William F. Buckley and Fulton Sheen on Firing Line! 1970

This is great. William F. Buckley had Archbp Fulton Sheen on Firing Line in 1970.

I especially enjoyed Buckley’s comments about the National Catholic Reporter! (aka Fishwrap, aka National Schismatic Reporter) Listen at 34:30!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JamesA says:

    The discussion at the end got very good re : tradition. It’s a shame they ran out of time. The young man talking about jazz Masses, etc., was well before his time. Now, of course, the young are apt to say the same thing, and are just as likely to be ignored.

  2. Elizzabeth says:

    What strange bland answers he gave! It didn’t seem like I was listening to a Saint. But I know nothing about the chap…

  3. At 38:27, Mr Buckley asks: if a person says that he cannot believe in the divinity of Christ, is that an excommuncatable offense. The answer was “no”. I don’t understand how such a non-believing member of the Catholic Church can be admitted to communion?

  4. Elizzabeth, watch a few of these and you will learn much about this wonderful and holy man. You can watch all the episodes of “Life is Worth Living”.

  5. brasscow says:

    I must be losing my mind, but Elizzabeth’s observations seem spot on. I wish I hadn’t watched it.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh my, what an eye opener. I was going to comment the other day that if I had a dime for every time I have wondered in the last 20 years, what would Archbishop Fulton Sheen say about this, or that, I could build a house. It’s given me some solace. Now I know. He would say the same exact things the men we are railing about say today, “compassion”, “the world”, “diversity”. He didn’t say “diversity” but he made the point regarding the number of African and Asian bishops at VII. Same thing. My goodness. There is no point pining for the earlier generation, is there. If we had Pius XIII himself here today, he’d probably put on sunglasses, cave in and go with the world.
    On a lesser note, how nostalgic it is to see human beings engaged in at least a thoughtful conversation. Note the pace, the absence of empty noise, just…conversation and ideas. William F. Buckley was an interesting person.

  7. OrangeBlossom says:

    I found it very interesting that Archbishop Fulton Sheen thought there’d be more vocations after Vatican II! He said that it’d take some time, to let the yeast work through the dough. Perhaps he was referring to the actual documents of Vatican II and not the ‘spirit of Vatican II’….

  8. mburn16 says:

    @OrangeBlossom –

    Sheen, orthodox though he was, embraced the novus ordo and many of the Vatican II reforms. You have to remember he spent most of his career seeking to make things more accessible to the mind of the everyman. By putting things into the language of that everyman, and inviting him to see what was going on with his own eyes, he expected it would be a benefit. In hindsight things haven’t really worked out that way, though Sheen didn’t live long enough to reconsider.

  9. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    I was very impressed by Bill Buckley. I wish I was so impressed by Bishop Sheen, but instead, I share Elizabeth’s view.

    I could go further, but will not here.

    On the Vietnam topic, I would recommend that all people, especially Catholics, read “The Lost Mandate of Heaven” (Shaw) to gain some insight into the tragic US betrayal of Ngo Dihn Diem, the only democratically elected president of Vietnam, at the hands of arrogant and ignorant US authorities in the Dept of State and Dept of Defense.

  10. Miserere Nobis says:

    Did anyone else notice that at 37:35, in the discussion on excommunication, Archbishop Sheen named Pope Francis? I listened 3 times and he did say Pope Francis and this was 1970!
    I miss his Sunday night programs.

    [About that “Pope Francis” thing. I, too, had that reaction. I even thought for a moment that it was really dodgy of someone to alter the audio. However, I checked the transcript. What sounds like “Pope Francis” is really “offences”. … Just sayin’.]

  11. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    Thank you for posting this — I had never seen it before.

    However, I had to turn it off, after getting so mad upon hearing Bishop Sheen repeatedly defend Vatican II, the “more patient and kind” Church after Vatican II (his answer to Buckley’s question why leftist dissidents do not get excommunicated) and other blind obedience lines of disappointment.

    This was actually very sad to watch. I will go back to reading/watching Sheen’s works/shows before Vatican II.

