Posted by: fvbcdm | June 22, 2017

Feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More (22 June 2017)

Today we commemorate two of the English martyrs of the 16th century who gave their lives rather than capitulate to the demands of King Henry VIII who set himself up as the head of the Church in his realm rather than recognize the divinely given authority of the Pope in spiritual matters throughout the universal church.

Today we celebrate Saint John Fisher, a bishop whom the Pope made a Cardinal while in prison awaiting his own martyrdom, and Saint Thomas More who is well known to many as “A Man for All Seasons,” the title of a play and a movie made about his life within our own times. He was once a close friend of the king who made him the Lord Chancellor of England—the highest legal position in the kingdom at that time. But Saint Thomas More was always, as he himself said, “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” And that fidelity to God cost him his life, and gave to us one of our most prominent and well-known martyrs. And as the Church father Tertullian many centuries before that remarked, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.”

Those of us who are familiar with the story of Saint Thomas More find in him a very appropriate patron saint for the efforts of the Anglican and Catholic Churches to achieve reunion after the nearly five centuries of separation set into motion by the selfish king. And now, in addition to the tragic split between the Church of Rome and the Anglican Church, we find within the Anglican church further fragmentation because of that church’s ordination of women to its priesthood and episcopacy (the state of being a bishop) and of at least one openly homosexual man.

Let us pray today for our Christian brothers and sisters of the Anglican communion, which includes the Episcopal Church in this country, that they and we will achieve reunion through the fertile seed of the blood of these two English martyrs and the many others who also gave their lives back in the days of the Tudor and Stuart rulers. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

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