By Mel Mantanona
Imagine being born into a lineage, but that same lineage also being one that awakens one’s demise. Born in London on Feb. 7, 1478 was Thomas More, the future martyr who refused to turn his back on Christ. He was born into a family of lawyers and devoted a lot of time towards his studies, benefitting from the best schooling of his time. He studied Latin, Greek, and eventually law. When he began practicing, he felt a calling towards a contemplative order called the Carthusians. He didn’t pursue a life in the order but remembered fondly those who helped shaped his faith. He was widowed early in his first marriage and later remarried, with four children.
Thomas obtained many high positions in Parliament. He was known for being honest, effective, and unrelenting in his devotion for the Catholic Church. He was famous for his close friendship with King Henry VIII.
Then came the time when Henry wanted to annul his wife Catherine. Thomas refused to sign Henry’s annulment petition to the Pope. Henry, having no reasonable grounds for an annulment, was denied, and in turn, the king broke away from the Catholic Church and formed another.
Thomas quickly resigned from his position as Lord Chancellor once Henry’s schism went into place and refused to acknowledge Henry as head of the church. In retaliation, Henry piled charges against Thomas and had him arrested and imprisoned. Despite a good defense of himself, Thomas was convicted and sentenced to hang in 15 minutes from a bias jury. The king, in what he considered to be mercy in remembrance of their once friendship, allowed Thomas to be decapitated instead of hanging.
Thomas died in 1535 and his feast day is June 22. He is the patron saint of adopted children lawyers, civil servants, politicians, and difficult marriages.
Let us pray through the intercession of St. Thomas More for the courageous fearlessness to defend our true faith.
Information and photo from Catholic.org and Catholic Insight