A papal decree announcing the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman is imminent and will most likely be made before the Vatican closes for its summer break in August, the Register has learned.
Last month, the Vatican’s medical board concluded a miracle attributed to Cardinal Newman’s intercession was due to inexplicable causes. Deacon John Sullivan, 70, of Marshfield, Mass., was healed of severe back pain in 2001 after praying to the 19th-century English theologian. Deacon Sullivan was prompted to ask for Cardinal Newman’s intercession after watching an EWTN program on Cardinal Newman’s beatification process.
Now, according to Vatican officials, a team of cardinal theological consultors has approved the miracle and the cause rests with Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican officials stress that it is entirely up to the Pope to issue a decree, and that the miracle is not found authentic and the beatification cause is not complete until he does so.
Once any decree has been issued, it will be up to Church authorities in England to decide when and where to hold the beatification ceremony. The most probable location will be the Archdiocese of Birmingham where Cardinal Newman spent most of his life.
Some have speculated that the Holy Father may request the ceremony be held in Rome because Cardinal Newman was a cardinal, and because the Pope is a great admirer of his work. But officials think it is unlikely the Pope will make an exception.
If the Pope issues a decree, Cardinal Newman will be the first English non-martyr to be beatified since the Reformation.