VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has put Fulton John Sheen on the path to sainthood. Sheen is the U.S. bishop from Illinois whose radio and TV shows denouncing Communism and liberal psychology had a big following.
The Vatican on Thursday said the pope formally recognized the "heroic virtues" of Sheen. He's a former Rochester bishop who died in New York in 1979. That formality paves the way for procedures aimed at possible beatification, the last formal step before sainthood.
Sheen was born in 1895 in El Paso and grew up on a farm in the community about 30 miles east of Peoria.
Benedict also proclaimed as a martyr Sicilian priest Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi, who was gunned down by the Mafia in 1993 after challenging mobsters to change their ways.