Cure could speed Newman's path to sainthood

A 'miracle cure' in Boston may help clear the way for the canonisation of John Henry Cardinal Newman, whose cause is promoted in a book launched in Rome on Monday night in the presence of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

The announcement was made by Fr Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Postulator of the Cause for the beatification and canonisation of Cardinal Newman, at the launch of  Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Newman, a collection of writings edited by Peter Jennings and published by Family Publications, Oxford. The book was launched at the English College. Among those attending were the Archbishops of Westminster and Birmingham, the president of the Vatican's Council for Social Communications, Archbishop John P Foley; and leading Newman scholars.

Fr Chavasse told them: "A couple of years ago, we received reports at the Birmingham Oratory, of a cure which had taken place in Boston, in the United States of America, of a man, a deacon. I am not at liberty to give the name of this man, who had been suffering from severe spinal problems, and who has now recovered, as a result of the intercession of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman."

Fr Chavasse thanked Andrea Ambrosi, "a most active member of the College of Postulators, who is now involved most intimately in advancing the Cause to a new stage, and whose assistance at this time has become indispensable."

He said: "Postulators are not known for rushing, indeed, they cannot, given the caution needed before anyone can be certain that a presumed miraculous cure is just that. Time has to elapse, evidence has to be gathered and so forth. Well, time has elapsed, evidence has been gathered, and guided by the Avvocato Ambrosi's expert knowledge and, with the approval of the Archbishop of Boston, a tribunal opened there on 25 June this year to investigate this cure.

"Much work has been done and much remains to be done: the tribunal will not finish its work until the beginning of February next; the last session is scheduled for 6 to 7 February 2006. After that, all the evidence gathered comes to Rome and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints begins its meticulous work, examining the medical and theological aspects of it. If these processes end positively, undoubtedly a miracle will be announced and Cardinal Newman, the best-known English churchman of the nineteenth century, will be declared Blessed in the usual way."

Fr Chevasse ended: "I commend this whole matter to your prayers, that all will go well and that before too long has elapsed we will be able to be gathered together again to celebrate the happy conclusion of another stage of the great English Cardinal's journey to officially recognised Sainthood." Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Newman brings together talks, sermons and addresses given to commemorate a variety of anniversaries and events concerned with Cardinal Newman's life, as well as several important new contributions which highlight the relevance of the great Cardinal's life and teachings for the contemporary Church.

The book contains articles by Fr Chevasse as well as by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, whose chapter is entitled: "The Importance of Newman Today", said he had discovered Newman's writings on the development of Christian doctrine while studying for the priesthood in Rome. He had chosen as a dissertation topic Newman's concept of the laity.

Peter Jennings said he hoped the book would increase popular devotion to Cardinal Newman, "the best-known churchman of the nineteenth century."

The Birmingham launch of the book will take place on Friday 21 October at the Birmingham Oratory, Upper Cloister Hall, 12.30pm to 2pm. The Oxford Launch will take place on Friday 28 October at the Oxford Oratory, 4.30pm to 5.45pm. (Mass at 6pm.) Further information from

Source: Archbishop's House

first posted ROME - 19 October 2005 - 653 words

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