Thomas More was born in England in 1478. He was a scholarly man who was appointed to high office by his friend, King Henry VIII, at whose hands, he was also executed. More was not only a statesman, but also an author of the famous work, Utopia, an imagined world in which everyone lived harmoniously and with opportunity for all. Much of what More wrote was in defense of the Catholic faith (known as apologetics) and he corresponded with theologians (men and women who are experts in the study of God), including one who is particularly well known, Erasmus. More lived during the time period of the Protestant Reformation and much of his writings were in defense of the faith and against Martin Luther.
Just what happened between Thomas More and his friend the king that cost him his life? In 1532, More resigned his position as Lord Chancelor after Henry defied Rome and set himself as head of the Church of England. Henry's action was personal and not based on any theologocial reasoning at all - Rome had refused his request for an anullment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. More was asked to take an oath of loyalty to the king over the Pope as the supreme authority over English Christians. When he refused, his lands were taken from him and he was imprisoned. His family became impoverished. The next year found him at Westminster Hall on trial for treason. He was sentenced to death. His Feast Day is June 22.
Visit our sources for more information:
- AmericanCatholic: http://www.stthomasmoresantaclara.org/the-red-mass/about-st-thomas-more/
- The Illustrated History of Catholicism and the Catholic Saints, Rev. Ronald Creighton-Jobe and Tessa Paul et al, contributors. Elizabeth Young et al, eds. Leicestershire: Lorenz books, 2011.