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Treasure in Clay > Reading Schedule & Introduction

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message 1: by Manny (last edited Sep 09, 2019 04:55AM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
Here’s the reading schedule I’ve put together for Treasure in Clay. There are 379 pages to the book, and at roughly 50-something pages per week, this makes it a seven week read. This week is dedicated for everyone getting the book. We will start week 1 then on 9/15. Here’s what I propose:

Week 1, 9/15, chapters 1 thru 4, 49 total pages.
Week 2, 9/22, chapters 5 thru 8, 59 total pages.
Week 3, 9/29, chapters 9 thru 10, 69 total pages.
Week 4, 10/6, chapters 11 thru 14, 60 total pages.
Week 5, 10/13, chapters 15 thru 16, 57 total pages.
Week 6, 10/20, chapters 17 thru 20, 51 total pages.
Week 7, 10/27, chapters 21 thru Epilogue, 33 total pages.

As you can see the chapters are of different length. There are a couple of weeks where we’re only reading two chapters.

I’m really intrigued by this book. In a way, Archbishop Fulton Sheen spans the Catholic Church in the 20th century. Looking at the chapter headings, we’re going to get into some interesting topics.

If no one objects to that reading schedule, let’s get going.

message 2: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 552 comments Thank you, Manny. Your organizational skills are appreciated very much.

message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 182 comments Thank you, Manny.

message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
You're welcome ladies, and I accidentally called Fulton "Cardinal" above. I was corrected, and have corrected it. His highest rank was Archbishop. Thank you to the person who corrected me. Since this person did it privately perhaps this person didn't want to be noticed, so I'll leave it as private. All, please feel free correct me any time. My humility requires it!

message 5: by Nikita (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments Very excited to get to read this book. Thank you for the breakdown.

message 6: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod

As an introduction to Sheen’s autobiography, I don’t think I can do better than Raymond Arroyo does in the forward to the book. So what I’ll do is highlight a couple of key passages from the forward as our introduction. Arroyo subtitles the “Foreword” as “A Prophet Suffering in Silence.” I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of the subtitle. As an autobiography I doubt Sheen himself would claim that to be the central thesis of his life. He was too humble, to my perception, to claim the title of prophet and too modest to present himself as suffering in silence. The subtitle is probably Arroyo’s reading into Sheen’s life. Nonetheless we shouldn’t dismiss it. Perhaps Sheen didn’t mean this as a label for his life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit.

Curiously Arroyo begins the foreword with an extended anecdote from Sheen’s life that never makes the autobiography. It’s the story of a conflict Sheen had when he was bishop in 1957 with his superior, Cardinal Francis Spellman. You can read the details but in short Pope Pius XII resolved the conflict in Sheen’s favor to the Cardinal’s chagrin, of which he never forgot and bitterly extracted revenge by assigning Sheen to Rochester, NY, which for a man of Sheen’s public notoriety was assigning him to the boondocks of civilization. (My apologies to anyone that may live in Rochester.)

Arroyo makes the point that “none of the details related to the Spellman affair nor Sheen’s personal feelings about the Cardinal’s actions are mentioned in the autobiography.” Arroyo comes to this conclusion:

Those looking for literary payback need to look elsewhere. (Spellman is even praised!) Instead, what follows is a singular autobiography, one that is more an internal portrait of a man than an external one. And what a man Bishop Fulton Sheen was.

As to prophet, Arroyo cites the Holy Father himself as on Sheen:

Pope Pius XII once referred to Sheen as “a prophet of the times.” He engaged all facets of the culture in a dazzling way. An author of more than sixty books and a columnist, he used his well-trained mind to touch the common man. Explaining the Gospel with true innovation, he often appealed to poetry, philosophy, history, architecture, song, and art to drive home his message.

My goodness, that’s exactly what I aim to do and be. It’s what I see as the mission of this Catholic Thought Book Club. Fulton Sheen is my ideal man, the epitome of the religious man communicating the Truth of Jesus Christ using the means of our culture and past. Arroyo then goes on to highlight Sheen’s lasting legacy.

But perhaps he is best known for his broadcast work. Before Mother Angelica, Pat Robertson, and Joel Osteen, there was Bishop Fulton Sheen. In his magenta cape and zucchetto he was a media trailblazer who often beat Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra in the ratings. For more than fifty years he transformed rarefied theology into the idiom of the masses, using radio and then television to bring a message of hope to people of all faiths and those of none at all.

Arroyo finally gets what I anticipate as the center of the book.

This autobiography would be Bishop Sheen’s last treasure. It is at once an exploration of an apostle’s journey and a history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century. A participant of the Second Vatican Council, Sheen offers a stinging critique of the failure to properly interpret the Council documents.

And Arroyo ends with Sheen’s “silent suffering,” a suffering servant of sorts.

This book was written during a period of intense physical suffering for Sheen. Starting in 1977, he underwent a series of surgeries that sapped his strength and even made preaching difficult. He must have known this would be his final work because one senses an urgency on these pages, an eagerness to impart these lessons, particularly those dealing with the spiritual bounty found in pain. The last chapters crackle with the same zeal and determination as a final homilies from the late 70s: they are prophetic and impassioned, free from the gilded edges of the past.

