The Trial of St. Thomas More: 480 Years ago today.

St. Thomas More was brought to Westminster Hall for trial on July 1, 1535. Those set to try him were: Sir Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor, Sir Richard Leicester, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, Sir John Port, Sir John Fitz-James, Sir John Spelman, Lord Chief Justice, Sir John Baldwin Sir Walter Luke, and Sir Anthony Fitz-Herbert. Like St. John Fisher, he was very weak after his long imprisonment in the Tower of London and was allowed to sit at his trial. Those set to judge him as his jury were: Sir Thomas Palmer, KNT., Falper Leake, Gent., Sir Thomas Peirt, Knt. William Browne, Gent., George Lovell, Esq; Thomas Billington, Gent.,Thomas Burbage, Esq; John Parnel, Gent., Geoffry Chamber, Gent. Richard Bellame, Gent., Edward Stockmore, Gent. George Stoakes, Gent.–and after hearing the evidence against More, which was mostly Sir Richard Rich’s perjury, they found him guilty within 15 minutes!

Perhaps the most interesting part of the trial–and certainly one of most amazingly convoluted sentences ever spoken–came when Audley started to pronounce sentence and More had to remind him of proper procedure, that he should have an opportunity to state why Judgement should not be declared against him. Audley wanted to get this trial over, I’m sure, because the former Chancellor had already presented an excellent defense against Richard Rich’s perjury (and Rich’s other witnesses would not back him up), but More presented another dilemma to the justice of this court:

For as much as, my Lords, this Indictment is grounded upon an Act of Parliament, directly repugnant ,to the Laws of God and his Holy Church, the Supreme Government of which, or of any part thereof, no Temporal Person may by any Law presume to take upon him, being what right belongs to the See of Rome, which by special Prerogative was granted by the Mouth of our Savior Christ himself to St. Peter, and the Bishops of Rome his Successors only, whilst he lived, and was personally present here on Earth: it is therefore, amongst Catholic Christians, insufficient in Law, to charge any Christian to obey it. And in order to the proof of his Assertion, he declared among other things, that whereas this Kingdom alone being but one Member, and a small part of the Church, was not to make a particular Law disagreeing with the general Law of Christ’s universal Catholic Church, no more than the City of London, being but one Member in respect to the whole Kingdom, might enact a Law against an Act of Parliament, to be binding to the whole Realm: so he shewed farther, That Law was, even contrary to the Laws and Statutes of the Kingdom yet unrepealed, as might evidently be seen by Magna Charta, wherein are these Words; Ecclesia Anglicana libera sit, & habet omnia jura integra, & libertates suas illcesas: And it is contrary also to that sacred Oath which the King’s Majesty himself, and every other Christian Prince, always take with great Solemnity, at their Coronations. So great was Sir Thomas’s Zeal, that he further alleged, that it was worse in the Kingdom of England to rest1se Obedience to the See of Rome, than for any Child to do to his natural Parent: for, as St. Paul said to the Corinthians, I have regenerated you, my Children, in Christ; so might that worthy Pope of Rome, St. Gregory the Great, say of us Englishmen, Ye are my Children, because I have given you everlasting Salvation: for by St. Augustine and his followers, his immediate Messengers, England first received the Christian faith, which is a far higher and better Inheritance than any carnal Sather can leave to his Children; for a. Son is only by generation, we are by Regeneration made the spiritual Children of Christ and the Pope.


Here the Lord Chancellor took him up and said; that seeing all the Bishops, Universities, and the most learned Men in the Kingdom had agreed to that Act, it was much wondered that he alone should so stiffly stickle, and so vehemently argue there against it.

HIS Answer was, That If the Number of Bishops and Universities were so material as his Lordship seemed to make it; then, my Lord, I see no reason why that thing should make any Change in my Conscience: for I doubt not, but of the learned and virtuous Men now alive, I do not speak only of this Realm, but of all Christendom, there are ten to one of my mind in this matter;  if I should take notice of those learned Doctors and virtuous Fathers that are already dead, many of whom are Saints in Heaven, I am sure there are far more, who all the while they lived thought in this Café as I do now. And therefore, my Lord, I do not think my self bound to conform my Conscience to the Counsel of one Kingdom, against the general Consent of all Christendom.


