Did Fulton Sheen support Vatican II?


Full Question

Did Fulton Sheen support Vatican II? Sheen is a favorite of some who reject the Council, so a quote from him citing his support for Vatican II would be quite helpful for discussions with them.

Answer

Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s autobiography Treasure in Clay, which was written just before his death in 1979 and published posthumously, devotes an entire chapter to Sheen’s experience at Vatican II. In his memoirs, Sheen deemed the Council’s document Gaudium et Spes to be "brilliant" (p. 247); he fondly recalled his audiences with both pre-Vatican-II popes such as Pius XI and Pius XII and post-Vatican-II popes such as Bl. John XXIII and Paul VI. Within one year of John Paul II’s election, he was already predicting that John Paul II would be one of the greatest popes in the history of the Church (p. 244).

In addressing the post-conciliar upheaval in the years since the close of the Second Vatican Council, Sheen had this to say:

The tensions that developed after the Council are not surprising to those who know the whole history of the Church. It is a historical fact that whenever there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as in a general council of the Church, there is always an extra show of force by the anti-Spirit or the demonic. Even at the beginning, immediately after Pentecost and the descent of the Spirit upon the apostles, there began a persecution and the murder of Stephen. If a general council did not provoke the spirit of turbulence, one might almost doubt the operation of the third Person of the Trinity over the assembly. (pp. 292–293)


Michelle Arnold