Rorate Caeli

"An Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant
to the laws of God and his holy Church..."


All which notwithstanding the jury found him guilty, and incontinent upon the verdict the Lord Chancellor [for that matter chief commissioner] beginning in judgment against him, Sir Thomas More said to him,

"My Lord, when I was towards the law, the manner in such case was to ask the prisoner before judgment, why judgment should not be given against him."

Whereupon the Lord Chancellor staying his judgment, wherein he had partly proceeded, demanded of him what he was able to say to the contrary. Who then in this sort mildly made answer:

"Forasmuch as, my Lord, this indictment is grounded upon an Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy Church, the supreme government of which, or of any part thereof, may no temporal prince presume by any law to take upon him as rightfully belonging to the See of Rome, a spiritual preeminence by the mouth of our Saviour himself, personally present upon the earth, to St. Peter and his successors, bishops of the same see, by special prerogative, granted, it is therefore in law amongst Christian men insufficient to charge any Christian."...

Then was it thereunto by the Lord Chancellor answered, that seeing all the bishops, universities, and best learned men of the Realm had to this Act agreed, it was much marvelled that he alone against them all would so stiffly stick and vehemently argue there against. To that Sir Thomas More replied saying,

"If the number of bishops and universities be so material, as your Lordships seemeth to take it, then see I little cause why that thing in my conscience should make any change. For I nothing doubt, but that though not in this Realm, yet in Christendom about they be not the least part, that be of my mind therein. But if I should speak of those that be already dead, of whom many be now saints in heaven, I am very sure it is the far greater part of them, that all the while they lived, thought in this case that way that I think now. And therefore am I not bound to conform my conscience to the council of one realm against the General Council of Christendom."...

After which ended, the commissioners yet courteously offered him, if he had anything else to allege for his defence to grant him favourable audience, who answered,

"More have I not to say but like as the blessed Apostle St. Paul, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, was present, and consented to the death of St. Stephen, and kept their clothes that stoned him to death, and yet be they now both twain holy saints in heaven, and shall continue there friends for ever, so I verily trust and shall therefore right heartily pray, that though your Lordships have now in earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to our everlasting salvation."

William Roper
The Life of Sir Thomas More
____________________
Our regular feature on the Feast of Saints John Fisher, Bishop, and Thomas More - Martyrs. "Deus, qui beatos Martyres tuos Ioannem et Thomam veræ fidei et Romanæ Ecclesiæ principatus propugnatores inter Anglos suscitasti: eorum meritis ac precibus concede; ut eiusdem fidei professione, unum omnes in Christo efficiamur et simus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen." Saints John Fisher and Thomas More: through your intercession and in the profession of the same Faith and of the Supremacy of the Holy Roman Church, may all be and remain one in Christ!

18 comments:

Johannes de Silentio said...

Thank you.

JB said...

The greatest man England ever produced.

Rick DeLano said...

There was indeed one Catholic bishop in England on that day.

Speaking about his heretic son-in-law, St. Thomas More said...

"Meg, I have borne a long time with thy husband; I have reasoned and argued with him in these points of religion, and still given to him my poor fatherly counsel, but I perceive none of all this able to call him home; and therefore, Meg, I will no longer dispute with him, but will clean give him over and get me to God and pray for him."

Catholic Encyclopedia, paraphrased, said...

That heretic son-in-law credited these words and the prayers that followed for his return to the Catholic faith. And that son-in-law is the very same William Roper who gives us this passage from the life of St. Thomas More.

Peter Griffin said...

The "church" of England is pure garbage and a complete farce. The Anglican "communion" is even more putrid garbage and more of a ridiculous farce.

St. Thomas, confessor and martyr, pray for us!

Matt said...

Saint Thomas More said, ""An Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy Church...""

I suppose in many ways we could also say an act of Congress (or SCOTUS) directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy Church!

My, my. How history does tend to repeat itself. Keep watching. Soon enough, we're going to be confronted with some similar junk. Too late... ObamaCare against the Church. More to follow, to be sure.

Giovanni A. Cattaneo said...

My patron Saint.

Benedict Carter said...

