.- Speaking to journalists less than an hour after Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman's beatification, Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi expressed confidence in his being canonized. There is a "concrete possibility," also, that he will be made a "doctor of the Church."
The Vatican spokesman was asked if Pope Benedict had it in mind to canonize Blessed John Henry Newman considering his enthusiasm to have him beatified.
Responding frankly, he said that official procedure calls for further measures before that can happen and the Pope is "very respectful" of the rules. A papal decree verifying a second miracle has to be made for the Blessed to become a fully-fledged saint.
"But," he said, "we are confident that there will also be the canonization."
Fr. Lombardi commented that after the beatification, especially because it was presided over by the Pope himself, there will be a lot of attention and devotion to the Blessed. He thought that there would be many people who would pray for graces through Cardinal Newman's intercession and said he was "optimistic" about the process for his canonization advancing to fulfillment.
As far as the possibility Blessed Newman being declared a "doctor of the Church," he said that on the plane on the way over to the U.K. from Rome the Pope himself used that very qualification. The Pope had made the reference on the base of the weight of Newman's thought.
In this context, he said that the possibility would be "spontaneous" after his canonization. And, with the diffusion of the understanding of the importance of the Blessed and his work, Fr. Lombardi thought that there was "a concrete possibility that the Pope will proceed in this sense."