Here it seems the Lord Chancellor, not willing to take the whole Load of this Condemnation up­on himself, asked In open Court the Advice of Sir John Fitz-James, the Lord Chief Justice of England, Whether the Indictment was valid, or no? Who wisely answered thus: My Lords all, By St. Gillian (for that was always his Oath) I must needs confess, that if the Act of Parliament be not unlawful, then the indictment is not in my Conscience invalid. Some have wrote, That the Lord Chancellor should hereupon say, Quid adhuc desideramus testimonium, reus est mortis, and then presently proceeded to give Sentence to this effect: That he should be carried back to the Tower of Lon­don, by the Help of William Kingston, Sheriff, and from thence drawn on a Hurdle through the City of London to Tyburn, there to be hanged till he should be half dead; that then he should be cut down alive, his Privy Parts cut off, his Belly ripped, his Bowels burnt, his four Quarters sit up over four Gates of the City: and his Head upon London-Bridge.
“I must needs confess, that if the Act of Parliament be not unlawful, then the indictment is not in my Conscience invalid.” — the grammatical convolutions of this sentence, with the double negatives, all center on that word “if” which Audley dared not investigate further. Thomas More left Westminster Hall to return to the Tower of London: his son John and daughter Margaret were there to see his progress. Margaret pushed past the guards twice to embrace her father, actions he would later commend her for with great affection.

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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63 Responses to The Trial of St. Thomas More: 480 Years ago today.

  1. Wouldn’t we all like to think that in such a situation we would have the same kind of courage that Thomas More had? But “hanged till he should be half dead; that then he should be cut down alive, his Privy Parts cut off, his Belly ripped, his Bowels burnt, his four Quarters sit up over four Gates of the City: and his Head upon London-Bridge”?

  2. John A. Kehoe says:

    Strange indeed that the Catholic Church took four hundred years to canonize this remarkable saint compared with only a few years after his death to canonize Pope John Paul II who did not suffer martyrdom nor indeed any privation in life. But of course More was only a layman, and the mob in St Peter’s Square after John Paul’s death was announced demanded his canonization – subito santo.. Strange.

  3. Gertrude says:

    Pius Xll remains unbeatified. There are still many holy martyrs from the Penal Times, both lay and religious, who, even though beatified by various popes over the last centuries, have yet to be canonised. Methinks there are many ‘forgotten’ saints of yesteryear, whilst the clamour to create new ‘modern’ saints gathers momentum.

  4. John A. Kehoe says:

    That could be rectified by getting a clamorous crowd into St Peter’s Square on the anniversary of the death of Pius XII, carrying his photo and shouting ‘beatus hoc tempore’.

  5. Robert says:

    St Thomas More’s speech is a relevant today as it was 480 years ago.
    1/ St Thomas A’Becket his name sake dominated that trial.
    a) Henry II and Henry VIII
    b) Both Lord Chancellors
    c) King’s favourites
    d) Beckett made Primate of Canterbury by royal council of bishops and noblemen contrast with Mores trial.
    2/ Magna Charta rules over USA Judiciary as well as the Crown in England. That places Gods Church and Authority first.
    In Our sad days St More and St Becket have been placed before Us by the Church because the Worldly Authority has overturned the Natural Order of Creation. God’s Laws condemned by atheist and pagan men. The sacraments defiled and rejected. Marriage destroyed and satirised by animal beastilty.
    Both St Thomas’s stand in condemnation of this Generation that worships Men before God.

  6. kathleen says:

    Robert, St. Thomas More’s sentence for being a supposed traitor was that he be hanged, drawn and quartered, as you say, and this was indeed the horrible death meted out to most of the English and Welsh martyrs. However, probably because Thomas had been an old friend of his, this sentence was commuted by King Henry VIII to execution by beheading. Still a gruesome death, but quicker and causing less torment.
    While on the scaffold St. Thomas declared that he died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

  7. johnhenrycn says:

    JPII came close to martyrdom by assassination; and if continuing his papacy until death despite very poor health (including but not limited to Parkinson’s) is not “privation”, I don’t know what is. Still, I was not one of those who clamoured for his sainthood, even though it was on his watch that I converted, and therefore, have a great deal of affection for him. I hear there’s a move now afoot to declare him a Doctor of the Church.

