2. The BBC reported that Cardinal Newman's body was not found. That makes it sound like somebody stole it -- but a wooden coffin in damp ground is not going to impeded total decomposition. Nothing about 'scraped out what was in his coffin regardless', unless you simply mean the bits of wood & coffin plate remaining from his coffin. Source?
3. Exhumation is S.O.P. when a cause for sainthood is pending. Certain phenomena such as incorruptible corpses, odor of sanctity, inexplicable preservation of parts of the body (e.g. St. Anthony of Padua's tongue), are observed in the case of some saints.
4. Since they didn't find his body, he wasn't moved, so he got his wish after all.
5. Preservation of the relics of a saint is not idolatrous. Nobody's worshipping the saint's mortal remains! I know plenty of folks find it odd (it's more common in Latin than Northern European countries, but then again Germany has the astounding spectacle of the bejeweled skeleton of St. Munditia, Virgin Martyr, in the Peterskirche.)
I still think digging up the grave was tacky.