Cardinal Newman Triumphs – Nature Thwarts Vatican Plot – Corpse Disappeared

Cardinal Newman – nature thwarts Vatican plot

Catholic minister approved Pope’s request

Government collusion with attempt to violate Newman’s wishes

London – 6 October 2008

“Nature has thwarted the Vatican’s heartless plot to violate Cardinal Newman’s request to be buried with the man he loved, Father Ambrose St John,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

He was commenting on the revelation that Newman’s body has decomposed to nothing, leaving an empty grave and frustrating plans by the Catholic Church to dismember his body and display his bones as holy relics.

“The Vatican wanted to rebury the Cardinal’s remains in a marble tomb, separate from St John, to dampen speculation that he might have been gay.

“Newman’s and St John’s bodies have decomposed together, uniting them forever in the same soil. They cannot now be separated, as the Catholic Church planned. Cardinal Newman’s wishes have triumphed over the Vatican’s homophobia,” said Mr Tatchell.

Only last week, Catholic MP and Justice minister, Bridget Prentice, wrote to Mr Tatchell reiterating and justifying the government’s decision to grant an exceptional exhumation and reburial licence to the Catholic Church:

“I was aware of Cardinal Newman’s own recorded views regarding his place of burial. I took these views into consideration when deciding to grant the licence but did not consider them to be the overriding consideration in this case,” wrote Ms Prentice.

Mr Tatchell had previously queried “whether it was appropriate for a Catholic minister to make the decision to accede to the Vatican’s request for Newman’s reburial and whether the minister’s Catholic faith may have influenced her ruling in favour of the church.”

He wrote to the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw MP, urging him to rescind the license granted to the Catholic Church for the exhumation and reburial of Cardinal Newman, on the grounds that it is “certainly unethical and probably illegal.”

“It is morally wrong and arguably unlawful for the Ministry of Justice to grant a reburial license that violates Newman’s instructions to his executors,” according to Mr Tatchell.

“It is indefensible for Jack Straw and Bridget Prentice to give a non-relative third party the right to veto the Cardinal’s will and to control his remains.

“Newman insisted that he should be buried with the man he loved, Father Ambrose St John. The two men would have been separated under Vatican plans to rebury the Cardinal in Birmingham Oratory church.

“The Ministry of Justice caved in to Vatican demands and gave the Catholic Church disposal rights over Newman’s body.

“It planned to move his remains to a church tomb, and to break up his body and distribute his bones as holy relics.

“The government’s collusion with these macabre plans is quite shameful.

“The Vatican’s bid to rebury Cardinal Newman comes ahead of him being made a saint. The Catholic hierarchy was embarrassed by Newman’s love for Father St John and the fact that they were buried together in a shared grave. It wanted to rebury Newman separately, in the hope of squashing suggestions that the Cardinal might have been gay,” said Mr Tatchell.

In his letter to Jack Straw, Mr Tatchell wrote:

“Could you please explain the Ministry of Justice’s justification for making a decision that goes against Cardinal Newman’s clear, unambiguous and emphatic instructions to his executors that he should be buried with Father Ambrose St John?

“Did the Ministry of Justice have full information about all Cardinal Newman’s repeated instructions to his executors when it made the decision to grant a licence for his exhumation and reburial?

“Could you please explain the Ministry of Justice’s legal and moral authority for granting a reburial license to a non-relative and non-descendant third party that is intent on violating Cardinal Newman’s explicit and repeated requests concerning his burial?

“I would respectfully request that in light of the overwhelming evidence that Cardinal Newman wished to be buried with Ambrose St John that you either revoke the licence in its entirety or amend it to stipulate that the Cardinal’s remains can only be exhumed and reburied on condition that Ambrose St John is also moved and reburied with him.

“I urge you to ensure that Cardinal Newman’s wishes are adhered to and respected.” concluded Mr Tatchell’s letter to the Justice Secretary.

For additional background about Cardinal Newman see:

Was Cardinal Newman gay?
http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/wascardinalnewmangay.htm

Violating Cardinal Newman’s wishes
http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/cardinalnewmanslove.htm

Cardinal’s body to be dismembered
http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/cardinalnewmanscorpse.htm

Further information:

Copy of Peter Tatchell’s letter to Justice Secretary, Jacks Straw MP:

Dear Jack Straw

The exhumation and reburial of Cardinal Newman

I understand that in July the Ministry of Justice gave the Catholic Church a license permitting it to exhume and rebury Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Did you personally agree and approve this license? If not, which Minister did?

Could you please explain the Ministry of Justice’s justification for making a decision that goes against Cardinal Newman’s clear, unambiguous and emphatic instructions to his executors that he should be buried with Father Ambrose St John?

These instructions – and their sources – are set out in my attached Guardian article.

Did the Ministry of Justice have full information about all Cardinal Newman’s repeated instructions to his executors when it made the decision to grant a licence for his exhumation and reburial?

Could you please explain the Ministry of Justice’s legal and moral authority for granting a reburial license to a non-relative and non-descendant third party that is intent on violating Cardinal Newman’s explicit and repeated requests concerning his burial?

I would respectfully request that in light of the overwhelming evidence that Cardinal Newman wished to be buried with Ambrose St John that you either revoke the licence in its entirety or amend it to stipulate that the Cardinal’s remains can only be exhumed and reburied on condition that Ambrose St John is also moved and reburied with him.

Moreover, it would be entirely justified and reasonable for the Ministry of Justice to revoke or amend the license if it was not fully aware of all Cardinal Newman’s various instructions to his executors when it granted the license in July.

I urge you to ensure that Cardinal Newman’s wishes are adhered to and respected.

Since this matter is of some urgency, given the reburial plans, I look forward to your reply at your earliest convenience.

Yours with appreciation and best wishes,

Peter Tatchell
Human rights campaigner
OutRage!


  1. GeorgeNJ

    “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6)

  2. TomTallis

    DID Jack Straw ever respond to Mr Thtchell’s letter?




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