It's hard to deny that Sheen had a field of vision that reached far into the future beyond his own lifetime. Of course, anyone with as profound a knowledge of history, philosophy and the human character as Sheen had can appear to be a prophet merely by virtue of his superior wisdom and natural intellectual foresight. But there was something uncanny about Fulton Sheen. As with many of the saints who were on God’s “A-list”, he seemed at times to possess a level of knowledge that bordered on mystical. A camera man, himself a Jew, once said that Sheen had eyes that “burned two holes in the back of your head. Bishop Sheen was a very intense man. [He had] a lot of power. You could feel it.” [Weinstein, The Forgotten Network, p. 157]
Perhaps the best example of Sheen’s mystical foresight took place on February 21, 1953. In front of a large live television audience which, at that time, rivaled the top-rated Milton Berle Show, Sheen presented an episode of his show, Life is Worth Living, entitled “The Death of Stalin.” I wish I could find footage of this particular episode, but it does not appear to exist anywhere online. In this program, Sheen wove an elaborate comparison using the words of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to condemn the leaders of the Soviet Union. Delivering Marc Antony's famous speech, Sheen replaced the names of the Roman characters with those of Soviet high officials. In place of Caesar, Sheen named Soviet premier, Joseph Stalin:
“And now Malenkov speaks: ‘Friends, Soviets, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Stalin, not to praise him.’”At the climax of his soliloquy, Sheen fulminated:
“Stalin must one day meet his judgment!”On March 1, about a week later, Stalin suffered a stroke. By March 5, he was dead. If you doubt these facts, even Snopes admits that they are true.
Considering how many millions of eyes had seen Bishop Sheen all but call down God's wrath upon Stalin but a few days before, the news of the Soviet dictator's death created a buzz. In his autobiography, Sheen gives an idea of the sensation stirred up among the press, most of whom assumed that the Bishop had an earthly source of covert intelligence:
“I received telephone calls from newspapers in almost every state of the Union asking me what inside information I had. I told them that I only knew that he was mortal and would have to pay the last penalty of sin, which was death. And it was just pure luck that the telecast and his demise coincided.” [Sheen, Treasure in Clay, p. 77]So the Archbishop, in his humility, ascribed the prediction to mere coincidence—and perhaps it was. But considering Sheen viewed fruits of his preaching as “more of the Spirit and less of Sheen,” there remains a strong possibility that something more than mere happenstance was at work here.