On September 19, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI, a long time admirer of Newman, proclaimed him as one of the blessed in Heaven during a visit to England. Some of the steps leading to the beatification are mentioned below.
On January 22, 1991, Pope John Paul II declared that John Henry Newman had lived all of the Christian virtues in a heroic degree and was thus henceforth to be called by the title “Venerable”.
In 2001, John Sullivan, a 62-year-old Boston man, who had asked Venerable Newman for his intercession, was miraculously cured from lumbar disc disease that had produced severe pain and incapacity to walk. A study by physicians concluded that there was no medical explanation for the man’s instantaneous cure, and in 2009, the Holy See approved the cure as a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Newman.
This miraculous cure opened the way for the Roman Catholic Church’s formal recognition of Newman’s sanctity. Like Pope Leo XIII’s elevation of Newman to the dignity of Cardinal, this event has filled the English people with pride and joy. We expect that it will foster great interest in Newman’s life and works and hope that it will usher a new spring in the re-evangelization of the English-speaking world, and in particular of Great Britain.
On January 22, 2001, drawing close to the bicentenary of Newman’s birth, Pope John Paul II wrote to the Archbishop of Birmingham:
“Newman was born in troubled times which knew not only political and military upheaval but also turbulence of soul. Old certitudes were shaken, and believers were faced with the threat of rationalism on the one hand and fideism on the other. Rationalism brought with it a rejection of both authority and transcendence, while fideism turned from the challenges of history and the tasks of this world to a distorted dependence upon authority and the supernatural. In such a world, Newman came eventually to a remarkable synthesis of faith and reason which were for him “like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth” (Fides et ratio, Introduction; cf. ibid., n. 74).
It was the passionate contemplation of truth which also led him to a liberating acceptance of the authority which has its roots in Christ, and to the sense of the supernatural which opens the human mind and heart to the full range of possibilities revealed in Christ. “Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom, lead Thou me on”, Newman wrote in The Pillar of the Cloud; and for him Christ was the light at the heart of every kind of darkness. For his tomb he chose the inscription: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem; and it was clear at the end of his life’s journey that Christ was the truth he had found.”