Vessel of Clay by James Hitchcock

Vessel of Clay

America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen
by Thomas C. Reeves
San Francisco, California: Encounter Books, 2001
(479 pages; $25.95, cloth)

reviewed by James Hitchcock

Some people epitomize the age in which they live, and no one epitomized the “golden age” of American Catholicism—roughly the three decades prior to the Second Vatican Council—better than Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. Thomas Reeves’s book is the latest and by far the best biography of the famous prelate and is likely to remain so for a long time.

Born in central Illinois in 1895, Sheen was a typical American Catholic of his age in that he came from a family in humble c . . .