Catholics praying for the beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen may well offer a prayer of thanks, as a panel of theologians has approved a miracle attributed to his intercession.
The Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation announced that the Vatican experts had verified the authenticity of the miracle, which involved the revival of an infant who had appeared to be stillborn. In March, a panel of physicians had found that there was no medical explanation for the child's recovery.
The miracle still requires formal approval from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. If the Pope Francis then authorizes the release of a decree certifying the miracle, all requirements would be fulfilled for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen. Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria IL, Archbishop Sheen's hometown, said that there is "no timeline" for the final Vatican approval of the miracle, or the scheduling of a beatification ceremony. He did say, however, that the beatification would be held in Peoria.
According to Catholic tradition, beatification is the first step on the road to sainthood. Normally -- although it's hard to say what is "normal" at the Vatican these days -- a second miracle is required for canonization.