Sts. John Fisher & Thomas More

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St. John Fisher

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Role in Reformation

Henry was determined to enforce his will upon England. Only one of England's Bishops refused to go along with Henry's actions: St. John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester. He refused to sign the allegiance to the royal supremacy, and was imprisoned. With the idea of saving his life, Pope Paul III made St. John Fisher a cardinal while he was imprisoned. This elevation backed fired and so enraged Henry that the king had the cardinal beheaded in 1535, less than one month later.

Side?

He was a defender of the Catholic faith.

Contributions

He founded colleges and was a teacher.

St. Thomas More

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Role in Reformation

Was close friends with Henry, and was used by Henry to persuade the pope. St. Thomas More, Chancellor of England was a renowned humanist writer who refused to the oath of supremacy. His high standing in England threatened Henry's plans, so St. Tomas More was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. He was a gifted Lawyer and writer who struggled heroically to make his Catholic Faith an absolute priority. He had a jovial and cheerful nature and great sense of humor. He would frequently have a poor and destitute join him and his family for meals. Though a layman, he habitually wore a hair shirt and regularly engaged in other penitential practices. He was a family man, devoted to his wife and daughters. A leading humanist writer of his time, he undertook the education of his daughters in Latin and classical literature.

Although he knew that if he did not sign the Oath of Supremacy he would be a risk of of being imprisoned, but not executed.For more than a year, St. Thomas More was kept in the Tower where he refused to speak for or against the Oath. When he was asked, his only response was:

"I am the king's truth faithful subject and daily bedesman, and pray for his Highness, and all his, and all realm. I do nobody harm, I say none harm, I think none harm, but wish everybody good. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live."

Originally sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, St. Thomas More was beheaded on July 6, 1535, two weeks after St. John Fisher. On the Scaffold he said "I die the King's good servant, but God's first."

Side?

Firm believer in the catholic church

Contributions

In 1516, More published Utopia, a work of fiction primarily depicting a pagan and communist island on which social and political customs are entirely governed by reason. The description of the island of Utopia comes from a mysterious traveler to support his position that communism is the only cure for the egoism found in both private and public life—a direct jab at Christian Europe, which was seen by More as divided by self-interest and greed. Utopia covered such far-reaching topics as theories of punishment, state-controlled education, multi-religion societies, divorce, euthanasia and women's rights, and the resulting display of learning and skill established More as a foremost humanist. Utopia also became the forerunner of a new literary genre: the utopian romance.

St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More: Fun Facts

  • Were killed for the same reason.
  • Canonized together in 1935, 400 after their martyr
  • Were both beheaded within two weeks of each other.
  • Their shared feast day is celebrated on June 22.
Discovering our Saints - Saints John Fisher and Thomas More
Ss. John Fisher & Thomas More