THE Vatican is preparing to give England its first post- Reformation saint by putting Cardinal Newman — the 19th-century priest whose conversion from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism shocked Victorian England — on the road to canonisation, thanks to a long-awaited miracle.
Although a dossier on Cardinal Newman’s beatification was first opened in 1958, no miracles had, until now, been attributed to his intercession. “I had to tell John Paul that the English are not very good at miracles,” Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said. “It’s not that we are not pious, but the English tend to think of God as a gentleman who should not be bullied.”
Yesterday, however, the cleric responsible for arguing Newman’s cause, Father Paul Chavasse, the Provost of Birmingham Oratory, which was founded by Newman in 1848, said that a deacon in the Diocese of Boston in the United States had testified that he had recovered from a spinal disease after praying to Cardinal Newman. “At last we have a miracle cure,” he said.
Father Chavasse said that the 60-year-old deacon, who could not be named, had earlier undergone an unsuccessful operation, but after prayers to Newman had “fully recovered his health and mobility”.
The cause of Newman’s beatification is likely to be close to the new Pope’s heart because he is known to have admired Newman since his student days. One of his first messages after his election in April was to Trinity College, Oxford — where Newman was the first Honorary Fellow — praising his “disciplined commitment to the pursuit of religious truth”.
The miracle attributed to Newman is being investigated by the Boston Diocese, which will complete its findings in February. The evidence will then be forwarded to the Vatican for approval by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and ultimately to the Pope. [Source]