This is a rather complex post for me. I grew up with the subject in my own living room. He was the epitome of the word "charismatic" (definitely not the same definition of the word today in church circles). Someone said that Bishop Fulton J. Sheen could have been a great Shakespearean actor. YouTube.com has some of his most forceful sermons. He was, of course, steeped in Pope Pius XII catechism - his hatred of Communism was fierce - but in other areas, I thought he might have been swayed. It took some research to find out that I was wrong.
When I viewed him as a boy, Sheen seemed to be steeped in something today's evangelists don't try to pull off: reason. The reason he protested the Vietnam war was simply because it wasn't , well, reasonable. But Sheen could be harsh when it came to some ideas. As you'll see from the video below, he thinks America's "compassion" has been displaced. This is one video the televangelists wouldn't mind playing over and over again.
From a website (sadly extinct) about religion in the news:
Sheen was the first televangelist. He hosted such TV programs as Life Is Worth Living which began broadcasting in 1952, and The Bishop Sheen Program which aired from 1961 to 1968. Before TV, he was a regular on a popular radio show: The Catholic Hour. In his broadcasts, he spoke of theological as well as social issues. He said that democracy could not survive without religion. He argued against communism and atheism. He quipped: “An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.”
In 1952, Archbishop Sheen wrote The World’s First Love, one of some 60 books he authored. In it, he reminded his followers that, “Europe barely escaped destruction at the hands of the Moslems,” and he warned them that, “the Moslems are beginning to rise again.” He said that Islam was founded on a simple misunderstanding, and that it was imperative that Moslems be converted to Catholicism.
“At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power,” he said.
Like Sheen, today’s evangelists are preaching against the infidels: the Moslems who cling to a simple misunderstanding, who won’t accept Christ, and who prefer a dumb religion based on a poorly-written book.
I concur.When you look at the following video and others of Bishop Sheen, you'll notice the "seeds" of hate speech, of course cloaked in "Jesus Loves You."
One thing Sheen didn't do that would've absolutely riled any self-respecting televangelist today: he never had a telethon. In fact, he rarely ever asked for money - for anything! SHAME!!