When Salvation is a Phone Call Away, by Regis Martin

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February 2, 2021
Bishop McElroy: Some Bishops Making Abortion a Political ‘Litmus Test’
February 2, 2021

By Regis Martin, Crisis Magazine, Feb. 2, 2021

Regis Martin is Professor of Theology and Faculty Associate with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. …

It is not likely that anyone will have heard of Heywood Broun, but he was a once very well known, well-connected newspaper columnist. His take on the world was fairly cynical, especially on the subject of organized religion, which he held in some contempt. But everyone will have heard of Fulton Sheen, the world’s first and most famous televangelist, whose TV ratings nearly equaled those of Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra. “If I’m going to be eased off the top by anyone,” said Berle, “it’s better that I lose to the One for whom Bishop Sheen is speaking.”

In addition to dozens of books, retreats and, of course, countless TV shows, Sheen had a reputation as a convert maker, among whose conquests included high-profile people such as playwright Clare Booth Luce, industrialist Henry Ford II, and violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler. But perhaps the hardest nut to crack was Heywood Broun, in whom one would be hard pressed to find anything remotely religious. One day, Sheen simply called him up and said he wanted to meet with him. “About what?” demanded Broun, in his usual gruff manner. “Your soul,” Sheen replied. …