June 22, 2016

St. Thomas More

Gosh I love St. Thomas More. What a sublimely relatable saint! A married man, unlike the preponderance of canonized male saints. And I like the way More strenuously tried to save himself by supporting the King to the fullest extent possible. Here was not somebody who considered his life cheap.

From Robert Bork on how St. Thomas followed the law (Church and earthly) closely because he didn't trust himself or knowledge of morality:
“There is the thought that [More] is not sure about morality, that he may be wrong. When Roper says to him, 'The law's your god,' More replies, 'Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god…But I find Him rather too subtle…I don't know where He is nor what He wants.'”
Gosh there's some saintly honesty! That's something you don't read in most saint hagiographies.

Bork continues:
“Again [More] says: 'God made the angels to show Him splendor - as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.' Not in pride and certainty of the individual conscience, but in the tangle of his mind. It was because More recognized the fallibility of individual minds that he obeyed authority but saw no need or virtue in doing more than authority required when his mind told him what was ordered was wrong.”
Precisely. And therein lies the difference between a Martin Luther and a Thomas More: humility. Luther was sure of himself, More not. One's a saint, the other helped fracture the Church. At the very least you'd think Luther might've required of God a mystical vision in order to make so clean a break.

Thomas More was the only person not a member of the clergy who died rather than take the Henry VIII oath:
“More was caught between two authorities…[but he believed] Christ did not leave behind a book but a Church, and that Church must not be divided…At this extremity, God was no longer too subtle for him, and More obeyed God's law and went to his death.”

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