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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pope OKs miracle to beatify UK Cardinal Newman

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinal John Henry Newman, an influential 19th-century Anglican theologian who converted to Roman Catholicism, moved a step closer to possible sainthood Friday after the pope approved a miracle attributed to his intercession.

Pope Benedict XVI ruled that the recovery of a Boston-area resident who for years suffered from a spinal disorder was miraculous, meaning Newman can now be beatified. A second miracle is necessary for him to be declared a saint — an event which, if it happens, would make Newman the first English-born saint since the Reformation.

Newman, a hero to many Anglicans and Catholics alike, was one of the founders of the so-called Oxford Movement of the 1830s, which sought to revive certain Roman Catholic doctrines in the Church of England by looking back to the traditions of the earliest Christian church. Anglicans split from Rome in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment.

"He was extraordinarily important in helping the Anglican church in finding its identity," said Cynthia McFarland, managing editor of the Anglicans Online Web site.

In 1841, Newman published a paper demonstrating that the Thirty-Nine Articles, the doctrinal statements of the Church of England, were consistent with Catholicism. Amid outcry from Anglicans, Newman retired and in 1845 joined the Roman Catholic Church. A year later he was ordained a Catholic priest.


From 1828 to 1843, John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was vicar of St. Mary's Church in Oxford. He was not what we would call a "charismatic" preacher; he kept his eyes fixed upon his manuscript, never moving, looking at his congregation, or varying the tone or inflection of his voice.

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