Jun 20, 2012

June 22: Sts John Fisher and Thomas More - and texting?

   St. John Fisher - 1535 (Bishop and Martyr)

St. Thomas More - 1535

Lawyer, Humanist, Chancellor of England - Martyr

Sts. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester and Thomas More, Chancellor of England.  No two names more courageously capture the spirit of our cherished religious liberty and in particular the right of a conscience formed and guided by the sacred law of God. 
Both became near icons of the English Reformation in defiance of King Henry VIII and his challenge to the supremacy of Papal authority over the Catholic Church in England.  The precipitating issue was the self-declared invalidity of Henry’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his desire to marry again – to Anne Boleyn. Having found a passage in the Book of Leviticus, Henry tried to justify the invalidity of his marriage to Catherine.  The Pope blocked Henry’s move. Henry arrogantly and with near tyrannical power commanded that all subjects in England repudiate “any foreign authority, prince or potentate.” More and Fisher refused as a matter of conscience to take an oath acknowledging Henry’s sovereignty over the Church in England. The two links below offer more on these champions of religious liberty and the sanctity of a conscience formed in the Gospel of Christ. 
“Little as I meddle in the conscience of others, I am certain that my conscience belongs to me alone.  It is the last thing that a man can do for his salvation: to be at one with himself.” 
St. Thomas More
Now what about texting?  What might be a unique thing we can do to connect and join in a nationwide movement in support of religious liberty?  The American Bishops have proposed a very timely suggestion.  
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty writes: "We encourage all supporters around the country to text the simple, meaningful word 'Freedom' (for English) or 'Libertad' (for Spanish) to 377377 to join the movement." Texters can then receive information regularly on how to help protect religious freedom worldwide.
O God, who in martyrdom
Have brought true faith to its highest expression,
Grant that, strengthened through the intercession
of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More,
We may confirm by the witness of our life
The faith we profess with our lips.
(Collect of Memorial)