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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 16:59 GMT
Row over 'saint grave' security
The fence by the grave
A public inquiry will now be held over the fence
Council chiefs and church leaders are locked in an argument over a fence to protect the grave of a Catholic priest who could be made a saint.

Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory in 1848, is buried in Rednal, on the city's outskirts.

Vandalism at the grave led the church to erect a security fence. However, Birmingham City Council turned down a retrospective plannning application.

The High Court has now said that was wrong and it must be debated again.

Claims of two miracles by Cardinal Newman are being investigated by the Vatican.

'Out of keeping'

In two cases in the United States people claimed to have been cured after praying to the priest, who is buried in the grounds of Oratory House.

If the cases are verified, the cardinal could be beatified, the stage before sainthood.

The city council had originally said the fence was out of keeping with the character of its surroundings.

Cardinal Newman's grave
No English person has has been canonised for 400 years

Father Guy Nicholls, of Birmingham Oratory, said there had been confusion over what was wrong with the 2.4m (7.9ft) fence.

He said: "First of all it was the height of it they did not like.

"Then it was the form of it, they did not like the colour. There was not one reason that they could give us at any one time that was consistent."

Birmingham City Council confirmed another public inquiry would have to be held, although no date has been set.

No English person who has lived since the 16th Century, when many Catholics were killed during the Reformation, has been canonised.

Cardinal Newman could become Britain's first saint for 40 years

New sainthood case strengthened
14 Apr 06 |  West Midlands
'Miracle' hope for new sainthood
19 Oct 05 |  West Midlands

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