View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

In his shadow - Encomium Fisher

Today is the feast of St. John Fisher. It's also the feast of St. Thomas More.

More usually gets all the press. After all, he's the colorful one. He was a good writer. Heck, the title of one of his works is now part of the language - Utopia. Erasmus praised him in a punning way in his great work, Encomium Morea (The Praise of Folly). And More was the subject of a great play and movie, A Man for All Seasons.

But then there’s St. John Fisher of Rochester. He was made a bishop at age 35, and just before his death, a cardinal. By all accounts, he was a good and reform minded bishop. He, like More, was a humanist. He wrote books and battled Lutheranism. He was chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and was a believer in education and scholarsip.

I guess I have some affection for him because I went to St. John Fisher College and I live in Rochester, NY.

A leading figure in England, Fisher, like More, got caught up in all of King Henry VIII’s lust for power (and other things). He was the only bishop to refuse to give in to all of Henry’s demands that led eventually to the break with the Catholic Church. So on June 22 he was beheaded.

I wonder what would happen is a few of our bishops were more forceful in opposing some of the things our political leaders are doing (sometimes in the name of “faith”)?


Blogger Steve Bogner said...

A while ago I read a book that was a collection of thoughts from Archbishop Oscar Romero (even made a category for him on my blog). I often wondered the same thing - what if our bishops today spoke out against injustice in the compassionat, consistent, and charismatic way that Romero did? Our bishops have a modern example they could follow, if they felt inclined to do so.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Talmida said...

St. Thomas More also hounded William Tyndale to death. Tyndale translated the Bible into English and More's behaviour towards him was horrible. He wrote a wicked letter full of scatological insults to Tyndale which still exists today. More is also semi-notorious for helping to defame King Richard the III. Richard was vilified by Shakespeare as an evil King who killed his young nephews (the Princes in the Tower). Shakespeare based his play on Thomas More's history. Thomas More based his history on a previous one, but also was concerned with making the usurping Tudors look good, and the best way to do that was to make Richard (and the Plantagenets) look bad. In fact, Richard was NOT evil and did not kill his nephews, but hardly anyone knows the truth because More and Shakespeare were so well known, people believed what they wrote.

Interesting guy, Thomas More. I like him for educating his daughters, and hate him for what he did to Tyndale and British History. I guess he's proof that saints, like the rest of us, are only human.


12:50 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

What, a saint with warts? Heaven forbid! Never heard of such a thing...
Now made up saints and saint legends, that's another matter!

6:56 AM  

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