Skip to comments.Catholic saint named among top 10 'worst Britons' by BBC magazine
Posted on 01/02/2006 12:46:30 AM PST by presidio9Edited on 01/02/2006 12:58:14 AM PST by Sidebar Moderator. [history]
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A Catholic saint and martyr has been nominated as one of the nastiest villains in British history.
St. Thomas Becket, a 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury, was among 10 "worst Britons" of the last millennium, selected by a group of British historians. The saint, whose feast is celebrated Dec. 29, was chosen by John Hudson, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, because he divided England in a way that was "unnecessary and self-indulgent."
"He was a founder of gesture politics with the most acute of eyes for what would now be called the photo opportunity," said Hudson, a specialist in early medieval English and French history.
"He was also greedy," he said in BBC History magazine Dec. 27. "Those who share my prejudice against Becket may consider his assassination in Canterbury Cathedral Dec. 29, 1170, a fittingly grisly end."
BBC History magazine compiled the list after asking 10 historians to name their pick for "worst Briton."
St. Thomas was hacked to death by four knights who allegedly heard King Henry II of England ask, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"
His death ended a protracted dispute with the monarchy over the limits of civil law in the life of the church. The king, for example, wanted to stop bishops from leaving England without his permission, to stop them from appealing to Rome without his consent and to punish criminal clerics under the civil law even if they had been dealt with by church courts. St. Thomas spent six years in exile but was murdered within a month of returning to England. He was canonized two years later.
Father Nicholas Schofield, the archivist of the Archdiocese of Westminster and a history graduate from Oxford University, said he was surprised that St. Thomas was included on the list.
"It's always misrepresentative to see history simply in terms of goodies and baddies," he told Catholic News Service Dec. 29. "Like all of us, Thomas Becket had his weaknesses. He could be proud and bad-tempered and, especially in his early years, he lived a life of great luxury.
"But on becoming archbishop of Canterbury he changed his way of life, showed exemplary piety and gave his life for the defense and liberty of the church. Because of this he became the patron of English clergy," the priest said. "In an age of such bloodshed and low esteem for human life, I would have thought there were many more convincing candidates for Britain's worst 12th-century villain."
David Musgrove, editor of the magazine, told BBC News Dec. 27 that deciding on the worst Britons was "not an easy choice."
"We left the criteria up to the 10 historians we spoke to, and it's their definitions of wickedness that give us such a diverse selection of figures on our list of evilness," he said.
The list of villains, which is made up of one from each century, included another Catholic archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Thomas Arundel, who in the 15th century persecuted Catholic heretics.
It also included Titus Oates, a former Anglican minister who made up a story about a Jesuit-led plot to kill King Charles II, which, from 1678 to 1680, led to the deaths of 26 innocent Catholics.
Oates was nominated by John Adamson, a fellow of Peterhouse College, Cambridge University, because he "was in a league of his own, in the depths of his vileness and the scale of his evil."
The list also included Richard Rich, an ambitious lawyer who in the 16th century gave evidence against St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, which led to their convictions and executions for treason.
It includes Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who preyed on prostitutes in London; King John, who is remembered from the 13th century as " clearly one of the worst kings in English history"; and the Duke of Cumberland, the younger brother of King George II who became known as "the Butcher" after putting down the Catholic Jacobite rebellion of in the 18th century with the massacre at Culloden Moor, Scotland.
Oswald Mosley was named the worst Briton of the 20th century. He was the founder of the British Union of Fascists. Eadric Streona, who betrayed King Aethelred to the Danes, was named as the worst Briton of the 11th century.
The worst of the 14th century was named as Hugh Despenser, who grew rich by grabbing land in South Wales and ruthlessly slaughtering his enemies.
Did George Washington make the list?
That damn Thomas Becket was a principled Christian who stood up publicly, the worst possible kind of "photo op".
Oliver Cromwell isn't so hot either but he isn't even mentioned.
Oliver Cromwell was named one of the top TEN Britons. He was a murdering loon.
I have the words of Chaucer ringing in my head...
The BBC is a leftist organization. It named Oswald Mosley the worst Briton of the 20th century. Mosley was a bad guy and a friend of Mussolini, but did he have the same negative effect as, God forbid, Neville Chamberlin?
I wonder if the journalist who reported that the Qur'an was flushed down the toilet and led to more than 26 deaths will someday become one of the 10 worst Americans of all time. Besides, I can name 10 LIVING Americans who are worse than Britan's dead ones. Most of which are sitting in the U.S.Senate!