  8. Robert says:

    The problem with Post Vatican II and Modernism is Acclaim based on Media and Marketing. Carefully formed popular Publicity of Personality that plagued Rome since 1958.

  9. John A. Kehoe says:

    My father suffered uncomplainingly for many years with Parkinson’s disease and eventually died of it I saw the ravages that this disease entails.He was a loyal practising Catholic. Nobody ever suggested that he should be beatified or canonized. John Paul II was a bit of a showman revelling in the response from large crowds. He was slow to act on clerical sexual abuse-to take but one example the case of the notorious Hans Hermann Groer, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna. i think people have an inclination to see sanctity in important ecclesiastics who are regularly in the limelight and to ignore the worth of ‘lesser’ people. I have no doubt that the same sentiment which inspired calls for his canonization will also be at work to have John Paul II declared a Doctor of the Church. It is the way the mob works.

  10. John A. Kehoe says:

    Correct. Get yourself a P.R. man and make plans for your own canonization.

  11. kathleen says:

    St. John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ was pretty outstanding though, don’t you think, and something that will bring far-reaching good to the Church.
    Fr. Z wrote an article last April in which he declared that he would like to see JP II be made a Doctor of the Church:

    “St. John Paul II should be a Doctor of the Church, because of the outstanding quality and the comprehensiveness of his opus, which includes philosophy, theology, poetry, and even drama. […]

    His numerous encyclicals touch nearly all aspects of human life. Consider his defense of life, his defense of the Truth of Catholic teaching, his efforts toward the liberation of millions from Communist tyranny, his merciful correction of errant theologians for the protection of the faithful, his social teaching, and his defense of marriage and of the family (e.g, in Familiaris consortio).

    He issued the Catechism of the Catholic Church and revised the Code of Canon Law for both the Latin and Eastern Churches. Most of all, consider his defense of the Truth of the Faith through his entire body of teaching while applying it appropriately to our times, not just to the 26 years of his pontificate, but to the 21st century…”
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/04/petition-to-pope-francis-declare-st-john-paul-ii-doctor-of-the-church/

    Though most Catholics appear to see the main problem being that it is too soon to do so. It takes time for the Church to absorb the thoughts and teachings of its saints before then deeming them worthy of this illustrative title.

  12. John A. Kehoe says:

    All of the works you mention will have been the work of many hands with John Paul II getting the credit. Looking now at the preface to the Catechism of the Catholic Church I find that John Paul himself acknowledges ‘ The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the result of very extensive collaboration’ ‘ I entrusted a commission of twelve Cardinals and Bishops with the task of preparing a draft’…..’ An editorial committee of seven diocesan Bishops, experts in theology and catechesis,, assisted the commission in its work’……. . He did not even bother to name those bishops who were involved .Similarly with the other works attributed to John Paul II. Backroom boys get little or no credit. I think John Paul’s reputation is seriously overblown.

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    J.A.K. says: “Similarly with the other works attributed to John Paul II. Backroom boys get little or no credit.”

    Have you ever seen any papal encyclical with an introduction or a preface acknowledging the contributions made by the pope’s assistants and researchers of which there are usually if not always bound to be many? I don’t think so. As for the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated during JPII’s reign, inasmuch as it is almost (but not quite) an infallible document, the better practice was to refrain from mentioning the names of any underlings who had a hand in its composition and publication – except for the necessary Imprimi Potest by Cardinal Ratzinger, as he then was – because of the risk that one or more of said underlings may subsequently prove an embarrassment. For example, I had to razor out the foreword page of my personal copy of the latest edition of our local Catholic Book of Worship III hymnal because it was written by a bishop since convicted of a child pornography offence.

