Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22 - St Thomas More, knight & martyr, and St John Fisher, bishop & martyr

Today is the feast day of Ss Thomas More and John Fisher in the calendars of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, the Pauline Rite, and some local calendars of the old Roman Rite.

ST JOHN FISHER'S reply to Bishops Stokesley, Gardiner and Tunstal, who were sent to the Tower by Thomas Cromwell to persuade Fisher to submit to the King:

Methinks it had been rather our parts to stick together in repressing these violent and unlawful intrusions and injuries dayly offered to our common mother, the holy Church of Christ, than by any manner of persuasions to help or set forward the same.

And we ought rather to seek by all means the temporal destruction of the so ravenous wolves, that daily go about worrying and devouring everlastingly, the flock that Christ committed to our charge, and the flock that Himself died for, than to suffer them thus to range abroad.

But (alas) seeing we do it not, you see in what peril the Christian state now standeth: We are besieged on all sides, and can hardly escape the danger of our enemy. And seeing that judgment is begone at the house of God, what hope is there left (if we fall) that the rest shall stand!

The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. And therefore seeing the matter is thus begun, and so faintly resisted on our parts, I fear that we be not the men that shall see the end of the misery.

Wherefore, seeing I am an old man and look not long to live, I mind not by the help of God to trouble my conscience in pleasing the king this way whatsoever become of me, but rather here to spend out the remnant of my old days in praying to God for him.

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.