Sainthood and Beatification
The Catholic Church believes that there is only one centre of her faith: ‘The Divine Teacher and Model of Perfection, Christ Jesus’. In an Apostolic Constitution of 1983, Pope John Paul II reminded the Church that her faithful baptised members ‘are truly sons of God and sharers in the divine nature…In this way, they are truly made holy.’ The Church calls these people ‘Saints’.
The first stage to sainthood involves an examination of the persons’ life and writings. At the end of this examination, the Pope may make a proclamation of ‘heroic virtue’ – that the person lived to an heroic degree the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. With this proclamation he or she is declared ‘Venerable’. Newman has been ‘Venerable’ since 1991.
For the next stage, beatification, to take place a miracle must be attributed to the person called ‘venerable. Someone, inspired by a holy man or woman who has died, prays to that person asking them to take forth their prayers to God.
When extraordinary and miraculous signs occur that cannot be explained by anything other than the hand of God - for example a cure to an illness or ailment - the miracle can be more thoroughly examined by a local bishop.
The Bishop will then decide whether to set up a panel of experts to look into that person's life and faith before the case passes to the Vatican where it is judged on its merits by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
If miracles are attributed to that person's intercession, they must verified by experts e.g. doctors. Then, if there is reason to proceed further, the bishop may petition Rome to begin the process of beatification - the step before a person is canonised (made a saint in the Catholic Church). For more information see http://www.newmancause.co.uk/what-are-beatification-and-canonisation.html
On 3 July the miraculous healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan was recognized by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Beatification of Cardinal Newman
John Henry Newman was born in London on 21 February 1801, and died in Birmingham on 11 August 1890.
As Vicar of St Mary’s Oxford he exerted a profound spiritual influence on the Church of England. After joining the Catholic Church in 1845, he brought the Oratory of St Philip Neri to England, was the first Rector of the Catholic University in Dublin, and was made Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879.
Through his extensive published writings and private correspondence he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church and its teachings, helping many persons with their religious difficulties. At his death he was praised for his unworldliness, humility, and prayerful contact with the invisible world.
He was declared Venerable on 22 January 1991 and will be beatified during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England.
More about Cardinal Newman
John Henry Newman was born on 21 February 1801 in the City of London. At Ealing School he underwent a spiritual conversion which set him on the road to perfection. After undergraduate study at Trinity College, Oxford, he was elected Fellow of Oriel College.
In June 1824, Newman was ordained deacon in the Church of England. In February 1828, he was appointed Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, the University Church, where his spiritual influence on his parishioners and the undergraduates was enormous.
During 1833, he became the leader of the spiritual renewal known as the Oxford Movement. His studies of the Fathers of the Church led him to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church was the “One Fold of Christ.”
After a long interior struggle John Henry Newman was received into the Catholic Church on the 9 October 1845 by Blessed Dominic Barberi at Littlemore, where he had retired to live a semi-monastic life.
Several of his Anglican friends refused to have anything to do with him after he became a Catholic, but undeterred he went to Rome and studied for the priesthood. He was ordained on Trinity Sunday, 30 May 1847.
Fr Newman returned to England and on 1 February 1848, he set up the English Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri at Mayvale on the outskirts of Birmingham. The following year the Oratory divided into two. Fr Newman remained in Birmingham and Fr Faber moved to London, now the Brompton Oratory.
In 1851, Fr Newman was appointed Rector of the proposed Catholic University of Ireland.
In February 1852, the Oratory community moved into a new house in Edgbaston where it has remained until the present day.
Fr Newman founded the Oratory School in Birmingham and in 1864 he published his famous Apologia pro Vita Sua, in which he vindicated his honesty in the Church of England and defended the Church of Rome.
Fr Newman worked tirelessly for the poor of his parish, and carried on an enormous correspondence, helping countless persons both Catholic and non- Catholic with their religious difficulties. He suffered much from the misunderstandings, suspicions and opposition of some ecclesiastical authorities.
In 1879 Pope Leo XIII created Fr John Henry Newman a cardinal to the joy of all of England.
At his death on 11 August 1890, aged 89, it was said that Cardinal Newman more than any other person had changed the attitude of non-Catholics to Catholics.
On 19 August 1890, more than 15,000 people lined the streets of Birmingham as Cardinal Newman’s body was borne to the secluded little cemetery at the Oratory House at Rednal, more than eight miles away.
The Cork Examiner affirmed: “Cardinal Newman goes to his grave with the singular honour of being by all creeds and classes acknowledged as the just man made perfect.”
On 22 January 1991, the Decree on Heroic Virtues was signed by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Newman was declared Venerable.
This short biography of Cardinal Newman is taken from “A Newman Prayer Book” by the late Fr Vincent Ferrer Blehl, SJ.
Who is Deacon Jack Sullivan and why is he important?
On 3 July the miraculous healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan was recognized by Pope Benedict XVI. It is this miracle which has meant that Cardinal Newman will be beatified during the papal visit.
Jack Sullivan, a 69-year old Permanent Deacon from Marshfield near Boston, Massachusetts, was suffering from an extremely serious spinal disorder when he first prayed through the intercession of Cardinal Newman.
Deacon Sullivan, was healed of his spinal disorder on 15 August 2001, the Feast of the Assumption. Doctors have been unable to provide any medical explanation for the change in his condition.