  14. John A. Kehoe says:

    I agree that papal encyclicals do not normally have prefaces or introductions. However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does have such an introduction in which John Paul II, while mentioning the ‘very extensive collaboration’ involved and the involvement of twelve cardinals and bishops as well as an editorial committee of seven diocesan bishops, does not bother to name any of them except Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, thereby focussing almost the entire of the reader’s attention on John Paul himself. If he could name Cardinal Ratzinger why not the others? I take the point about bishops who afterwards can prove an embarrassment and your experience about the episcopal author of the preface to the hymnal who was convicted of a pornography offence. I have a similar story.. I was a classmate of a student in an Irish Catholic school who later became a priest -and then priest teacher- who went to jail for student abuse; another from the same Catholic school whom I knew,who became a priest, eminent scholar, and member of the international theological commission who was defrocked and is now teaching in the United States. This week in Ireland a former defrocked Irish Catholic Archbishop, no less, serving in Africa admitted in evidence in the High Court to having a sexual relationship with an African woman who confirmed in her own evidence the Archbishop’s testimony.Whither the Roman Catholic Church ?

  15. Michael says:

    i think people have an inclination to see sanctity in important ecclesiastics who are regularly in the limelight and to ignore the worth of ‘lesser’ people. I have no doubt that the same sentiment which inspired calls for his canonization will also be at work to have John Paul II declared a Doctor of the Church. It is the way the mob works.

    On this basis, we would have to discount the canonisation of a great many saints, whose causes have come about primarily because of popular acclaim. In the early Church, before the formal canonisation process emerged, this is precisely how saints were recognised. Latterly, there have many cases (e.g.; Padre Pio, Bernadette of Lourdes) where if it had not been for their recognition by the people then canonisation would most likely never have occurred.

    Furthermore, I do not see that the fact that ‘important ecclesiastics’ have been canonised (which would cover the vast majority of saints recognised by the Church, most of whom have been prelates or religious) necessarily obscures the holy lives of unknown lay people. The primary reason the latter do not receive official recognition is because they are known only by a handful of intimates, and therefore cannot act as a universal sign of the power of God’s grace in people’s lives, as someone known widely for their sanctity can (the same logic applies to those who have been called ‘Blessed’ and are only to be publicly venerated in a certain region, not throughout the universal Church).

    All of the works you mention will have been the work of many hands with John Paul II getting the credit.

    And? On this basis we would have to discount most papal documents ever written. Just because a pope has help in drafting a document, does not mean that he is still not the driving force behind it, or that he may still be the main contributor. With respect to the Catechism, I am pretty sure that Saint John Paul’s actual contribution to it was great, and when one looks at the document as a whole, placed next to all the encyclicals he wrote, one can see a distinct shape to the body of teaching, as well as a singular vision that is being communicated. As for his ‘getting the credit’, I seriously doubt that this was his motive for writing any of these documents, and it is missing the point a bit – those who contributed to the documents would certainly not have seen their involvement as something that they would have expected to get ‘credit’ for. It was their service to the Church, and to a pope that many of them I am sure loved.

  16. John A. Kehoe says:

    Of course I am aware of historic canonization by acclamation which however I regard as a risky process. By that method, if applied in modern times, the notorious molester of seminarians and founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marciel Maciel, might well have been declared a saint having many cheerleaders who were impressed by his ‘sanctity’, notably John Paul II himself who in 1994 heralded Maciel as ‘ an efficacious guide to youth’. So much for popular opinion and the judgment of John Paul II. As for papal encyclicals and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of course these are evidently works of scholarship, worthy of close attention. My point however is that the popular notion that they were the work of John Paul II and the ready attribution of them to him alone to boost his reputation is false. John Paul II was no wilting violet, seeking the limelight wherever he went. The victims of clerical physical and sexual abuse in Catholic schools will not have been impressed with the record of John Paul II in dealing with this problem within the Church.

