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The Quotable Catholic

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was, arguably, the most quotable Catholic of the twentieth century.

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Fulton Sheen

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was, arguably, the most quotable Catholic of the twentieth century. In his 73 books, countless homilies, and hit radio and television programs—The Catholic Hour, Life Is Worth Living, and The Fulton Sheen Program—Sheen successfully distilled two thou­sand years of Catholic teaching into understandable nuggets of truth. Likewise, as a priest, professor, auxiliary bishop of New York, bishop of Rochester, and titular archbishop of Newport (Wales), Sheen’s wit never failed him.

Accordingly, between 1930 and 1968, up to 30 million people each week tuned in to hear the Illinois native talk about faith and life. They also looked forward to him delivering lines such as:

  • Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.
  • Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.
  • If you don’t behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.
  • Hearing nuns’ confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.
  • You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.
  • Love is a mutual self-giving which ends in self-recovery.
  • America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance: Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.
  • Fasting detaches you from this world. Prayer reattaches you to the next world.
  • Nothing is more harmful to a man than his resistance to Grace.

The quotable archbishop passed away at age 84 on December 9, 1979. Known not only for his wisdom, but also for his kindness, humil­ity, and generosity, Sheen was declared “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.



How to Think - Archbishop Fulton Sheen


Excerpted from the just published The American Catholic Almanac which is a daily reader of Catholics who have made an impact on the United States.

Order it from one of these book sellers:American Catholic AlmanacE

Excerpted from The American Catholic Almanac by Education Fund Copyright © 2014 by Education Fund. Excerpted by permission of Image Books, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

BRIAN BURCH is the president of, a nonprofit political advocacy
group based in Chicago.

EMILY STIMPSON is a Catholic writer based in Steubenville, Ohio, and the
author of The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years and These Beautiful
Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body.

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