Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Man for All Seasons

First, let me give credit where credit is due. I was influenced to finally watch a Man For All Seasons, and what an experience. My mind is a jumble of thoughts which I will try to coherently put to paper now.

I have to admit that I was shy when talking about St. Thomas More. Not being Catholic for very long, I knew very little about him, and so I tried to avoid talking about him too much. I read in the book "My Life with the Saints" that A Man for All Seasons was one of the best ways to get to know St. Thomas. Then, I read the blog post listed above and it spurred me to actually go to the library and get a copy of the DVD. Also, his feast is June 22, although we were celebrating St. John the Baptist (perhaps our parishes patron, but that is a story for another time).

The first thought that crossed my mind was obviously the courage of this Saint. I sit around sometimes and think about how I have struggles with sin or with talking to members of my former Protestant denomination about my faith. When I see the type of courage he had, it shames me that I can't do better. Faced with death and uncertainty, to stand up to punishment that he knew was temporary in hopes to see God face to face, it's just so amazing. He quickly became probably the most modern Saint that I can feel close to, maybe because of his view of Protestants........which brings me to....

Ecumenicism! Obviously, this is a great idea. I totally agree with the Holy Fathers and what they have decided and how we should approach those of other religions today. However, as a convert, I also tend to be overly Catholic. I can remember being in Bible studies with our priest even before confirmation when cradle Catholics would make comments about what all we could learn from the Protestants or how they were better than us on some issues (see my post below about Protestant-style Bible Reading). I would almost get inflamed because I had been there and done that. I could see the beauty of the Catholic Church, much like St. Thomas More. During his lifetime, he illustrated that even though we can love others, there were serious heretical problems with groups like the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church. Sometimes I feel that if we get too touchy-feely with Protestants, we are ignoring our long history of martyrs who stood up for the faith and died to protect our beliefs. Maybe I'm going too far? But we have to realize his commitment to stand by the Faith in the face of such tragic consequences.

Maybe back more on topic, what a man of Faith! I felt almost idiotic, since I work in the field of public policy and have a political science background that I never knew this was the same man who wrote Utopia! We study that and it is one of my favorite political theory books. I just never put the two Thomas Mores together in my head.

Finally, I have one question. I found out that he was canonized by the Anglican Church. Why on Earth they would do this puzzles me, and Google fails to give me an answer.

Let's conclude with a prayer:

St. Thomas More,

Pray for us to have the strength and courage to defend our Faith in the face of all adversity. Amen.


Soutenus said...

What an absolutely wonderful post. Now my mind is reeling. Such food for thought (and action).
~~> I had no idea he was canonized by the Anglican Church. How extremely odd that seems!
~~> This hit a chord with me, "we are ignoring our long history of martyrs who stood up for the faith and died to protect our beliefs." Ecumenicism is not assimilation. Our parish recently started a Bible study that is Protestant based.
~~~> You have me thinking about much more -- no room in the com box.
GREAT POST and I am so glad you liked the movie!

~Joseph the Worker said...

Yes. I agree. I also admit I made the part about Ecumenicism much bolder than I normally would just for some reaction. We are obviously "in an era of Ecumenicism", which is the term I have heard. Perhaps it wasn't right for older generations who were trying to prevent the splits, but now it is because we can't stop them from leaving? That's more food for thought. There are also different levels of interaction here as well. I am sure there are examples of the more extreme assimilation type.

Camille said...

Actually Saint Thomas More was canonized byPope Pius XI in 1935.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that the Church of England added him to their calendar of saints in 1980.

The Catholic Church is the only one to formally canonize saints (the Orthodox have saints but they weren't/aren't formally canonized, but considered saints by popular tradition).

~Joseph the Worker said...

That's very interesting. I still wonder why he was added to the calendar of saints of the Anglican Church!

Stephanie said...

I totally understand what you mean about kind of cringing when people say things like "Protestants do XYZ better than Catholics" etc. I have the same reaction, lol.

As far as the is a bit odd! But I think they just like stealing things from the Catholics. ;-D

In all seriousness, perhaps they admire his willingness to stand up for what he believed, even if they don't agree with what he believed? Just a guess!

~Joseph the Worker said...

From my discussion with a Lutheran priest, he said that the early Anglican Church went back and forth between Lutheran and Catholic leanings, and they martyred lost of people on the other side when they were in power. All of these were chosen as martyrs later, so they recognize that he died for Christ. Also, he says the divorce didn't play as big a role in the actual Church as the question of whether the King or the Pope could appoint bishops.