A miracle approved for Ven. J.H. Newman?

This is in The Telegraph:

Cardinal John Newman poised for beatification after ruling
The Vatican has cleared the way for the beatification of John Henry Newman, the English Roman Catholic Cardinal.

By Simon Caldwell
Last Updated: 4:29PM BST 24 Apr 2009

A panel of theological consultors agreed unanimously that the inexplicable healing of an American man who was "bent double" by a severe spinal disorder came as a result of praying to Newman for a miracle, according to sources. Their decision was the final hurdle before Pope Benedict XVI can declare him "Blessed".

The Pope, who is known to be keen to make Newman a saint and who asks about the progress of his cause on a regular basis, was informed of the panel’s decision straight away.

The vote means that the Pope can now beatify Newman at a date of his choosing. A second miracle will be required before Newman can be declared a saint.

The move was welcomed by Oxford University theologian Father Ian Ker, the author of the definitive biography of Cardinal Newman.

Father Ker said: "Newman was definitely a saint and he was a very English saint. He had a great sense of humour like St Thomas More.

"He also had a great gift for friendship which has been lost in the modern age." The priest said Newman was a significant figure to Catholics worldwide because he pre-empted the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that modernised the Church.

Father Ker added: "As soon as he is canonised he will definitely be made a theological "doctor of the Church" and he will be seen as a doctor of this period we are living in.

"He would thoroughly agree with Pope John Paul II’s and Benedict’s understanding of the reforms of the council. While Newman was open to new ideas he was extremely loyal to the authority and the tradition of the Church."

A formal announcement by the Vatican on Newman’s beatification is expected within the next two months.

He could be beatified as early as the autumn but it is more likely to go ahead next year.

When Gordon Brown visited the Vatican in February he invited Pope Benedict to Britain to perform the ceremony in person, possibly at Wembley Stadium.

But there have also been suggestions that the beatification should take place in St Peter’s Square, Rome, because of Newman’s international significance as a modern theologian.

The breakthrough concludes the work of the theological consultors who spent six months examining doctrinal issues surrounding the healing of Jack Sullivan, 69, a deacon from Marshfield, Massachusetts.

A panel of medical experts had earlier concluded there was no scientific explanation for the healing.

All that remains for the beatification to go ahead is the miracle to be rubber-stamped by the cardinals of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood and the Pope’s signature.

Benedict XVI has been an admirer of the writings of Cardinal Newman since the 1940s, especially his "theology of conscience".

He learned about this from a German scholar called Theodor Haecker, who translated Newman’s works from English into German, and who was close to the White Rose, a German resistance movement in the Second World War.

It was revealed last month that German academics have discovered that Newman’s writings on conscience were a key inspiration of the White Rose – in particular of Sophie Scholl, a student beheaded in 1943 at the age of 21 for distributing leaflets urging students at Munich University to rise up against "Nazi terror".

Newman was born in the City of London in 1801. He became a Church of England vicar and led the "Oxford movement" in the 1830s to draw Anglicans to their Catholic roots.

He converted to the Catholic faith at the age of 44 after a succession of clashes with Anglican bishops made him a virtual outcast from the Church of England.

He continually clashed with both Anglicans angry about his conversion and Catholics who suspected him of being "half-Protestant" but his brilliant mind combined with his care for the poor won him his cardinal’s red hat from Pope Leo XIII in 1879.

He died in his room at Oratory House, Birmingham, at the age of 89 years and more than 15,000 lined the streets for his funeral a week later. His cause for sainthood was opened in 1958.

Last October undertakers attempted to exhume his body from a grave in Rednal, Worcestershire, but found that it had completely decomposed.

If Newman’s cause progresses swiftly he could become the first English saint since 1970 when Pope Paul VI canonised 40 martyrs of the Protestant Reformation.

The last British saint was St John Ogilvie, a Scottish Jesuit martyr, canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1976.

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  1. puella says:

    I pray it’s true!

