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Priest is a step closer to being made saint.

A second so-called miracle cure by a Catholic priest has been reported in the United States, strengthening the cause for him to be made a saint.

Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory in 1848, has long been championed as a future saint.

A case for his beatification, the stage before sainthood, needs a miracle by the cardinal to be complete and claims of one that took place in Boston are being looked into.

However, a new one had emerged involving a 16-year-old boy's emergence from a coma and is also being investigated.

The oratory's current provost, Father Paul Chavasse, explained the claims of a second miracle.

He said: "After prayers and the application of a relic of Newman's he emerged to the astonishment of his family and the doctors from the coma."

The first reported miracle came from a canon in Boston who said his spinal problems had been cured after praying to Cardinal Newman.

Investigations in America are due to end later this year, when the evidence will go to Rome for the meticulous scrutiny of Pope Benedict.

Peter Jennings, from the oratory, said: "He's a great lover of Newman and uses Newman and quotes Newman frequently in his writings and speeches and now as he has become pope we very much hope he'll be the pope that will beatify, then eventually canonise John Henry Newman."

The two claims follow 50 years of work to introduce Cardinal Newman's cause for canonisation - a process which includes collating more than 20,000 of his letters and evidence from personal witnesses of his suitability to become a saint.

No English person who has lived since the 16th century, when many Catholics were killed during the Reformation, has been canonised.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 17, 2006
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