It has, however, been decided that this will not now take place, though many—including some senior clergy—wanted it, feeling that even a mere cenotaph would be a fitting place to honour Newman. The Oratory has, in my opinion, made the right decision. An empty sarcophagus would always be a focus for bathos, for some cheap giggles, and it will be the fact principally remembered about Newman's burial for years to come. Tours seeing the splendid marble sarcophagus would be told 'well, of course, it isn't actually his body; just some tassels and a bit of hair'. Much better that he rests at Rednal as he wished. The Oratory Church can stand as his memorial; it was, after all, built for that purpose.
One suggestion is that there will be a new, small, reliquary placed in St Philip's Chapel, which adjoins the Oratory church. Here the plate, the tassels and the hair, and maybe some other bits and pieces would be able to be seen, and perhaps honoured, for simply what they are. One father has commented that this would be 'more in keeping with the Cardinal's own humility and Oratorian sense of amare nesciri' [love to be unknown]. The sarcophagus would then be otherwise disposed of suitably (anyone need a sarcophagus?): perhaps it will be placed in the Visitors' Centre.
The other news is that the commission in Rome have, it seems, decided not to approve the hoped-for miraculous cure of that deacon in the US—or, at least, have decided that it is not sufficiently beyond question that this cure was due to the intercession of Newman. I don't know the details. This is a sad setback for Newman lovers, and no doubt for Fr Chavasse and the fathers at Birmingham. St Philip Neri, however, would have approved. He said that he wanted all his sons to be saints, but none of them raised to the altars, presumably lest they be tempted to pride. And maybe we should simply do some concentrating on seeing Newman as a hugely influential scholar and stop trying to squeeze him into a plaster statue, which, in some aspects might be a tight fit. Forgive the metaphor. But it takes me to another point.
I have long wished that the Fathers at Birmingham would build a really good Newman study centre, perhaps on the site of the former St Philip's College. There they could locate all the Newman items that at present clog rooms and corridors all over the Oratory house. They might even consider installing Newman's own library there, and move his entire room, rebuilding it exactly as it is (this has been done in other cases) inside another building, so that people could see through the windows and doorway into the room without actually entering (because this is deleterious to the contents) or, more to the point, without having to go through the Oratory House. There could be a couple of rooms with self-catering facilities for visiting scholars, and perhaps even a little flat for a librarian. I had once thought that perhaps they might construct a purpose-built Little Oratory there too, and even bury Newman inside it. This last is, of course, now impractical.
(I do not, of course, presume to tell the fathers what to do with their own place: it's only an idea.)