Monday, October 15, 2007

Cardinal John Henry Newman closer to beatification?

[Not liturgical, but worthwhile news for those, like myself, interested in the thought and person of Cardinal Newman.]

Cardinal Newman: sainted after US 'miracle'
10/14/2007 10:40:00 PM
By UK Telegraph -Jonathan Petre

The Vatican is close to attributing a miracle to Cardinal Newman that would pave the way for Britain's most famous convert to Roman Catholicism to become this country's first saint for 40 years.

Insiders in Rome believe that the Vatican will announce a decision within months, meaning that the former Anglican whose conversion shocked Victorian England could be beatified as early as next year.

The controversial theologian and writer of the hymn Lead Kindly Light, who converted in 1845 and died in 1890, would then be declared "Blessed" and be one step from canonisation, for which a second miracle would be needed.

The profile of John Henry Newman was boosted when Tony Blair gave Pope Benedict XVI three signed photographs of him at their meeting in Rome in June.

At the time the gesture was widely interpreted as symbolising Mr Blair's own intention to convert to Catholicism after he stepped down as Prime Minister.

But Vatican sources pointed out as that, a young student, the Pope studied Newman and has been a devotee ever since. The cause of the 19th century priest was given priority treatment when his case was sent to Rome a year ago, partly because of the Pope's personal interest.

The Vatican's Congregation for Saints normally takes years to sift such cases, but medical experts are already scrutinising evidence that a 69-year-old American was inexplicably cured of a crippling spinal condition after praying to the cardinal.

One Vatican source said: "The approval of the miracle is expected to be the last significant hurdle. The congregation's experts are well advanced in their work, and all the signs look positive. We could even have a decision by Christmas."

If the cardinals who make up the congregation then approve the case and the Pope gives his assent, Cardinal Newman could be beatified by the end of next year.

Peter Jennings, the spokesman for the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory, which was founded by Newman in 1848 and whose provost is championing his cause, said: "The Catholic Church has gone through a very difficult period in the last few years and this would be a tremendous morale boost."

It could also come at a significant time for Anglican traditionalists who regard Newman as one of their spiritual influences, as many are themselves considering conversion to Rome if the Church of England backs women bishops.

Although a file on the cardinal's beatification was first opened in 1958, no miracles had, until recently, been attributed to him.

The breakthrough came after officials in the Archdiocese of Boston concluded that a deacon from Massachusetts, had been cured of his back condition after praying for the intercession of the cardinal.

A tribunal was set up by in June 2005 after Deacon Jack Sullivan, who was "bent double" by the condition, was able to "walk about straight" again.

Source: Catholic Citizens

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