Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Necks Stretched Out

Today is the second anniversary of my blog. Also, and more importantly, it is the feast of Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More. Two years ago, I started off my blog with these reflections about those two men and the moral life. For the last two years those two men, especially St. Thomas, have played a heftier role in my devotional life, or at least become more important as role models. Below are some more thoughts I've thunk in the last two years.

When all the bishops of England yielded to the demand of King Henry VIII, John, the Bishop of Rochester refused. The King insisted that they break their ties with the Bishop of Rome and declare Him to be their spiritual sovereign. They soothed their consciences by convincing themselves that they weren't changing their religion, but only some political stances. The Pope, after all, was also the Prince of the Papal States and a political figure as well as religious. But St. John saw clearly that either the Church and her religion were constituted by Christ, or not. If not, then why bother with any of it? If so, then how dare one change it? And that the Pope was the leader of the Church, he could see no way around. In our own times many voices, even inside the Church, call for political compromises that offend the Law of God. Let us never yield.

St. Thomas More was executed by the King for even more diabolical reasons. The Church of England having broken from the universal Church founded by Christ, its new head proceeded to allow himself to divorce his wife and marry another (and another, and another, and another...) while she yet lived. St. Thomas didn't publicly oppose the thing. But then, he didn't have to: silence from one of the most celebrated commentators of the age was deafening. St. Thomas only seems to have wished to be allowed to resign his office (since he could not support the King's actions) and live out his days in peace and quiet. But the King wanted Thomas' blessing, because Thomas had been the senior judge of the Kingdom, and famously upright and honest. St. Thomas could not give his blessing to a sin. Badgered and beleaguered by the King, his country, and even his family, St. Thomas still refused. The whole world, except for the smothered voice of distant Rome, opposed St. Thomas. But the King's Good Servant refused to cooperate with sin regardless of how many thousands did. Let us never cooperate with evil.

For their troubles, St. John Fisher was executed today, 22 June, in 1535. St. Thomas More was executed a couple weeks later, on 6 July of the same year.

Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More, pray for us.

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