  12. acardnal says:

    Buckley also interviewed Mother Teresa, Michael Davies and Malachi Martin. All available on YouTube. Very interesting stuff.

  13. ordovirginum says:

    A very good interview, thank you, Fr Z. I never tire of listening to Ven. Fulton Sheen. And what great young people!

    As regards Vatican II, the 5,000 consecrated virgins in 78 countries around the world today owe their vocation directly to the Council, even though the Council did not envisage restoring the ancient consecration of virgins to secular virgins. The Holy Spirit through the Council’s liturgy revision committee remedied the injustice caused by the Congregation of Religious in its 1927 Interdiction and by Pope Pius XII in his 1950 encyclical Sponsa Christi, which prohibited the conferring of the consecration on secular virgins, the very class of women for whom the rite of consecration of virgins was originally designed in the early centuries of the Church.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Having doubts or even unbelief is not something you get excommunicated for.

    Teaching doubts or unbelief, or being scandalously public about unbelief… That is when things get serious.

    That said, of course no honest atheist or non-believer in Christ’s divinity who is sure of his position would go to Communion, because it would be lying. But people who have occasional doubts can still receive Sacraments without sinning.

    Also, it is silly to think that all saints on earth receive the gift of infallibility and perfect prudence. A man can only be expected to act and speak as God gives him light.

    It should be sobering to think that living saints are not all able to see the future,but it should also be encouraging to know that judgment lapses can happen to anyone, even very savvy and smart people; and that they do not necessarily keep folks from being holy.

  15. WmHesch says:

    Perhaps the time is ripe to introduce William F. Buckley’s own Causa?

  16. Gregory DiPippo says:

    I agree with Ken Wolfe. It is baffling and depressing to hear a man who was on several fronts one of the most successful Catholic evangelists of all time say that, in the very period when he was most successful, the Church was “closed in on itself”, and then say that the accelerating global institutional collapse at the time this program was made was just “the yeast working through the dough.”

  17. Uxixu says:

    Definitely not Abp. Sheen’s best performance. Sort of a bland interview one suspects from bishops these days. Was this the same man from the 1940s?

    Based on acardnals’s post, I watched the interview with Michael Davies and Msgr. Champlin and it was far more entertaining, though struck with the same sense of how these are the bishops and priests of today who never knew better. They were all formed traditionally but have the same platitudes and Msgr. Champlin’s excuses and prevarications ring so hollow…

  18. Mike says:

    Fascinating interview. I guess even saints can follow the company line and all. We should realize we have the benefit of more years in our rear view mirror. Still, the comments on the pre-council Church sound off. Surely there was some truth to it but still.

  19. Mike says:

    Michael Davies. Wow. That guy was awesome. A model member of the laity.

  20. The invitation (RCIA 490):

    I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

    In RCIA 493, the text for the Act of Reception follows:

    N, the Lord receives you into the Catholic Church.
    His loving kindness has led you here,
    so that in the unity of the Holy Spirit
    you may have full communion with us
    in the faith that you have professed in the presence of his family.

    “full communion with us in the faith that you have professed”

  21. dallenl says:

    Just an observation to the critical comments on Arch. Sheen: He was quite orthodox in matters of theology but accepted the councilor changes as any good cleric would despite personal doubts he may have had. As for excommunication, it appears he took the position that “when in doubt, don’t”. Quite reasonable though myself, I believe that when there is prima face by the offender, it would not be improper to state that person is self excommunicated.

  22. bobk says:

    It seems odd to say someone who doesn’t believe Jesus is divine and human could nevertheless receive communion. If he’s not divine, well, who else’s body and blood would a person eat and drink who is just a guy? Frank Sinatra, Martin Luther King, Mickey mantle, Ronald Reagan? Does it have to be a dead person? Mrs. Pelosi?? Really, someone who doesn’t believe Jesus is who Catholics or Orthodox say he is should feel awfully silly if nothing else participating in such a strange ritual. It really does do them harm. As has been said, if the person doesn’t believe in the real presence, they must believe in the real absence. They should sleep in.

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