Catholic World News News Feature
Beatification near for Cardinal Newman? July 15, 2008
The Vatican has directed that the body of Cardinal John Henry Newman should be exhumed from a simple cemetery and preserved in a marble sarcophagus in the Birmingham Oratory, according to English newspaper reports.
The Vatican has not formally announced the directive, which requires approval from British government officials. But Father Paul Chavasse, the provost of the Birmingham Oratory, confirmed that the Vatican had made the request.
In April, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints receive a report testifying to the validity of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Cardinal Newman: the cure of a Massachusetts man from a crippling spinal illness. Scientific consultants concluded that there was no medical explanation for the cure, and if their conclusion is ratified by a panel of Vatican-appointed theologians, the path will be cleared for the beatification of Cardinal Newman.
Church officials in England hope that the beatification of the famous theologian-- a convert from the Church of England and a towering figure in the English intellectual world of the 19th century-- could take place before the end of this year.
The order to reinter Cardinal Newman's remains is a clear sign that Vatican officials, too, believe the beatification could take place soon. Father Chavasse of the Birmingham Oratory explained to the Daily Telegraph that the in preparing for a beatification, the Vatican wants to provide opportunities for the faithful to reverence the candidate's remains. "These have to be identified, preserved and, if necessary, placed in a new setting which befits the individual's new status in the Church," he said.