Today is the anniversary of Fulton J. Sheen he was consecrated a Bishop in Rome by Adeodato Giovanni Cardinal Piazza in the Church of Sts. John & Paul on June 11, 1951. Sheen was named by Pope Pius XII as titular Bishop of Caeseropolis.
Saint Paul wrote: “It is an honorable ambition to aspire to be a Bishop.” Sheen reflected that in the early day’s many bishops became martyrs and it was a much more uncomfortable post of leadership than it is today. Bishop Kelly of Oklahoma City asked Msgr. Fulton Sheen for permission to submit his name to Rome as a bishop. Sheen asked for a few days to think it over then wrote: “There are two ways in which one advances in the Church. One is by a push from below, the other is by a gift from above.” He explained by a push from below he meant influence or intercession by another. By a gift from above he meant an appointment by the Holy See under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and without the influence of men. He wrote in his letter to Bishop Kelly that since his invitation was a push from below and not a gift from above I would have to refuse. Archbishop Quinn of San Francisco who was formerly the Bishop of Oklahoma told Sheen that he saw that letter in the files of the diocese. Sheen later learned that his being named Bishop was through the good graces of Cardinal Spellman.
“What does it mean to be a bishop? When Our Blessed Lord first called Peter and the other Apostles to Himself, He said that from now on they would catch souls instead of fish. Whether or not a promotion in the Church increases the ability to fill nets is another matter. Statistics do not prove that one can catch more fish seated on the bank dressed in purple than when dressed in black. Rather, it would seem that the responsibility increases because a fisherman uses only a hook, but a bishop uses a crosier, or a crook. That means that he is to increase Christ’s fold whether they be fish or lambs, ‘by hook and by crook.’” Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen