Skip to comments.Fortnight For Freedom: More and Fisher, Martyrs For the Catholic Church and Freedom
Posted on 06/23/2014 4:06:07 AM PDT by NKP_Vet
Forasmuch, my lord, as this indictment is grounded upon an act of Parliament directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy church, the supreme government of which, or of any part thereof, may no temporal prince presume by any law to take upon him, as rightfully belonging to the See of Rome, a spiritual preeminence by the mouth of our Savior himself, personally present upon the earth, to Saint Peter and his successors, bishops of the same see, by special prerogative granted; it is therefore in law amongst Christian men, insufficient to charge any Christian man .
Saint Thomas More, 1535
It is glorious that two men who were friends in life, who died within weeks of each other, executed by the State for upholding the freedom of the Catholic Church, share the feast day of June 22. More and Fisher were martyrs for the freedom of the Catholic Church and also for the great truth that there are aspects of our lives that Caesar must no be allowed to control. Saint Thomas More was considered an unworldly fool by many of the Machiavellian operators in the England of his time. They were right to a large extent. With ruthlessness and supple consciences they prevailed and Saint Thomas died a traitors death. And yet, almost five centuries later, the memory and example of Saint Thomas is honored the world over, and his foes are largely forgotten except by history nerds like me. Their creation, the Anglican Church, is on its way to the dustbin of history while the Catholic faith for which Saint Thomas went to the axe waxes ever greater on the global stage. Saint Thomas was superbly eloquent in life, and he has proven even more eloquent in death.
John Cardinal Fisher was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III in May of 1535, King Henry stopped the cardinals hat from being brought into England, bellowing that he would send Fishers head to the Pope. Tried by a kangaroo court and convicted, the only testimony brought against him was by Richard Rich, a specialist in lying men to the headmans block. Fisher was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.
A public outcry was brewing among the London populace saw a parallel between the judicial murder of Fisher and that of his namesake, Saint John the Baptist, who was executed by King Herod Antipas for challenging the validity of Herods marriage to his brothers wife, Herodias. For fear of the mob King Henry commuted the sentence to that of beheading, to be accomplished before 23 June, the Vigil of the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. Fishers martyrdom on Tower Hill on 22 June 1535, had the opposite effect from that which King Henry VIII intended as it created yet another parallel with St John the Baptist who was also beheaded; his death also happened on the feast day of Saint Alban, the first martyr of Britain.
Fisher met death with a courage which impressed those present. Go here to view a superb recreation from the Tudor series. His body, on Henrys orders, was stripped and left on the scaffold until the evening, when it was taken on pikes and thrown naked into a rough grave in the churchyard of All Hallows Barking. Two later, his body was laid, fittingly, beside that of Sir Thomas More in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London. Fishers head was stuck upon a pole on London Bridge, but its lifelike appearance excited so much notice that, after a fortnight, it was thrown into the Thames, its place being taken by that of Sir Thomas More, whose martyrdom, also at Tower Hill, occurred on 6 July.
Tyrants can create Catholic martyrs, Caesar always being the master of imposing death, but it is beyond the power of the State to suppress truth, or liberty, forever.
June 22, Feast Day of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher
Date of Thomas More’s beheading was July 6, 1535.
The movie “A Man for All Seasons” inspired the young during a time of Vatican II upheavals when many needed an example of resistance to evil trends in church hierarchy.
A must-see drama!