UPDATE: He’s not being beatified yet; the miracle’s been okayed but they’re still working through the rest. Fiddlesticks.
There’s not often any new news about the authors I read for you. But the author of An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, John Henry Newman (later Cardinal Newman and Ven. Newman) will soon be beatified. He will thus become known as the Blessed John Henry Newman!
For those of you not up on his cause, there’s always been a lot of devotion to Newman and a general sense that yeah, he’s a saint standing up there before the Throne. But the Vatican procedure for discerning whether God has so favored a person, includes reading all his writings and checking for unrenounced theological errors. Newman was hugely prolific, so that was bound to take a while.
But the other big obstacle was a mysterious lack of miracles obtained through Newman’s intercession. There were three theories about this.
A) People just don’t think of Newman’s in connection with healing, which is the usual sort of miracle used to objectively verify God’s favor being with a saint. It’s hard to prove that Newman’s prayers helped you pass a test, and “moral miracles” of conversion of heart and mind don’t count for sainthood cause purposes.
B) English people don’t do much asking for prospective saints’ prayers, and England was where devotion to Newman was centered. Stiff upper lips aren’t good for causes, in this view.
C) God has been withholding miracles for a later date, when devotion to St. John Newman would be more useful to His purposes.
Theory C seems to be the correct one, as two potential medical miracles have emerged in the last few years. However, Theory B may have not been entirely wrong, as the beatification miracle (inexplicable cure of a spinal cord injury) came from Boston, and the other potential miracle allegedly comes from America, too. But the English are still working on his cause!
And yes, I know that not everybody who reads this site will cotton to this stuff. Not everybody here is Catholic or even Christian, but I’m both and so was Newman; so you’ll just have to put up with us.