During their annual plenary meeting, the US Bishops voted overwhelmingly to support the UK Bishops’ proposal to name St. John Henry Newman a doctor of the Church.
A total of 240 bishops voted in favor of the proposal, with only two bishops voting against it.
According to CatholicVote, “The bishops conference of England and Wales initially proposed the idea and the bishops of Ireland and Scotland have agreed to support it. Upon the request of the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the U.S. bishops will send a letter to the Holy Father supporting England and Wales’ proposal that Pope Francis make Newman a doctor of the Church.”
Beginning in the 13th century, various popes have given several holy men and women the official title of doctor, which stems from the Latin root word docere meaning “to teach.”
To be considered a doctor, a saint needs to qualify according to certain criteria. The Catholic Encyclopedia names these as, “eminent learning, a high degree of sanctity, and proclamation by the Church.” The process of proclamation is first issued through a decree by the Congregation of Sacred Rites, which is then approved by the pope.
Bishop Robert Barron spoke in favor of the proposal, saying, “I think it might help to heal some of the divisions in our Church.”
St. John Henry Newman has been praised by a variety of members in the Church, especially for his sermons and his vast number of theological writings.