  2. Praise God!

    May the soon to be Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’s writings bring many to the font of the orthodox Fathers of the Catholic Church!

    Here is a wonderful website on his writings…


  3. What wonderful news.

  4. sandy says:


  5. Sid says:

    This is glorious news. Dante and Newman helped my conversion.

  6. Charlie says:

    I eagerly await Cardinal Newman’s beatification!

  7. Jeremy says:

    I love Newman. It always kills me when people talk about how Card. Newman “foresaw” or paved the way for V2. Especially a biographer of his! You know, this is the guy that said that you are either, logically, a Catholic or an atheist, although many folks aren’t logical. Those are the only two real positions. The positions in the middle between Catholicism and Atheism are logically incoherent. He also preached that the reason people aren’t Catholic is because they have no faith. Yeah, tell that to the post-V2 crowd. No. Newman would not have welcomed V2 because the language is so unclear and undecisive in so many ways. Read the man’s work. Then read any of V2’s documents. Read Newman’s Grammar of Assent, or his Discourses to Mixed Congregations (http://www.newmanreader.org/works/discourses/index.html) and then try and tell me he is a Doctor of the modern Church… yeah if Levebre is also considered a theologican of the “modern” Church!
    But I pray he is sainted soon… although the good Dr. McInerny says that although wishes for the same, it will be very very hard because Newman wrote too many personal letters!!!

  8. Nick says:

    It’d be cool if the good Cardinal was beatified on Christmas.

  9. Graham Lake says:

    Praise by Jesus Christ!
    I hope our Holy Father will declare him Blessed on his State Visit to the United Kingdom in 2010.

  10. Graham Lake says:

    What wonderful news that the good Cardinal of Holy Roman Church will be declared Blessed in the near future!

  11. Maureen says:

    He was a theologian for the modern age, and he is extremely relevant. It’s just that “for the modern age” and “relevant” don’t mean what some people think they mean.

    In honor of this great announcement, I have unveiled the latest draft of a song I have written honoring him. I don’t advise using it for any liturgies, though. :)


  12. EDG says:

    Great news! I love Newman – his theological/philosophical writings are wonderful, of course, but he also wrote some very lovely prayers and meditations or poems, including the great Dream of Gerontius, so magnificently put to music by Edward Elgar.

  13. I have had deep respect for Cdl. Newman since I read years ago that he studied himself into the Church by reading the Fathers of the Church. His position, which did not endear him to the hierarchy, was that it was the believing laity and not the hierarchy/priesthood which had kept the Faith during the centuries(not that this was accomplished without the aid of some good priests, bishops and popes). He cited the Arian Heresy of the fourth century, the persecutions in his own England under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and his own century, the 19th, the Infallible declaration of the Immaculate Conception. Pius IX wrote to the Bishops of the world asking what the laity thought on this subject, to which they responded: The womb which carried Christ had to be Immaculate from its, Mary’s, conception. Leo XIII agreed with him as he was the first cardinal Leo appointed. I am very pleased.

  14. Matt Q says:

    Great!!! What a tremendous addition. Is the Holy Father going to England, according to Graham above? Interesting. What would be a suitable venue should Cardinal Newman be beatified in England?

    I was going to make a comment about that “Vatican II” business but I don’t want to detract from the good news of Cardinal Newman’s beatification.

    Next up, Pope Pius XII and Archbishop Sheen. Sheen’s Cause is relatively new but there have a few other rush-jobs of late, so why not for him? The Pope’s hold-up, I M O, is all political. I have no doubts about the Pope’s sanctity and his intercession for us from Heaven.

  15. RMT says:

    “The priest said Newman was a significant figure to Catholics worldwide because he pre-empted the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that modernised the Church.”

  16. RMT says:

    Whoops–didn’t finish what I was going to say:

    The priest said Newman was a significant figure to Catholics worldwide because he pre-empted the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that modernised the Church.

    I wonder what he means by this?

  17. shadrach says:

    I pray that both Cardinal Newman and Cardinal Manning may be canonised.

