POPE John Paul II this week joined in the Newman centenary celebrations, describing the cardinal as "an ardent disciple of the truth" with a "timely message" for the world today.
In a letter addressed to Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville of Birmingham, the Pope praised Cardinal Newman's "noble life" and his copious writings which "seem to touch the minds and hearts of many people with a freshness and relevance that has scarcely faded with the passing of a century".
The Pope's address was read at a special mass marking the anniversary of Cardinal Newman's death at St Chad's cathedral, Birmingham, on Saturday. Archbishop Derek Worlock was the principal celebrant.
Six case to Denmark
THE Birmingham Six case is the greatest miscarriage of justice in British legal history, Gerard Conlon, one of the Guildford Four, told a European human rights conference in Denmark this week. Speaking on behalf of the six Irish men jailed in 1975 for the pub bombings in Birmingham Mr Conlon said that their case had become a "reproach to every country that prides itself on its concern for human rights".
Mr Conlon, freed from prison in October of last year, was part of a delegation in Denmark from the Irish-based Committee on Miscarriages of Justice associated with the Irish bishops commission for prisoners overseas and the British-based Birmingham Six Campaign, chaired by Fr Bobby Gilmore of the Irish chaplaincy scheme.
"This meeting represented a major step forward in putting the case of the Birmingham Six on the international human rights agenda", said Nuala Kelly, spokesperson for the Irish bishops' commission for prisoners overseas.