Cardinal Newman to be beatified


Pope Benedict put Cardinal John Newman, the influential 19th-century Anglican convert, on the path to possible sainthood yesterday by approving a miracle attributed to his intercession.

Cardinal Newman, a hero to many Anglicans and Roman Catholics alike, can now be beatified. A second miracle is necessary for him to be declared a saint – an event which, if it happens, would make him the first English-born saint since the Reformation.

Cardinal Newman, who lived from 1801 to 1890, was one of the founders of the so-called Oxford Movement of the 1830s, which sought to revive certain Roman Catholic doctrines in the Church of England. He was involved in establishing what is now University College Dublin and was its first rector. He also designed University Church in Stephen’s Green in collaboration with architect John Hungerford Pollen.

In 1841 Newman published a paper demonstrating that the Thirty-Nine Articles, the doctrinal statements of the Church of England, were consistent with Catholicism. Amid the outcry from Anglicans, Newman retired, and in 1845 joined the Catholic Church. A year later he was ordained a priest.

Msgr Mark Langham, the Vatican official in charge of relations with Anglicans, said Cardinal Newman was a “key figure” for both Catholics and Anglicans today, responsible for having revived the rich tradition of Anglicanism that stressed the continuity with the old church.

For Catholics, Msgr Langham said, Cardinal Newman represents someone who anticipated by some 100 years the ideas about the Catholic Church’s place in the world that were articulated during the Second Vatican Council.

“Because so many of his ideas anticipate Vatican II, he is seen as something of a trailblazer in opening up the Roman Catholic Church to the world and the wider sense of its obligations to other Christians,” he said. Many theologians, the pope chief among them, “hold him in very high esteem as one of the great minds”, he added.

The miracle approved by the pope concerns the medically inexplicable cure of a Boston resident, John Sullivan, who suffered from debilitating back pain for years but was cured after praying to the cardinal. – (AP)