Before the Eternal Word Television Network founded by Mother Angelica, there was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. From 1952 until 1957, he appeared on the American TV networks DuMont and later ABC on a programme called Life is Worth Living. Archbishop Sheen was one of the most eloquent preachers the Catholic Church has ever known. It is said that were he not a Catholic bishop, he would have probably been a Shakespearean actor. This year is the thirtieth anniversary of his death.
He is currently being considered for beatification, the final step before being canonised as a saint. Born in El Paso, Illinois, he became a priest for the Diocese of Peoria. After ordination, he was sent to the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium where he earned a doctorate in philosophy. He was one of the few American bishops of that period that did not have a Roman education. After returning from Belgium, he worked in parish work back in Peoria for a while before moving to Washington, DC where he taught at the Catholic University of America and later began to run the Office for the Propagation of the Faith.
In 1951, he was ordained a bishop in Rome by Adeodato Cardinal Piazza. He served as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of New York until being appointed Bishop of Rochester in 1966. Retiring in 1966, he was named Titular Archbishop of Newport. In 1979, when Pope John Paul II visited New York, he embraced Archbishop Sheen and said, “You have written and spoken well of Our Lord. You are a loyal son of the Church.”
It is somewhat difficult to believe ABC putting a Catholic bishop on a regular TV program today. Nevertheless, it did happen and it was a huge success. In this clip, Archbishop Sheen examines the problem of loneliness.