In a highly unusual move, the Vatican has postponed the beatification of the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a charismatic figure of U.S. Roman Catholicism in the 20th century and pioneer in religious media.
The delay of a beatification ceremony just weeks before it was to have taken place is believed to be unprecedented in living memory.
Pope Francis approved the beatification in July with a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession with God.
Sheen, who died in 1979 and was sometimes called the first “televangelist,” was to have been beatified at a ceremony led by a Vatican cardinal in Peoria, Illinois on Dec. 21.
But the bishop of that diocese, Daniel Jenky, announced on Tuesday it would be postponed and that no new date had been chosen.
Jenky said in a statement that the Vatican postponed the beatification, which would have put Sheen one step closer to sainthood, after “a few” American bishops had “asked for further consideration”.