"Absurd" Attack on Newman Miracle Condemned

Article Falsely Portrays Cardinal as Liberal Dissident

Share this Entry

BIRMINGHAM, England, MAY 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Birmingham Oratory is condemning recent accusations that a miraculous healing attributed to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who will be beatified in September, was a fake.

In a press release today, the oratory stated that the accusatory article, written by John Cornwell and published two days ago by the Sunday Times, is “seriously flawed.”

The miracle that was approved last July by Benedict XVI as a step in the cause of Cardinal Newman’s canonization was the 2001 healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan of the Boston, Massachusetts, area.

Sullivan had a debilitating back injury that interrupted his diaconal studies and threatened to leave him paralyzed. After praying for the intercession of Cardinal Newman, he experienced an immediate healing from the pain, and doctors stated that there was no medical explanation.

In Sunday’s article, Cornwell attempted to demonstrate that the healing was not miraculous, but rather medically explicable due to surgical treatment that Sullivan received.

He suggested that Benedict XVI and the Congregation for Saints’ Causes “conspired to suppress the truth about Sullivan’s healing to portray it as medically inexplicable,” the oratory communique noted.

“The suggestion is absurd,” it added. “The Church’s procedures have been faithfully adhered to and everything is in the public domain.”


The communiqué asserted that Cornwell’s arguments, quoting “experts” in order to claim that “improvements in Sullivan’s underlying condition can flow from purely natural influences,” are “very misleading.”

Members of the Birmingham Oratory, which was Cardinal Newman’s community, underlined the “instantaneous, complete and lasting” cure of Sullivan after his prayer six days after his surgery.

“Nothing in the expert testimonies adduced by Cornwell show that such a recovery, in such a time period, can be attributed to surgery, or natural causes in general,” it added.

In fact, the communiqué noted that Cornwell clearly states his agenda: “discrediting Pope Benedict XVI and Papal teaching, to promote a ‘progressive’ view of Cardinal Newman as a ‘dissident,’ above all concerning individual conscience in relation to the teaching of the Catholic Church in faith and morals.”

It added, “The Pope however is the leading authentic interpreter of Newman’s teaching on conscience, which Cornwell and other ‘progressive’ Catholics misunderstand and misrepresent.”

Members of the oratory warned that this attack “is not only unfounded, but another attempt to recruit Newman to the factional cause of ‘liberal’ Catholicism.”

They affirmed, “Newman’s doctrine of conscience, in fact his lifelong contribution to Christianity as both an Anglican and a Catholic, are in opposition to the rejection of authority in faith and morals which ‘liberal’ Catholics are determined to promote.”

The oratory stated its plans to publish another article later this week in order to give more details about the “failings of Cornwell’s arguments.”

Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation