Saturday, July 7, 2012

St. Thomas More in Morrisville, right before election day!

Could it really just be a coincidence that Bucks County is about to be blessed with performances of the wonderful play about the patron saint of attorneys, civil servants, politicians, and statesmen?  From 10/26 till 11/11, there will be performances of A Man for All Seasons in Morrisville's Heritage Center.

Saint Thomas More was a martyr for conscience against draconian and absolutely unjust mandates of a secular leader.  As per the Catholic Encyclopedia,
  • it was in 1530, that there "came the royal proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as 'Supreme Head' of the Church....[Sir Thomas More's] firm opposition to Henry's designs in regard to the divorce [from Catherine of Aragon], the papal supremacy, and the laws against heretics, speedily lost him the royal favour, and in May, 1532, he resigned his post of Lord Chancellor....
  • "For the next eighteen months More lived in seclusion....Anxious to avoid a public rupture with Henry he stayed away from Anne Boleyn's coronation....Neutrality, however, did not suit Henry....
  • "In March, 1534, the Act of Succession was passed which required all who should be called upon to take an oath acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, and to this was added a clause repudiating 'any foreign authority, prince or potentate'. On 14 April, More was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath and, on his refusal, was committed to the custody of the Abbot of Westminster. Four days later he was removed to the Tower....
  • "In June, [Richard] Rich, the solicitor-general, held a conversation with More and, in reporting it, declared that More had denied Parliament's power to confer ecclesiastical supremacy on Henry....On 1 July, More was indicted for high treason.... More denied the chief charges of the indictment...and denounced Rich, the solicitor-general and chief witness against him as a perjuror....certainly no martyr ever surpassed him in fortitude"
A Man for All Seasons was the winner of the 1966 Academcy Award for Best Picture. It is difficult to not have chills run up one's spine, upon first hearing More's immortal words: "I die his majesty's good servant, but God's first."

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