Friday, July 03, 2009

Pope: "Bless" Newman

And now, finally, it's official: at an audience with his lead saint-maker this morning, Pope Benedict formally affirmed the miraculous healing of a Massachusetts deacon attributed to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman, clearing the last procedural hurdle to the beatification of the famed English convert.

Approved last month by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the decree of the Newman miracle was one of 12 advancements for canonization cases ratified by the pontiff, including one of a German priest judged to have been martyred "in odium fidei" -- "out of hatred for the faith" -- in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in 1942.

With the Newman miracle now formally sanctioned, plans can begin in earnest for a Beatification Mass -- which, if the recently restored custom holds, would be held in England and presided over by a papal legate.

Given the likely global turnout for the event, smart money would seem to indicate a date either late this year or early in 2010.

Late last year, Newman's remains were moved from their original resting place to the Birmingham Oratory with an eye to the cardinal-convert's reaching the last step before sainthood.