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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Fri. 07/10/09 09:39:01 PM
Cardinal Newman Will Be Beatified
Two recent articles at Catholic Online tell the story.
First, Pope approves Beatification of Cardinal Newman, today.
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LONDON (The Catholic Herald, UK) - Pope Benedict XVI has announced the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
The declaration means that the Anglican vicar who shocked Victorian England by converting to Catholicism will be given the title "Blessed".
It also puts Newman just one stage away from becoming the first English saint in about 40 years.
The Pope signed the decree authorising the beatification after Vatican doctors and theologians finally approved the inexplicable healing of Jack Sullivan, an American "bent double" by a severe spinal condition, as a miracle which came about as a result of praying to Cardinal Newman.
His decision to beatify Cardinal Newman was welcomed by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. "I am delighted to learn this news, which will be warmly welcomed by Catholics around the world," Archbishop Nichols said.
"To have Cardinal Newman among the Blessed is an occasion of great thankfulness to the Lord and of great pride to those associated with him in Birmingham and in Oxford. "I am sure he will help us greatly in the task of protecting the Faith amidst the difficulties he foresaw so clearly."
Fr Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, the church that Newman founded, said: "The prayers of Christ's faithful all over the world have now been answered. "The Holy Father's decision is one of great significance for the whole Church.
"I pray that Newman, by the example of his life and the depth of his teaching, will be received as an authentic guide for Catholics everywhere.
"It is surely providential that the beatification of this great English theologian will occur in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, a major theologian in his own right whom Cardinal Newman has influenced profoundly."
Cardinal Newman will be beatified during a solemn Mass within the next year and a second miracle will then be needed to recognise him as a saint.
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.
Benedict XVI has been an admirer of the writings of Cardinal Newman since the 1940s, especially his "theology of conscience", and is keen to make him a saint and reportedly also a theological Doctor of the Church.
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 back 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 intellect, combined with his life of virtue, 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 and more than 15,000 people lined the streets for his funeral a week later.
His Cause for sainthood was opened in 1958 and he was declared "Venerable" by Pope John Paul II in 1991 after it was established that he had led a life of "heroic virtue".
A miracle was needed for the Cause to progress further and this came on August 15 2001 when Sullivan, now 70, from Marshfield, Massachusetts, whose back condition was so severe that doctors feared he would be paralysed, prayed to Newman after he watched a television documentary about him. He rapidly returned to full health and today spends much of his free time working in his garden.
Deacon Sullivan, a deacon who hopes to be on the altar during the beatification Mass, said he felt "an intense sense of gratitude and thanksgiving" to God and to Cardinal Newman.
"I have dedicated my vocation in praise of Cardinal Newman, who even now directs all my efforts," he added.
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Second, Pope Benedict XVI Recognizes Miracle, a week ago.
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BIRMINGHAM (Catholic Online) - Pope Benedict XVI today recognised the healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan in 2001 as a miracle resulting from the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God John Henry Newman.
The miraculous healing from serious debility of the spine occurred in Boston in the United States of America following prayers for Cardinal Newman’s intercession.
Newman, a major theologian and convert to Catholicism, died in 1890. The Pope’s decision means that his Beatification is now certain.
“The prayers of Christ’s faithful all over the world have now been answered” said Father Paul Chavasse, the Provost of Newman’s community at the Oratory in Birmingham (UK).
“The Holy Father’s decision is one of great significance for the whole Church. I pray that Newman, by the example of his life and the depth of his teaching, will be received as an authentic guide for Catholics everywhere.
It is surely providential that the Beatification of this great English theologian will occur in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, a major theologian in his own right whom Cardinal Newman has influenced profoundly.”
In 1991 Pope John Paul II recognized the heroically virtuous life of Cardinal Newman and granted him the title ‘Venerable’. He will continue to be called ‘the Venerable Servant of God’ until the solemn ceremony at which he is beatified or declared “Blessed”.
The Catholic Church believes that God works miracles through the prayers of people in heaven. For someone to be proclaimed ‘Blessed’, his or her heavenly intercession must be judged responsible for a miracle on earth, which must always be a physical healing. In the case of martyrs, their deaths for the Faith alone suffice for Beatification. A panel of doctors has to rule that the healing is scientifically inexplicable, while theologians examine whether it occurred as the result of the intercession of the person whose Beatification is being considered.
If the doctors and theologians judge the case positively, it is then examined by the Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The results of these discussions are communicated to the Pope who alone can declare a healing to be a true miracle. Only when all these stages have been successfully completed does the Pope authenticate the miracle.
A second miracle has to be recognised for a person to be canonised, that is declared to be a Saint.
Jack Sullivan, the permanent deacon who was healed through Newman’s intercession, said: “Upon hearing of the recent developments in Rome regarding Cardinal Newman’s Cause for Beatification, I was left with an intense sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to Almighty God and my intercessor Cardinal John Henry Newman. I have dedicated my vocation in praise of Cardinal Newman, who even now directs all my efforts.”
In the Archdiocese of Birmingham, the Diocesan Administrator Bishop William Kenney said: “I am delighted to hear that the Beatification of Cardinal Newman will take place. This is an opportunity for a real renewal of spirit among Catholics and many others, not least here in the city of Birmingham.”
The Archbishop of Westminster, His Grace Vincent Nichols, said: “I am delighted to learn this news, which will be warmly welcomed by Catholics around the world. To have Cardinal Newman among the Blessed is an occasion of great thankfulness to the Lord and of great pride to those associated with him in Birmingham and in Oxford. I am sure he will help us greatly in the task of protecting the Faith amidst the difficulties he foresaw so clearly.”
In Rome, the Procurator General of the Oratory, Father Edoardo Cerrato, said: “On behalf of the eighty-two houses of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Newman’s own Congregation, I welcome this decision with joy and look forward to the ceremony of Beatification with great anticipation.”
Where and when the Beatification will take place have yet to be decided. Father Chavasse explained that the cost of the ceremony is to be covered by the free-will offerings of the faithful. He added, “I appeal to everyone who has desired and prayed for Newman’s Beatification to make a donation to help.”
Donations can be made to The Oratory, Edgbaston B16 8UE (UK) or online at www.newmancause.co.uk, where more information about Newman’s Cause is also available.
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