Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 10:15 UK

Pope recognises cardinal miracle

Cardinal John Henry Newman
Cardinal Newman has been beatified by Pope Benedict XVI

A miracle attributed to Cardinal John Henry Newman has been recognised by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Vatican has approved claims the cardinal's intervention cured Jack Sullivan, a US deacon, of a serious spinal disease after he prayed to him.

Cardinal Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory and was known for his work with the poor, died in 1890.

The convert from Anglicanism could be the first non-martyred English saint since the Reformation.

Born in 1801, Cardinal Newman converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845.

Sainthood campaign

He was a key figure in the Oxford Movement, which tried to move the Church of England closer to the Roman Catholic church.

There has been a growing campaign for him to be elevated to sainthood, although a second miracle attributed to him must also be recognised by the Pope in order for this to happen.

His beatification hit an obstacle when his grave in Rednal, Worcestershire, was exhumed in October at the request of the Vatican but his remains were found to be missing.

The church said his body had probably decomposed because his coffin had not been lined with lead.

Instead, a few remaining relics, including a cross which he had worn around his neck, were put on public display.

Cardinal Newman was revered during his lifetime as a priest, theologian and writer.

He was born in London in 1801 into a Church of England family and was ordained in the Anglican Church but converted to Catholicism at the age of 44.

He settled in Birmingham where he founded what became the first English Oratory and was known for his work with the poor.

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