Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22nd: Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More

There are times when I can't decide what is more disconcerting: that every man has his price, or that the price is always so low.  Today is the feast of two men -- one a bishop, one a married layman -- who could not be bought at any price.  They lost their heads for it.

Thomas More died because he would not deny the primacy of Peter.  It's important to remember how difficult that must have been in a world where so many churchmen were ready to enter into schism with Henry VIII.  St. Thomas More was neither stupid nor ignorant -- indeed, he was one of the most brilliant men who ever lived -- but the thought of so many in the Church ranged against him must have been frightening.  Was there a chance he was wrong to give up everything and bring poverty on his family?  What if they were right and he was wrong?  If he went willingly to his death for a bad cause, how would he stand in the Supreme Tribunal?

Imagine how daunting the circumstances had to be for St. John Fisher.  If we today are plagued by many bishops who are weak at best and heretical at worst, our age is not unique.  Are we worse off than England during the time of Henry VIII's rebellion?  Only one bishop in England remained true, and that was John Fisher.  Only one cardinal has ever suffered martyrdom, though cardinals wear scarlet precisely as a sign of their willingness to die for Christ: that was John Fisher.

Here is a pair of saints for our time, when the world's hostility toward the Church is again approaching a rolling boil, and we need both wisdom and courage to persevere.  


  1. Excellent reminder! Thank you, Anita!
    By the way, isn't St. Thomas the patron of lawyers?
    You know the old joke about how Satan moved the boundary of Hell closer to Heaven, and God said, "Stop that or I'll sue you," and Satan said, "Hah! Where are you going to find a lawyer?"
    There was also a 13th-century Breton, Erwan Heloury (aka St. Yves), who became a lawyer and was regarded as a saint because he dispensed justice! He later gave up law and became a priest, then bishop, I think.
    So there are two canonized lawyers in Heaven!

  2. Two of my favorites and my son's second name is Thomas More. I wonder how many people would stand up for the authority of the Pope to the point of death now? Certainly, not many in England, I am afraid.