I didn’t nominate Treasure in Clay; I didn’t even know it existed. But I am so glad it was selected. It was an inspired choice, perhaps right from the Holy Spirit Himself. I am so looking forward to reading it.

message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 182 comments JMJ. This book has been on my to read list for a long time, however I had no thought of nominating it until I almost felt compelled to do so. My parents were fans of Sheen as I was growing up so I always knew of him. 4 years ago, the director of RCIA at my parish was diagnosed with cancer and requested that we pray for Sheen’s intercession, which renewed my interest in him. I was blessed to be able to join with other members of my parish to make a pilgrimage last week to Ven. Fulton Sheen’s tomb. I highly recommend watching Bishop Barron’s new video on him as part of The Pivotal Players series and of course, watching episodes of Life is Worth Living.

message 8: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
I thank you Lisa for nominating it. I'm going to read the autobiography before I get Bishop Barron's Pivotal Player video on Sheen. Thanks.

message 9: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
I'm finding that the bio - I've read a couple of chapters now - have the same charm and wit of his television show. Perhaps it would be a good introduction to the book to watch an episode. Here's a 21 minute episode of a Fulton Sheen broadcast, subtitled, "How to Improve Your Mind." It's bot funny and educating at the same time. I can see how he was so popular.

message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine Bengle | 35 comments Thanks. Just listen to the episode and couldn't help but think of the book we are now reading in the Catholic Book Club "The Restoration of Christian Culture. The author seems to have the same message. Not all that is on TV is bad, but the amount of time that is wasted watching it when it could be better spent spending time with family, being outside, reading, playing the piano etc would give us so much more to "taste, chew and digest."

message 11: by Pop (new)

Pop (sauraspop) I started reading this today. It really has me hooked, I feel like I can’t put it down. Arroyo’s introduction was worth the price of the book. Although my parents and grandparents were not Catholic I can remember them watching Bishop Sheen on TV in my youth. During these last few years I’ve become a great fan of Sheen. One thing I am curious about was the comment in Arroyo made about Sheen “building churches and hospitals for poor blacks in Alabama.” Being that I am born, raised and still living in Alabama I’ve never heard of this. Got to check this out.

message 12: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 67 comments Thank you Manny for the video. I have read the introduction and need to refresh my memory about his TV show.

message 13: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
It's great that several have started reading. The schedule for this week is to read through chapter four. Our custom here at Catholic Thought, for the newer members, is to discuss the previous week's read on the following week. So we plan to discuss these first four chapters next week. I'll have a short summary and the folder up by the end of the week.

I know some people like to read an entire book in one week. But not everyone has that kind of reading speed or that kind of time on their hands. The reason I space it out this way is twofold. (1) It gives everyone a chance to pace together, and (2) it allows for a more detailed discussion. If you read a book in a week, it causes the discussion to be more generic and big picture. If you break it down to smaller bites, you get more of a "deep dive" discussion. And I figure most people are reading other books in parallel anyway.

message 14: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine Myers | 601 comments I bought mine at our local Catholic store--spent a bit extra but it needs business. I told the manager it was the choice for our book club and she will order more(I bought the only one left). I will be sure to talk it up in our parish.

message 15: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 67 comments I am reading on Kindle. Worth every penny of the 14.00. I am through chapter 2. I am going to make my Kindle highlights public and make a few comments there.

My initial impressions:
What a humble man
What a wonderful writer

message 16: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
Celia wrote: "I am reading on Kindle. Worth every penny of the 14.00. I am through chapter 2. I am going to make my Kindle highlights public and make a few comments there.

My initial impressions:
What a humble..."

I'm reading on Kindle too. I have no idea how to make my highlights public. However, I highlight on almost every page. Perhaps too overwhelming to share that.

message 17: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 67 comments I have a personal interest in this book too. My name is Celia and his mother is Delia Fulton Sheen. I found these pieces of information on the website


message 18: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 67 comments Manny wrote: "Celia wrote: "I am reading on Kindle. Worth every penny of the 14.00. I am through chapter 2. I am going to make my Kindle highlights public and make a few comments there.

My initial impressions:..."

I'll give you instructions some time in PM if you want.

message 19: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
Celia wrote: "Manny wrote: "Celia wrote: "I am reading on Kindle. Worth every penny of the 14.00. I am through chapter 2. I am going to make my Kindle highlights public and make a few comments there.

My initia..."

OK, if it's not to much trouble. I probably won't use it now, but perhaps in the future. Thank you.

message 20: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
The Catholic Company has a really nice Fulton Sheen rosary on sale, here:

I'm tempted but not sure I want to spend $80. It's beautiful though.

message 21: by Nikita (last edited Sep 22, 2019 10:52AM) (new)

Nikita Unverzagt (abigaildarcy) | 45 comments This books has been on my physical bookshelf for a few years. I would back in 2010 I had come home from work (I worked late evening shift, where I would be home at 02:00) and I turned on the telly to EWTN and what was on was an episode of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen's show. I had heard about the Bishop thanks to many of Catholics I had come to know well, but I had not read or listen to him. Watching the episode alone I learned so much of my faith that I knew I wanted to 1. see more episodes or listen to them 2. read works by this wonderful holy man. Hence how I have his autobiography. He has such a frankness about him that I was drawn to.

Funny story, when my great-grandmother (whom I was pretty much raised by) saw the book when I purchased it she told me how she rarely missed his radio program or his television show. I was shocked due to her being a Southern Baptist. When I asked her if she knew he was a Catholic Bishop she replied, "He knew God and was such a holy man." I am amazed how she could not converted to Catholicism. She passed away in 2017 (she was 95) and I pray for her.

I have read up to Chapter 4. I cannot wait to discuss Chapter 1-4 with the group.

God Bless and May each of you enjoy your Sunday,


message 22: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3732 comments Mod
Hi Nikita, that is fascinating to learn about your Baptist grandmother's fondness for Bishop Sheen. God rest her soul.

The folder for the first four chapters is up. You can begin posting your thoughts.

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