The Holy See's Congregation for Saints is considering the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman after indications he may have worked his first miracle, the Telegraph reports.
Cardinal Newman was a nineteenth-century British theologian and a high-profile convert from Anglicanism. His writings on the development of Christian doctrine are said to have influenced the Second Vatican Council.
A 69 year-old American was inexplicably cured of a crippling back condition after praying to the cardinal. Deacon Jack Sullivan from Massachusetts was "bent double" by his condition, but was able to "walk about straight" after petitioning Cardinal Newman for assistance. Officials from the Archdiocese of Boston investigated the cure and concluded it was genuine.
The Congregation for Saints must still approve the case. If the Pope then gives his assent, Cardinal Newman could be beatified by the end of next year. After beatification, Cardinal Newman will be honored with the title "Blessed."
One Vatican source said: "The approval of the miracle is expected to be the last significant hurdle. The congregation's experts are well advanced in their work, and all the signs look positive. We could even have a decision by Christmas."
Peter Jennings, the spokesman for the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory, which was founded by Newman in 1848, expressed his hopes for a beatification: "The Catholic Church has gone through a very difficult period in the last few years and this would be a tremendous morale boost."
If Cardinal Newman is beatified, he will need one more miracle to be canonized and acknowledged as a saint.