  18. Mark says:

    What are “the reforms” of which it is claimed he would have been in agreement with? Is there a place online for a fresh-out-of-the-box Catholic to find a list of these “reforms”? I wouldn’t think that an Entity that is timeless would need reforming. Just curious.

    Being of English descent as well as a convert myself, I am delighted to hear this news. I’m also glad that the article mentioned as a simple matter of fact that the body was found decompased and left it at that since incorruption (to my understanding anyway) has never been a litmus test for sainthood by the Catholic Church. Or has it? Still, it was a disappointment to hear of it.

    Nick, if you are right and it happens at Christmas, we will be breaking out the figgy pudding!

  19. trespinos says:

    So the cause was opened in 1958. Just five years before I read his “Apologia” as a student and first felt such awe for his great soul. And then there followed all those long, lean years when we waited for a miracle, and began to be impatient that none was forthcoming. We’re blessed to see now this great day. Praised be God in his saintly souls, both the simple like Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi and the intellectual giants like Ven. John Henry Newman.

  20. Supertradmom says:

    Perhaps ironically, perhaps not, Newman’s beatification would greatly help dialogue with the Anglicans, as many love his writings and spirit as well. And, I agree with shadrach, that Cardinal Manning would be the next person to be considered for sainthood from Old Blighty. Thanks for the good news….

  21. It’s interesting that the article mentions the White Rose movement. There is a wonderful movie titled, Sophie Scholl, that I highly recommend. It was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film in 2005.
    There is a review from the National Catholic Register here: http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/sophiescholl.html

  22. Thomas says:

    I heartily agree with the support of Cardinal Manning.

    I do have one question about English saints though: Why has the Cause for Queen Katharine of Aragon never taken off? The woman is so clearly a saint, and in this time of rampant divorce and adultery and the abandonment of wives and children, her canonization would be so apropos and beneficial to the Faithful.

    So what gives with the English? Get to work!

  23. Immaculatae says:

    “O my God, save us all from the seven deadly sins,
    and rescue those who have been made captive by them.”
    Ven. John Henry Newman

    Gotta love Cardinal Newman.
    The Dream of Gerontius made such a strong impression on
    me 20 years ago when I first heard it performed.
    Recently I read it. Even more amazing. I would love to be at the beatification.

  24. amsjj says:

    Cardinal Newman has inspired me with his great devotion, humbleness, and purity, with his continual striving to serve God from his youth. And then there are his writings. I’m reading his “Parochial and Plain Sermons” and the “Letters and Diaries”. I am grateful he wrote so much that we can still learn and enjoy now.

    I pray every day for the Venerable John Henry’s canonization, and when I visit the Lord after Mass, I say “Remember Father Newman!” Hope the official news comes very soon!

  25. Ben Douglass says:

    Whatever his other virtues, I do not believe Cardinal Newman should be canonized due to his attempt to attenuate the Catholic dogma of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. In the February 1884 issue of Nineteenth Century, he published an article in which he cautiously attempted to open the door to the possibility of small, unimportant, factual mistakes in Scripture. John Healy (the future Archbishop of Tuam), writing in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, effectively held the door shut:


    Newman’s original article, which occasioned this critique, as well as his response to it, in which he digs his hole deeper, are available here:


  26. irishgirl says:

    That’s great news! I’m sure I will hear more on this from my priest-friend in the north of England.

    I love his hymn, ‘Lead, Kindly Light’-I think he wrote some others, too….

    I’d also like to see the canonization of Blessed Dominic Barberi, who brought Newman in the Church, and the beatification of Ven. Ignatius Spencer [ancestor of Princess Diana], who was another of Fr. Dominic’s converts.

    I echo sandy’s prayer: Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for your Dowry!

  27. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I know this is late, but this “miracle” is a joke. If the Church uses it, we will be the laughing stock of reasonable people. The man prayed to Newman and his back pain went away for 8 months, returned, he had back surgery and that is what cured him. No one could defend this as miraculous. Newman may well be Saint, but this is no miracle:


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