Here a fuller picture of the procedure in the cause of Ven. John Henry Newman.
As a cause progresses, the Congregation must examine the evidence presented concerning the holiness of life of the one being propsed. If the Congregation deems that the evidence supports it, it issues a decree concerning the heroic virtues of the servant of God (for martyrs this is a little different). The Pope must apporove the decree. At that point the servant of God is called Venerable. For a Beatification to move forward there must be a miracle, approved or recognized with reasonable certainty that it is, in fact, a miracle through the intercession of this particular Venerable. The procedure is at first very similar. Evidence or "proofs" must be gathered according to strict protocols at the local level, in the place with the supposed miracle took place. Then it is sent to Rome and the Congregation examines whether the proper protocols and procedures were observed. Then the case is given to a team of physicians and/or other experts to look at all the medical or other scientific aspects. They must determine if there was some natural explanation for the outcome or whether or not what happened was beyond reasonable explanation for its cause. If they determine that it is morally certain that what happened was beyond merely natural causes, they turn the case back to the Congregation who hands it over to a team of theologians. The theologians make a determination that what happened occurred through the intercession of the Venerable. After that, the Congregation gathers its members in a meeting and one of their number proposes the case to everyone (my bishop was the "Ponente" for the cause of St. Pio, for example) and they take a vote. The results of the vote go to the Supreme Pontiff for approval.
In the following press release you can see what stage they are now at.
Issued by the Catholic Communications Network
Newman cause moves forward in Rome
From Peter Jennings, Press Secretary to the Fathers of the Birmingham
Oratory for the Cause of the Beatification and Canonisation of the Venerable
John Henry Newman.
Mobile: 07967 639556
Thursday 24 April 2008
NEWMAN CAUSE MOVES FORWARD IN ROME
CONSULTA MEDICA GIVES POSITIVE RESPONSE TO CASE OF DEACON JACK SULLIVAN
Peter Jennings, Press Secretary to the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory for the Cause of the Beatification and Canonisation of the Venerable John Henry Newman (1801-1890), said: "With the Permission of the Roman Postulator of the Newman Cause, Dr Andrea Ambrosi, I am able to announce that today, Thursday 24 April, a meeting of the Consulta Medica took place at the Congregation of Saints in Rome.
"The case of Deacon Jack Sullivan, from Marshfield near Boston, Massachusetts, was discussed and voted on by the Consulta Medica. The opinion of the doctors is positive. [That is, what happened was beyond mere natural causes. For cures there must be no natural explanation, and the cure must be sudden, complete and lasting.]
"We now await the meeting of the Committee of Theological Consultors on a date to be set by the Congregation of Saints. Before this, the Roman Postulator must draw up the Informatio report that will assist these theological consultors in their deliberations.
"If the vote of the Theological Consultors is favourable then the matter goes to the members of the Congregation of Saints, the cardinals and bishops, whose role it is to advise Pope Benedict XVI, who is taking a personal interest in the Newman Cause."
Jack Sullivan, a 69-year old Permanent Deacon, was suffering from an extremely serious spinal disorder when he first prayed through the intercession of Cardinal Newman.
Deacon Sullivan was healed of his spinal disorder on 15 August 2001, the Feast of the Assumption.
Jack Sullivan and his wife Carol have three grown up children.
Father Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Postulator of the Newman Cause said: "We now hope and pray for a positive outcome for the remaining steps of the process to beatify our Cardinal."
Father Chavasse added: "The Fathers, at Newman’s Oratory here in Edgbaston, would encourage people throughout the world to redouble their prayers for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman."
The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "The Church goes to great lengths before arriving at a public declaration of a person’s holiness of life. The process is going forward steadily in the case of Cardinal Newman. We await its next step in prayerful anticipation."
Once the Consulta Medica has done its work, things can go a bit more swiftly, I think.