Fulton Sheen


Because of the indefinite, and very likely merely temporary, suspension of the Cause for the Canonization of the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen I thought some might be curious to see what the archbishop’s coat of arms looked like. It was a simple design playing on the name “Sheen” which is similar to “Shehan” in Gaelic and means “peace”. Hence, the dove. Sheen was Titular Archbishop of Newport, Wales a diocese that no longer exists as such but when it did had as its cathedral the abbey church at Belmont Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the UK which still does exist to this day.

3 thoughts on “Fulton Sheen

  1. Hans van Heijningen

    It is typicial that in all sources we only see this shield of (arch)bishop Sheen. He had more I think.
    My vision of the evolution of the Sheen-crest is asfollows:
    1. As an auxiliarian bishop of New York 1951-1966 he used the same shield as showed here: azure a dove argent beaked or within a twig vert; in base a pate argent and all within a bordure also argent. Bshops cross with one bar, a mitre and a crozier as commons before 1969.
    2. As a residing bishop in Rochester he marshalled this shield with the diocesan crest of Rochester but so that the bordure argent of the sinister half don’t run along the partition-line.
    3. As an archbishop ad personam (and emeritus of Rochester) Sheen returned to his shield that he used as an auxiliarian: only the dove and plate within a bordure running throughout. Behind the shield the hat now with 1 x 10 tassels and a cross with double bar, all model past-1969.

    1. guyselvester Post author

      Well, of course this is the coat of arms we usually see. It is the coat of arms that he used last and the only arms he used as an Archbishop. He never changed or modified his personal arms throughout his life and very correctly returned to using only his personal arms instead of thinking he was entitled to impale his arms with those of Rochester for the rest of his life (as is quite common with many American bishops who have retired as ordinaries). A good example is Cardinal O’Brien who still has the arms of the See of Baltimore in his achievement even though he is no longer the ordinary there.

      1. Hans van Heijningen

        That is not exactly what I meant ……………. (arch)bishop can have sometimes changed his crest, whereby the personal symbols were never changed but in certain times a diocesan crest had been added. I think Sheen had as a bishop of Rochester: Per pale: I) the diocesan crest, II) his personal symbols, whereby the bordure did not run along the partition line. After 1969 as an archbishop ad personam had returned than to his old shield: dove/plate/bordure.
        And my point is that his crest between 1966-1969 was never ‘recorded’.
        I agree with you that what cardinal O’Brien did: maintaining still the arms of the See of Baltimore was far too much.

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