The much awaited burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos shares centerstage with another distinguished personality, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. The Archbishop's remains have long been interred at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York while President Marcos remains in an air-condtioned glass for public display in a mausoleum in his hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte..
Sheen died on December 9,1979 and Marcos on September 28, 1989.
Ferdinand E. Marcos died in Hawaii, three years after he fled the Philippines. He was forced to leave in the face of "people power" which set the end of his regime. His return to the Philippines was at first denied by President Corazon Aquino but when Fidel Ramos became president, Mrs. Imelda Marcos was allowed to bring back her husband but the demand for a hero's burial was denied. The family stood pat and therein lies the rub.
Sheen rose to prominence in the United States during 1950’s as host of a television program. He was ordained as a priest at the Diocese of Peoria in 1919 and later Auxiliary Bishop of New York in 1951. Sheen died of heart disease and was interred in the crypt of St. Patrick's Cathedral. His cause for canonization as a saint was opened in 2002. After ten years, the Congregation for the Causes
of Saints declared that Sheen lived a life of "heroic virtues", a major step towards beatification. But the cause was suspended because of a dispute between the Diocese or Peoria and the Archdiocese of New York.
When President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go-ahead for the burial of Marcos at a Libingan ng mga Bayani as a former soldier and president, Akbayan's Ibarra Gutierrez and Commission on Human Rights Chair Chito Gascon petitioned the Supreme Court to block the order of President Duterte.
To whom does the body of Fulton Sheen belong? That’s a question that is now before the Supreme Court of the state of New York, as the niece of the late Archbishop Sheen, Joan Sheen Cunningham, has petitioned to have the body transferred to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Ill.
The mortal remains of President Marcos and Archbishop Sheen lie in the hands of the Supreme Courts, long after they have left this world.
Requiēscant In Pāce