m about the kitchen in the homes of friends when he is visiting. He likes to play tennis and always dressed the part, with white scarf and white flannel trousers, and was a fashion plate on the court even though his game was not always up to par . . . The Bishop was one of the outspoken prominent Americans who, in his lectures and on the radio, opposed both Nazism and Communism back in the 1930s. He is very human and very humble.”
The United States was established on the concept of Religious Freedom. In 1791, the First Amendment was adopted and it guaranteed: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In 1947 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Everson Case that there was a separation of Church and State. For all many generations of students that followed in school after this case, we learned that government and Church were separate and should not interfere with each other.
Well as we come to the 40th anniversary of the death of Bishop Fulton Sheen, it is good reminder of just how the separate the Church and the government really are. The following story was compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as they investigated Bishop Sheen.
Also in Sheen’s file was a very personal biography on the prelate, dated 1953. They apparently sought a great deal of background information on Bishop Sheen. Their conclusion, “The Bishop has little or no social life. He eats usually in twenty to twenty-five minutes. He tries to save morning hours for creative work, sees callers in the afternoon, and in the evenings does reading and research . . . He became famous for the conversion to Catholicism of famous people, including Clare Boothe Luce, Ambassador to Italy; and Henry Ford, II; also converted Louis Budenz, former Editor-in-Chief of the Communist ‘Daily Worker.’ . . . The Bishop likes chocolate ice cream and angel-food cake.”
Human, humble, and likes both Angel food cake plus chocolate ice cream. Did this warrant a FBI search? Do we truly have freedom of religion if religious leaders are singled out for FBI investigations?
In today's polarized society, maybe we should remember back to the good old days of the 1950s where things were much better - or were they? If today you have Congress and half of the government investigating the President and the other half of the government, what will be next? Maybe we should call back for the peaceful times of the 1950s where investigations found out that you liked chocolate ice cream and Angel food cake? Can you imagine spending millions of dollars today to do that? I bet we would take the bill for the 1950s investigation in a minute over the bill for the investigations today. Simply stated, maybe Queen Marie Antoinette had it right when she said , "Let them eat cake" is the traditional translation of the French phrase "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche". The only problem is that she never said it. [Let them eat cake] was said 100 years before her by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. It was a callous and ignorant statement and she, Marie Antoinette, was neither.— Antonia Fraser, 2002 Edinburgh Book Fair.
Wow- "Let Them Eat Cake" was another force feed of history along with Separation of Church and State. We can tell from the 1950s that with the FBI investigating Bishop Sheen, we have a great deal to learn on how to keep the government out of the Church.