Thomas More

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by BibleHoarder, May 15, 2019.

  1. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Is it true Thomas More was a psychopath? Why does the Anglican Church have him as a saint? Or was he misunderstood? I want to know.
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I have never heard that suggestion, and I can but wonder what the basis of it was. Thomas More was a good friend of Erasmus, and like Erasmus sought to reform the Church from within. Henry VIII made him chancellor following the demise of Cardinal Wolsey. History gives us to understand that Henry had a high opinion of Wolsey, and he was also held in high regard by many in the land. He was intelligent, academic, and very committed to the faith as he had received it.

    In July 1518 More gave up his legal practice to become Secretary to the King. he was a long term friend of Henry.

    Thomas More opposed the execution of Edward Stafford on the grounds that the evidence was merely hearsay. The execution of Stafford may have amounted to Henry ensuring that the backup plan for succession (Henry Fitzroy) be open.

    Thomas More almost certainly assisted the King in the writing of Assertio Septem Sacramentorum, which was presented to the Pope in October 1521 and earned Henry high praise and an enduring title, Fidei Defensor.

    In 1525 Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York, surrendered the Great Seal and Thomas More was appointed Chancellor. More's singular condition in accepting the post was that he was not involved in the King's divorce.

    In 1527 More advised Henry that he believed that the marriage to Catherine of Aragon was lawful.

    The Act of Submission was passed on the 15th of May 1532, which required - Clergy make no new laws - All existing church law to be reviewed - Convocation not to meet without permission - and all clergy were required to sign it.

    On the 16th of May 1532 Thomas More tendered his resignation as Chancellor citing ill health as ground for that decision.

    On the 24th March 1534 An Act of Succession was passed which removed Mary from the line of succession in favour of the children of Henry and Anne. Both Thomas More and John Fisher refused to sign the oath upholding this, and as a result both were taken to the Tower and found guilty of treason. More's property was then attained to the King, and in July 1535 he was beheaded on Tower Green.

    The facts of history suggest that he was a person of principle.
     
  3. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Right, but did he really burn heretics and Protestants or was that a myth?
     
  4. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Regarding heretics, More said " The clergy doth denounce them, the temporality doth burn them. And after the fire of Smithfield, he'll doth receive them where the wretches burn forever." As Chancellor, he regarded the suppression of heresy as the most important aspect of his job. He confided as much when writing to Erasmus: "I find that breed of men [heretics] absolutely loathsome. I want to be as hateful to them as anyone can be."

    More issued a list of banned books and demanded of all legal officers in secular courts that their first priority was to seek out and bring to justice anyone suspect of erroneous opinions. More carried out his own examinations of suspected heretics and there were stories of him having suspects brutally flogged. He gained a reputation as a fanatical persecutor and was upbraided by the lawyer Christopher St German for his excessive zeal.

    Look out for a British TV program called 'Wolf Hall' which upset a couple of English Catholic Bishops who criticised the 'perverse' depiction of More.
     
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Yes he did, however he was a long way from being on his own there. Part of the question might be was he doing it on his own, or as agent for the King, who also it must be noted didn't mind the odd 'off with his head'. When we look at the Tudor period it is very easy to simply allow our contemporary moral positions to hold sway in our assessment, however I suspect that may be unkind and unfair. Our faith has to be lived out immersed in the culture and the political landscape in which we find ourselves. Anything less lacks authenticity, save for that few that are called to isolation in the midst of this troubled world.

    I believe that none of the characters in this high drama are all good or all bad, but rather all are frail children of dust carrying with them the blessing and the burden of being able to, and needing to, make choices based on limited understanding, realising that perhaps had they had different information or more information, they may have made another choice.

    My comment simply reflects a view that calling More a psychopath is somewhat further that I would want to go.

    Henry VIII was not really well served by 'yes men' and both Fisher and More whom he seemingly held in high regard, were ultimately executed by Henry because they owed a loyalty beyond the King. Neither of them were essentially opposed to the King, yet both in some sense felt that the King saw succession as more important than his commitment to his marriage to the Infant of Castile
     

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