The Vatican has announced that John Henry Newman will be declared a saint after Pope Francis approved a second miracle attributed to the English cardinal’s intercession.
The ruling means that Newman will be canonised, a decision that comes nine years after his beatification by Benedict XVI during his visit to the UK in 2010.
The Vatican did not release details of the second miracle attributed to Newman, but it has been reported to concern the healing of a woman suffering from a “life-threatening pregnancy” in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, welcomed the announcement.
The Cardinal said: “This is wonderful news which will be greeted with thanks to God by people across the world. Newman’s exploration of faith, depth of personal courage, intellectual clarity and cultural sensitivity make him a deeply admired follower of Christ.
“He brings together so many of the best of Catholic traditions shared well beyond the Catholic Church. His canonisation wIll be welcomed especially in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.
“For me the truly remarkable nature of this moment is that this is an English parish priest being declared a saint.
“During his life the people of Birmingham recognised his holiness and lined the streets at the time of his burial. I hope every parish priest in England will hold his head high today knowing Cardinal Newman is declared a saint”.
The former Anglican priest was one of the highest profile figures to be received into the Catholic Church in Victorian England and one of the most important religious figures of his generation.
His hymns, poetry and theological writings form an important body of Christian thinking which continues to inspire the Church and have garnered international attention.
His reflections on the development of doctrine provided some of the theological architecture for the the Second Vatican Council while his autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, is a powerful exposition of his journey from Evangelical Christianity to Catholicism.
Newman’s road to sainthood started in 1991 when John Paul II declared him venerable and, then, around a decade later a deacon in Boston in the United States, Jack Sullivan, attributed the English cardinal’s intercession to a debilitating spinal problem.
That healing was investigated and confirmed as a miracle by the Vatican with Benedict XVI then beatifying Newman on 19 September 2010, in Cofton Park, Birmingham.
Newman was born in 1801 and after his conversion established the Oratory community in Birmingham in 1848. He was named a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879 and died in 1890.