St. John Fisher, preeminent European theologian of his time, gentle yet firm Bishop, greatly admired by all, was the President of my university College. I am very proud of that.

St. John Fisher, pray for your Brother Bishops still living, for many of them have departed from the Catholic Faith you gave your life for.

Shane said...

I get irritated by the tendency among neo-conservative Catholics to hail St Thomas More as a martyr for 'religious liberty' (understood as liberty for all religions, not just the Catholic Church). The American bishops have invoked his martydom in this way to oppose the contraception mandate. St Thomas certainly had no problem with heretics being put to death and would have been horrified by the modern concept of religious liberty, for which he is being invoked.

The same thing is also increasingly happening with the Cristeros. They're now being protrayed as defenders of 'religious liberty' - which is really just an insult to their memory.

CJ said...

Indeed, Matt. History repeated itself first by a few popes, otherwise it could not have been later repeated by SCOTUS. How many Catholics/catholics on the bench? Five? Six? Seven?

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Thanks, New Catholic the digression into speculation is a red herring we do not need. Less whining and more (pun intended) is what we need!

New Catholic said...

You are very welcome, Mr. McAuley. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Kumquat said...

I've always thought that St. Thomas's prayer for his judges that he and they would be reconciled in Heaven was especially beautiful.

Thus should we ever pray for those who persecute us.

Gravitas said...

Shane, you're right on the money. Totally agree.

Woody said...

As may be known here, the choir of the abbey church of St. Peter, Westminster, sang with the Sistine Chapel choir at the papal mass on 29 June. The reviews of bloggers were generally more favorable to the Abbey boys than the Sistines, as exemplified by this, from the "Ship of Fools" site [I don't know whether they are Anglicans or Catholics, but the same sentiments can be seen in Catholic sites for sure, such as Fr. Ray Blake's]:

"The Choir of St Peter's, Westminster (commonly known as Westminster Abbey) have visited an even bigger church with the same dedication- St Peter's Basilica, Rome.

Link to the Abbey press release

They sang with the Sistine Chapel choir for the Papal Mass. For some parts of the Palestrina Missa Papae Marcelli (the Gloria and Creed, I think) the choirs combined; for the introit and one motet, the Sistine Chapel sang on its own; and for a range of English motets (mostly Tallis and Byrd) the Westminster Abbey choir sang on its own. There are many links on YouTube, but here is the motet at the Communion- other extracts from the service can be found on the PapalMusic channel on Youtube: Byrd, Ave Verum

It's fascinating to compare the sound-world and general demeanour of the two choirs. I was pleasantly surprised by the plainchant singing of the Sistine Chapel choir for the introit- not out of tune and operatic, but rich and with a sense of flow.

But it was uncomfortably obvious that the boys of the Westminster choir were more "switched on" in the Palestrina Mass. They generally had their heads up, watching the conductor as a norm and occasionally looking down to refer to the music. By contrast, even some of the older Sistine boys often had their heads down, some with their mouths barely open. And in all the "mixed" items I sometimes got a feeling of lack of blend and cohesion, especially at the end of the Creed when by the end choral entries were getting rather messy. But overall, there were some sublime moments, particularly the Ave Verum.

Is this the Pope's cunning plan to show Rome what polyphony ought to sound like? Did the bishops and congregation come out of the service saying "Ah, those English- they sing the right notes, but there's no passion there", or "Praise be to God, that's what polyphony sounds like when you sing the notes in tune!"? Will this remarkable mixture be the first of many Catholic churches requesting the services of Anglican choirs?"

JB said...

I agree with Shane. The efforts to downplay the true reasons More died, i.e., for the Catholic faith (acknowledging the powers of the papacy), have never seemed to end over the last 50 years. Even in a Man for All Seasons, More's statement that he died "in and for the Catholic Faith" is omitted.

Peterman said...

I've always wondered how Church of England and other english protestant sects lived their lie knowing that their Church was founded by a man who wanted a divorce and who killed people like Thomas More simply because they inconveniently spoke the truth.

I know I'm a miserable sinner but at least I know I'm going to the real Church on Sunday morning and not some made up poppycock.