On hearing news of England’s latest saint-to-be, Bishop Mark Davis of Shrewsbury told the Register, “Amid all the confusion of the early 21st century, Cardinal Newman will be for us a calm witness and gifted teacher of the truth and continuity of Catholic teaching.”
On July 1, Pope Francis decreed that Blessed John Henry Newman would be canonized on Oct. 13 during the 2019 Special Synod of Bishops From the Pan-Amazonian Region.
Blessed John Henry Newman will become Britain’s first saint since the 1976 canonization of 17th century Scottish martyr St. John Ogilvie. In addition, Cardinal Newman is the first Englishman to be canonized since the 40 Martyrs of the Reformation were named saints by Pope St. Paul VI in 1970.
Speaking to the Register, Bishop Davies said, “It would be hard to underestimate the significance of Newman’s canonization for the Catholic Church in England. Cardinal Newman personifies ‘the Second Spring’ of the English Catholic Church in the profound spiritual and intellectual journey he made amid wintry conditions to embrace the fullness of the Catholic faith and its abundant fruits in personal holiness.”
Bishop Davies sees the canonization coming at “a providential moment for the universal Church, helping us recognize what constitutes true development of doctrine and a right understanding of conscience.”
He added, “In foreseeing the unprecedented challenge of relativism and what Newman called ‘the infidelity to come,’ he stands as a witness to the intellectual faithfulness and striving for personal holiness, which are the preconditions for the New Evangelization of Western societies.”
Path to Canonization
The cause for Newman’s sainthood was opened in 1958. He was declared “Venerable” by Pope St. John Paul II in 1991 after his life of “heroic virtue” was recognized. Pope Benedict XVI beatified Newman on his visit to England in 2010. The first miracle attributed to Newman’s intercession was the complete and inexplicable healing of Boston deacon Jack Sullivan from a disabling spinal condition. Now, the second confirmed miracle involves the healing of a pregnant woman, Melissa Villalobos. The Chicago woman prayed for Blessed John Henry’s intercession after a life-threatening diagnosis. Later, doctors were unable to explain her recovery to health.
Speaking to the Register, Father Ian Ker, Newman biographer and scholar, said that he was “delighted that the lady in Chicago watched the same EWTN program that I appeared on as Jack Sullivan [did] — at that stage she wasn’t ill, but she tells me I [Father Ker] got her interested in Newman, which led to her eventually praying to him.” He added, “Little did I think that arduous journey to Birmingham, Alabama, would have such consequences!” Father Ker went on to ask: “Is it the first TV miracle?”
Read more at National Catholic Register