  17. Michael says:

    By that method, if applied in modern times, the notorious molester of seminarians and founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marciel Maciel, might well have been declared a saint having many cheerleaders who were impressed by his ‘sanctity’

    Having many ‘cheerleaders’ is not the same thing as popular movements to have someone canonised, and I do not think that Fr. Maciel’s popularity in some circles can seriously be compared to such movements, either in the early Church or in recent times. Saint John Paul’s support of Fr. Maciel was a mistake, and he made others as well; but canonisation of someone does not mean approving everything they ever did, nor that they never made mistakes (which John Paul clearly did). Just because he made errors of judgement*, this would not (and did not) invalidate the move for his canonisation.

    My point however is that the popular notion that they were the work of John Paul II and the ready attribution of them to him alone to boost his reputation is false.

    As I said, if you applied this criteria to every papacy, we would have very little means of judging their quality as teacher and pastor of the universal Church. Using his output as part of the way in which his legacy is assessed is not by ‘attribution of them to him alone’ (I seriously doubt those involved in his canonisation, or the majority of those in support of it were naive enough to believe that, given that collaboration on such documents is a very common phenomenon) – it is a way of assessing his overall vision and contribution to the way the Church thinks about theological and moral issues. As I said before, there is a clear shape and purpose to Saint John Paul’s writings overall, and they have made a significant contribution to magisterial teaching (on the dignity of human life and sexuality in particular) – recognition that others helped out with these writings does nothing to negate the fact that it was his vision that they were helping to articulate.

    John Paul II was no wilting violet, seeking the limelight wherever he went.

    Most of your problem seems to be that you see Saint John Paul II as some kind of self-serving craver of public attention, and you contend on this basis that this is the primary (if not only) reason that he was canonised. This is question-begging, to say the least, and your points regarding the authorship of encyclicals (as well as the strange comparison of Fr. Maciel’s erstwhile popularity with the acclamation of sainthood by the faithful) seem to flow from that contention. Each of the points, when taken on their own merits however, do not stand up to scrutiny.

    *As an aside, another common criticism of John Paul’s pontificate is that of over-centralisation, when in fact the thing he seems to have been most culpable of with respect to the sex abuse scandal was placing too much of an emphasis on collegiality, and allowing bishops too much scope to deal with problems in their own dioceses that should have been referred to the Holy See.

  18. johnhenrycn says:

    His ‘mistake’ regarding Maciel is nothing that JP2 need to have been ashamed of. Many other leading figures in the Church were similarly hoodwinked. Obviously, if the full story about Maciel had come out before JP2 died, he would have been very sorry to have his confidence in the man so utterly betrayed. As for the Long Lent of the sex abuse crisis that we have gone through, it didn’t start under JP2 and it didn’t end with his death; so to point the finger of blame at him as epitomizing the faults of the Church hierarchy in that regard is unfair and ahistorical.

  19. johnhenrycn says:

    …in reply to John Kehoe, that was.

  20. John A. Kehoe says:

    The very easy way in which Maciel hoodwinked John Paul II- surface appearance- shows how shallow this Pope could be, apart from the other leading figures in the Church.All gloss and glamour.

  21. John A. Kehoe says:

    If I say of your assertions,as you do of mine, that ‘taken on their own merits however,(they) do not stand up to scrutiny, where would that leave us ?

  22. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, not shame. But exceptionally poor judgment, and responsibility for failure to act in timely fashion.

  23. Michael says:

    If I say of your assertions,as you do of mine, that ‘taken on their own merits however,(they) do not stand up to scrutiny, where would that leave us ?

    If you could provide reasons as to why my arguments in response to yours do not stand up to scrutiny then it would be a worthwhile and potentially interesting contribution to the debate. If you simply said so without any reasons why, then there wouldn’t be much point, no. If you feel that your assertions about Saint John Paul genuinely have merit, then I would certainly welcome a reasoned defence of them.

  24. Michael says:

    The very easy way in which Maciel hoodwinked John Paul II- surface appearance- shows how shallow this Pope could be

    Again, you are simply asserting things about John Paul without evidence – as I didn’t know him personally, I’m happy to go on testimony from people who did, who found him to be exactly the opposite of shallow. If you have some evidence to the contrary, if would be nice to hear it. