Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan was inexplicably cured from horrific spinal pain that no pain killers could help. This miracle has lead to the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman which will take place during Pope Benedict's visit to the U.K. on September 19.

The Massachusetts man, Jack Sullivan, 71, suffered from chronic pain that surpassed every drug the doctors gave him, sending shooting pain through his back that made sleep impossible.

Sullivan, who is now an aspiring Roman Catholic deacon, had hoped for a speedy recovery from painful spinal surgery to keep his ordination on track, but five days after his operation he was in agony, and the pain was so bas it left him unable to stand.

That’s when Sullivan prayed to 19 century cardinal John Henry Newman.

'Please, Cardinal Newman, help me to walk so I can go back to classes and be ordained,' Sullivan, a retired county magistrate from south of Boston, pleaded.

Instantly, Sullivan says, his body began tingling and he was filled with joy. Then he felt heat which he described as being like walking into the open door of a huge oven. Minutes later, he shouted to his nurse: 'I have no more pain!'

The pain has not returned since then. leading Pope Benedict to rule Sullivan’s recovery a miracle that resulted from Newman’s intercession with God.

The ruling also clears the way for Newman’s beatification in his native England by the pope, and Sullivan plans to attend the September 19 ceremony.

Beatification is a major step toward possible sainthood, in which the candidate is declared blessed and worthy of veneration. But the pope’s decision concerning Newman has encouraged critics to suggest Sullivan simply benefited from a successful surgery.

Neurosurgeon Michael Powell told the British press that there was nothing remarkable about Sullivan’s five-day recovery from an operation the doctor called essentially quite easy, except Sullivan's claim it was a miracle.

'I am afraid I have had a good chuckle with spine surgeons here over that one,' said Powell, of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

In response the church says skeptics are ignoring the evidence, including testimony from Sullivan’s own surgeon, Doctor Robert Banco, who said Sullivan’s instant and pain-free recovery was inexplicable and unlike anything he had seen in 15 years of practice.

But Sullivan, a former attorney who has argued before Massachusetts' highest cowrt, has no interesting in defending his claim. 'For those without faith, no explanation is possible,' he said, paraphrasing an old saying. 'For those with faith, no explanation is necessary.'