Cardinal John Henry Newman, the founder of the what later became University College Dublin, will be declared a saint, the Vatican has announced.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has been authorised by Pope Francis to issue a decree attributing a second miracle to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a move which will clear the final hurdle in the quest for his canonisation.
UCD philosophy Professor Dermot Moran, who is a former Director of the International Newman Centre in Dublin, welcomed the decision, describing Newman as “one of the most important intellectuals, writers, and theologians of the 19th Century.”
The University Observer previously reported that his canonisation could take place as early as next year.
The cause for Newman’s sainthood was opened in 1958. After an examination of his life and work by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Newman was proclaimed venerable in 1991 by Pope John Paul II, a requirement for beatification. Beatification is the recognition by the Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into heaven and their capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in their name. Cardinal Newman was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Newman’s first confirmed miracle was the healing of a deacon in Boston, Massachusetts, from a disabling spinal condition.
Born in 1801, Cardinal Newman was first an Anglican priest before becoming a Catholic priest and later a cardinal, created by Pope Leo XIII. He went to Dublin to become the founding Rector of the Catholic University at 86 St Stephen’s Green in Dublin in 1854, founding the Literary & Historical Society the following year. His philosophy of education was published in a volume of lectures entitled The Idea of a University.
The Catholic University later became University College Dublin under the Universities Act 1908.
Catholic student organisations at non-Catholic universities are often named in his honour, such as the Newman societies in UCD and Oxford.
Cardinal John Henry Newman died of pneumonia on 11 August 1890 in Birmingham, after founding the Birmingham Oratory. The Oratory stated that confirmation of his “heroic sanctity will be welcomed by Catholics and Anglicans alike.”
In response to the announcement, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, a leading Catholic in the UK, said that Newman was “deeply admired”, particularly by the people of Birmingham who “lined the streets” when he died.