He could have been, if he had the chance.
George Galloway is my nominee for the 21st Century.
To say nothing of Benny Hill. OK, most annoying Briton of the 20th Century.
Well for a start, the BBC didn't select these people- a panel of historians did. As for Mosley- Well, he was a pretty nasty piece of work. I'm not sure even he deserves the title though as he never had that much impact on British politics once he left Labour in 1930... I can't say I find Chamberlain a credible candidate either- being out of ones depth and deluded on a single issue isn't enough in my opinion. What's needed is a figure who was persistantly wrong on a whole range of issues over a long period of time, always on hand to bugger things up at the slightest opportunity.
I'd go for somebody like Edward VIII myself- he managed to spark a consitutional crisis through being a selfish idiot, and was altogether a little too cosy for comfort with Hitler aftwerwards. Or, one of the trade union leaders of the 70's- Jakc Jones, "Red Robbo" or similar. The amount of damage any of those three did to Britain was far greater then Mosley, who although a bete noire was never a threat.
As a side note, it's nice to see Dr Adamson in there- he's a tutor of mine and bloody good on early modern history.
This always cracks me up. A saint cannot be a catholic, they must be a Christian only. And you can't make someone a saint, they have to live their life obedient to the Gospel of Christ.
not that I know of.
I'm sure this is a scandal. Becket stood up for the church not answering criminally for it's wrongdoings and this is a good thing? Presumably? (gee, where did pedophiles get the idea they might be sheltered...) The Britons made a decision on what they determined was Catholic Meddling and threw Rome out of the British Isles. I'm sure that's the generic version of it; but, it was their right to do so. Apparently, some people are still upset about it and trying to manufacture offense over it even now. To be sure, killing Becket was probably bad. On the other hand, we weren't there. And people often tend to "obscure" the facts for argument's sake. Was Mary, Queen of Scotts, ever canonized?
How very Protestant.
I'm a saint, And I get called a religious bigot all the time. Does that count? ROFL
Wow, no Guy Fawkes? How did he not make the list?
Washington was born in Virginia.
He was British until he decided not to be.
This is list is ridiculous. The whole process of making such lists is silly. It must have been a slow news day at the BBC.
What about Harris, the mad bomber of World War II?
What about Edward Longshanks?
What about any number of the Plantagenets (many of them my ancestors!)?
The other side of the coin is that the whole process of picking saints is silly. Let God judge, and let not men try to second guess, or usurp Him. Anyway, the faithful should not be praying for intercession to dead people.
<< Mosley was a bad guy and a friend of Mussolini, but did he have the same negative effect as, God forbid, Neville Chamberlin? >>
Mosley was far from the worst 20th Century Briton but Arthur Neville Chamberlain was not at all a bad man.
Rather, Mr Chamberlain's sin was that he so faithfully represented his electorate.
The electorate, that is, comprised as it was then and is now of the morbidly-in-denial heads-up-the-bum morons and of effeminate, emasculated and homosexualized milksop appeasers. And their riding-crop cracking, be-jodhpured mothers.
Interesting post, thanks. Aethelred the Unready was one of the all-time worst, in my opinion. A great appeaser, far ahead of his time.
>>A saint cannot be a catholic, they must be a Christian only.<<
>>A saint cannot be a catholic, they must be a Christian only.<<
>>A saint cannot be a catholic, they must be a Christian only.<<
LOL! Here's one!
<< I'd go for somebody like Edward VIII myself- he managed to spark a consitutional crisis through being a selfish idiot, and was altogether a little too cosy for comfort with Hitler aftwerwards. Or, one of the trade union leaders of the 70's- Jakc Jones, "Red Robbo" or similar. The amount of damage any of those three did to Britain was far greater then Mosley, who although a bete noire was never a threat. >>
Clement Atlee would be a good pick, too and a geurnsey goes to Snatcher 'Hong Kong' Snatcher, whose son and members of whose cabinet profited obscenely from her craven surrender into serfdom and slavery of Once-FRee-British Hong Kong's seven and a half million Once FRee British Hong Kong Citizens and their Trillions of Dollars of wealth ranks up there with Churchill's Gallipoli campaign and surrender of Singapore and Churchill's and Roosevelt's 1945 surrender of all of Eastern Europe's subsequent slaves to the gulags and to Stalin's Soviets' surrogate slaughterers.
But Mosley was more an eccentric dickhead than ever a threat and if the only measure of a society was its treatment of its eccentrics, Britain, rather than having degenerated into a squalidly-fascissocialistic offshore satellite state of the other Europeons' neo-Soviet, would have ever been up there with the best of nations.
