Blessed John Henry Newman may be canonised as early as next year after a second miracle was approved.
Only two more stages remain: approval by a commission of bishops, and the final declaration by Supreme Pontiff.
The Archdiocese of Chicago had investigated the inexplicable healing of a woman who prayed for Newman’s intercession as she was undergoing a “life-threatening pregnancy”. Her doctors unanimously reported that they had no scientific explanation for her sudden recovery.
Blessed John Henry Newman was one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism from Anglicanism of the 19th century. He had already achieved an international reputation as an Anglican theologian, especially when he founded the Oxford Movement with the aim to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots. A deep, scholarly, reflection of several years led him to conclude that the Catholic faith was the same Church founded by Christ, which is testified in her indisputable historical continuity: she never separated from anyone!
As a Catholic, Blessed John Henry Newman continued to shine out as an outstanding theologian and brilliant thinker. For this reason, he was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. His prolific and original writings have led many to call for him to be declared a Doctor of the Church. He died in Birmingham in 1890, aged 89, after founding the Birmingham Oratory.
Pope Benedict XVI beatified Newman in Birmingham in 2010 after the Vatican approved the first miracle: the inexplicable healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan, an American who recovered from a crippling spinal condition. It is worth reading the Pope’s homily for the Beatification.
According to Newman, the reason why he converted was that “I consider the Roman Catholic Communion the Church of the Apostles.” For Newman, Catholicism did not just claim to offer the truth; it was the Truth. He had dedicated his whole life to the pursuit of truth, wherever it might lead. This was the theme of his greatest poem, “The Pillar of the Cloud” written in 1833. He had already visited Gibraltar in 1832 on board the mail steamship the Hermes, so one wonders if our Rock and its friendly Levanter might have influenced him kindly?