St. Thomas More & Us

Fr. Paul Scalia writes:

history tends to repeat itself. But it does not inevitably do so. If history is repeating itself in this persecution of the Church, then we must deliberately choose to imitate — to repeat — the witness of St. Thomas More.

First, imitate his integrity and holiness of life. More chose not to speak out against the king but to retire as a private citizen. He remained silent. But his silence was deafening because he was — and was known to be — a good man, a man of integrity. His refusal to give vocal support for the king’s decision was, in effect, a condemnation. Now, we who do not have the luxury of remaining silent must nevertheless imitate his integrity and goodness. If our words do not have the witness of our lives, then they will never gain a hearing.

Second, imitate his joy. He was known for his humor and wit, even in the face of martyrdom. As he mounted the scaffold to be beheaded he asked the executioner for help up. “I won’t be needing help down,” he quipped. Perhaps that joy will not always be visible, as we do need to be firm and strong — at times even severe. But interiorly at least we should maintain the joy that comes from knowing that no suffering or persecution in this world can separate us from the love of Christ.

Finally, we should imitate what we might call his patriotism. He famously said before his death, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” So also we show ourselves to be good Americans, good stewards of the First Amendment, by living what that amendment defends — by being devout Catholics first. May our prayers and actions give effective witness to our faith and preserve the rights our nation’s founders desired to defend.

Read the whole column, which goes into the similarities between the HHS Mandate regime we are currently living in and what Thomas More contended with.

  • kris

    thanks for posting this.
    re: the linked article-
    One difference that strikes me when we make this comparison is that in the 18th century, these martyrs had to die to avoid betraying their conscience. Today we have to pay a fine. I’m not saying that makes the rule any more just, or the fine any less unfair, but the consequences are definately more in our favor this time around. I only point this out because I hear a lot of good devout Catholics protesting this law (and I’m glad to see it) but if the law is not struck down, I expect to see just as many paying the fine (or not paying it) rather than aquiessing. I expect to see individuals opting out of using those “benefits” provided. Otherwise we’re not at all like Thomas More, pretending our words will speak louder than our actions. I can’t count how many peiople have died rather than bend their faith to a tyrant’s will. If we aren’t willing to suffer some financial inconviences for the same faith, we probably shouldn’t speak of faith at all.

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