatican announced on Saturday the formal approval of the miracle, thought to relate to claims about a baby’s extraordinary recovery in an Illinois hospital.

The Diocese of Peoria believes that Archbishop Fulton J Sheen – who died in 1979 – interceded in 2010 on behalf of a baby who began breathing 61 minutes after showing no signs of life at birth.

One miracle allows a candidate for sainthood to be beatified in the Catholic faith, but a second miracle must be approved in order for sainthood to be conferred.

No date has been given for his beatification ceremony, but the Peoria Diocese said it was beginning preparations for the celebration in the central Illinois city.

Archbishop Sheen’s on-air evangelism made him a well-known figure in the US over several decades, having started on NBC radio in 1930 with a weekly programme called The Catholic Hour.

He expanded to television in 1950 with NBC’s Life is Worth Living, regularly amassing more than 30 million viewers.

The pope’s decision comes just weeks after a New York court ruling allowing the American archbishop’s niece to bury him in Peoria, where he was ordained, ending years of litigation and allowing the process for sainthood to resume.