"A Man for All Seasons": Remembering St. Thomas More

Today Holy Mother Church remembers St. Thomas More. We remember in him, more than anything, a man who did not compromise his own values to please the king.

American Catholic shares: “Described as ‘a man for all seasons,’ More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children and chancellor of England.”

More is known to have prescribed the “golden mean”, which goes like this: “When e feel us too bold, remember our feebleness. When we feel us too faint, remember Christ’s strength.”

Here are some great lines from A Man for All Seasons. A great movie! You can see the entire manuscript here.

The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!
Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

Margaret More: Father, that man’s bad.
Sir Thomas More: There’s no law against that.
William Roper: There is: God’s law.
Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him.

Sir Thomas More: I am commanded by the king to be brief, and since I am the king’s obedient subject, brief I will be. I die His Majesty’s good servant, but God’s first.
Sir Thomas More: (to executioner) I forgive you, right readily. Be not afraid of your office: you send me to God.
Archbishop Cranmer: You’re very sure of that, Sir Thomas?
Sir Thomas More: He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to Him.

Richard Rich: I would be faithful.
Sir Thomas More: Richard, you couldn’t answer for yourself even so far as tonight.

Cromwell: For want of a better word. In the May of 1526 the King published a book. (He permits himself a little smile) A theological work. It was called A Defence of the Seven Sacraments.
Sir Thomas More: Yes. (Bitterly) For which he was named “Defender of the Faith,” by His Holiness the Pope.
Cromwell: By the Bishop of Rome. Or do you insist on “Pope”?
Sir Thomas More: No, “Bishop of Rome” if you like. It doesn’t alter his authority.
Cromwell: Thank you, you come to the point very readily; what is that authority? As regards the Church in Europe; (Approaching) for example, the Church in England. What exactly is the Bishop of Rome’s authority?
Sir Thomas More: You will find it very ably set out and defended, Master Secretary, in the King’s book.

Regarding the last bit of dialogue here: I’d be interested in reading this treatise, A Defence of the Seven Sacraments, by Henry VIII, written of course before he left Holy Mother Church. It would be an interesting read!!

St. Thomas More: Pray for us!