The exhumation of Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman has been requested by the Vatican to make veneration easier for his devotees. The prominent nineteenth-century convert from the Church of England is being considered for beatification, the last step before he is declared a saint.
Cardinal Newman’s body was buried in a small cemetery at Rednal in 1890. According to the Telegraph, the Vatican wants his remains to be moved to a marble sarcophagus in the Birmingham Oratory.
Father Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, explained the reason for the request: "One of the centuries-old procedures surrounding the creating of new saints by the Catholic Church concerns their earthly remains.
"These have to be identified, preserved and, if necessary, placed in a new setting which befits the individual's new status in the Church.
"We hope that Cardinal Newman's new resting place in the Oratory Church in Birmingham will enable more people to come and pay their respects to him, and perhaps light a candle there.
"Many will surely wish to honor this great and holy man."
The exhumation and re-interment of Newman’s remains Birmingham City Council and the Ministry of Justice, which was accused of “procrastinating” but is expected to approve the action soon.
Newman, who became an Oratorian priest after his conversion, was involved in founding the Birmingham Oratory. At his funeral more than 15,000 people lined the route to his burial place located beside other deceased members of his community.