Wednesday, June 22, 2011

22 June - Ss Thomas More & John Fisher

The Pauline Rite and the Anglican Use today keep the feast day of the great lawyer saint Thomas More and of the martyred Bishop of Rochester, John Cardinal Fisher. Yes, you've seen the following here before. But what harm. It's a good 'un.

This from St Thomas More's "Apology" put into (relatively) modern English by E.E. Reynolds in "The Heart of Thomas More":

I will advise you therefore good readers for the true taking of the old faith and for the discerning thereof from all new, to stand to the common well known belief of the common known Catholic Church of all Christian people such faith as by yourself and your fathers and your grandfathers you have known to be believed and have over that heard by them that the contrary was in the times of their fathers and their grandfathers also taken ever more for heresy. And also ye that read but even in English books shall in many things perceive the same by stories five times as far afore that. We must also for the perceiving of the old faith from the new, stand to the writings of the old holy doctors and saints by whose expositions we see what points are expressed in the Scripture and what points the Catholic Church of Christ hath beside the Scripture received and kept by the Spirit of God and traditions of his apostles. And specially must we also stand in this matter of faith to the determinations of Christ's Catholic Church.

From his son-in-law William Roper's The Life of Syr Thomas More:

And so was he by Master Lieutenant brought out of the Tower and from thence led towards the place of execution. Where, going up the scaffold, which was so weak that it was ready to fall, he said merriliy to Master Lieutenant, "I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for my coming down let me shift for myself."
. . . .
He then earnestly entreated them to pray for the king so that God would give him good counsel, and solemnly declared that he died the king's good servant but God's first.