Treasure in Clay provides a lifetime’s worth of wisdom from one of the most beloved and influential figures in twentieth-century Catholicism. Completed shortly before his death in 1979, Treasure in Clay is the autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, the preeminent teacher, preacher, and pastor of American Catholicism.
Called “the Great Communicator” by Billy Graham and “a prophet of the times” by Pope Pius XII, Sheen was the voice of American Catholicism for nearly fifty years. In addition to his prolific writings, Sheen dominated the airwaves, first in radio, and later television, with his signature program “Life is Worth Living,” drawing an average of 30 million viewers a week in the 1950s. Sheen had the ears of everyone from presidents to the common men, women, and children in the pews, and his uplifting message of faith, hope, and love shaped generations of Catholics.
Here in Sheen’s own words are reflections from his childhood, his years in seminary, his academic career, his media stardom, his pastoral work, his extensive travels, and much more. Readers already familiar with Sheen and as well as those coming to him for the first time will find a fascinating glimpse into the Catholic world Sheen inhabited, and will find inspiration in Sheen’s heartfelt recollections. Treasure in Clay is a classic book and a lasting testament to a life that was worth living.
About the Author – Fulton Sheen (1895 – 1979) was one of the most prominent Catholic leaders in American history. He was bishop of Rochester, national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, a participant in the Second Vatican council, and television’s first religious broadcaster. He is author of numerous books, including Life of Christ, and his cause for canonization is currently under consideration.
“Sheen…wrote of his sixty-year priesthood, from curate to bishop, with the same ability to simultaneously entertain and elucidate that made him a media star.” Publishers Weekly
"Pleasant, predictable memoirs by the long-prominent bishop. Like Sheen's 65 or so other books, this one is meant to edify, and there are precious few unbuttoned moments in it. Sheen hints that a handful of people may have crossed or hurt him in his life, but he refuses to discuss it. If he ever felt rage or despair or bitterness, he's not about to tell us. Every topic sooner or later leads to a sermonette, and Sheen's own story is often laid aside. Still, he gives us the basics: boyhood in Peoria, seminary years, graduate study at Catholic University and Louvain, academic career, celebrity as a radio and TV preacher, organizational work for the foreign missions, bishop of Rochester (1966-69), "retirement." Sheen spent most of his 84 years as an apologist for Catholicism, and his reminiscences have the unsurprising habit of showing the Church in the most favorable light possible. He makes no mention of Humanae Vitae and the birth control controversy, of clerical rebels and antiwar protestors, of liberal assaults on the Vatican. He thinks all the 20th-century popes were wonderful, including Pius XII, whose damaged reputation he discreetly tries to repair by twice mentioning how he heard Pacelli excoriating Hitler and Nazism. Sheen likewise describes Vatican II (and the modest part he played in it) with great relish, ignoring the revolutionary impact the Council had on every aspect of Catholic life. Despite the public, after-dinner-speech quality of the writing, here and there Sheen reveals a bit of his private self. He admits his strong ambition to become a bishop. He catalogues the tributes and flattering attentions paid him by the famous, from President Eisenhower to Milton Berle. And he complacently reviews his career as a fierce anti-Communist, boasting of how he helped to thwart American arms shipments to the Spanish Loyalists. On the other hand, there can be no doubting the man's fundamental honesty and religious integrity, and if nothing else, this posthumous autobiography marks the passing of a major symbol of American Catholicism." Kirkus Reviews