Oh goody. The daily Catholic bashing thread.
This list doesn't include Cromwell and Henry VIII, two of British history's great murderers?? I wouldn't pay much heed to it.
<< >> A saint cannot be a Catholic, they [sic] must be a Christian only. <<
LOL! Here's one! >>
Had the poster of that piece of bigoted piffle been either a Catholic or a Christian she'd quite likely, during her formative years, have been exposed to a Good Catholic or similar education and thus to grammar and punctuation and syntax.
This is what I was told when I tried to point Catholic Bashing out....
"Last time I checked, this was a public forum and a primarliy secular forum. If you post anything here regarding your church practices or doctrine you should be prepared to defend it. All solitas did was to question whether or not he might state that the whole idea of a confessional was not necessarily scriptural without being flamed and the next thing you know he was accused of hijacking the thread. (which of course means, NO!)
If you want to post your threads so that they are not open to discussion by anyone other than catholics, I'd suggest you take these threads over to some exclusive Catholic blog or discussion board.
As far as I am concerned, if you don't like the fact that these threads are open to people of all faiths, including those who disagree with your doctrine and practices, then maybe you should find another discussion forum. A private, members-only Catholic forum. I'm sure there's plenty of those out there."
SO, this means that no matter what we post, Being rude and questioning Dogma is fair game. Not like anyone would question the Dogma on the Jewish threads but..........
If that's a joke, I don't get it.
Longshanks was one of the strongest kings England ever had and a very good one from English perspective.
A "Saint," is someone officially recognized as definitely (probably ... in all likelihood, etc.)having gone to Heaven. That's all. The rest is theater.
On a strictly theoretical, theological level, this "official recognition," is non-denominational. However, the Pope traditionally makes the most of the opportunity to certify dead folks as "Saints."
The Bishop of Rome and his organization may be the best at the "Saint" process, but they certainly are not alone. If one should survive drinking strychnine or snakebite at a service in West Virginia, or be from Salt Lake City, the Pope might not be unduly impressed, but other saint-sanctioning bodies will take up the slack.
No, that would be the guy who plays Mr. Bean. This is why mimes are only popular in France.
A mullah cannot be a sunni, they must be a Muslim only.
Thanks for the ping! A saint is a bad guy? Cromwell must be a good guy....
Now how can these sherry-sucking dons so blithely skip over Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, Blunt and the others in the Oxbridge Pansy Commie Ring, who wanted to blow Blighty off the face of the Earth?
It doesn't look like there's much more to it than that, though the historian in question may have a sharp secular axe to grind against a British saint. I don't know enough about Becket and medieval Britain to have an opinion, but it does looke like a low blow to someone who stood against a centralized authority.
Mosely was an easy, too obvious choice, but a good case could certainly be made for him as worst 20th century Briton. He wasn't much compared to 20th century villains in other countries, but maybe that's only because Hitler didn't take over Britain. If events had been a little different Oswald Mosely could have been Britain's Quisling or Petain.
In terms of actual effect on the country there could well have been worse Britons than Mosely in those days. Was he really worse than a Philby or Blunt, for example? But as the leader of a movement, Mosely gets more blame than a run-of-the-mill political agitator or follower of Hitler or Stalin or spy. Given their talents, advantages and position more was expected of Mosely, or Edward VIII, than of less exalted figures, just as more was expected of Blunt or Maclean than of a streetcorner agitator. It's harder to excuse the rot at the top of society than at the middle or bottom, at least until things get out of hand down there.
The BBC "survey" is a pretty silly enterprise though. If Cumberland, the ravager of Scotland, was the worst Briton of the 18th century, why not name another imperialist for one of the other centuries? Why settle for Jack the Ripper, an easy -- though understandable -- choice? Why not Cromwell or the Rhodes, those who dithered while Ireland starved or conquered China for the opium trade?
Actually, Philby or somebody isn't a bad contender now I come to think of it- would be better the Mosley anyway.
(FWIW BTW, port rather then sherry is the tipple of choice in these situations...)
It's always nice to see your temperate and original contributions- when I read the section about the 'squalidly-fascissocialistic offshore satellite state' (do you have that phrase permenently on your clipboard ready for pasting by the way?) I find that it helps to imagine that you suffer from a lisp. Hours of fun, you must try it!
Now I'm confused... Why are so many books of the Bible written to people in Heaven? That's just weird.
Happy New Year!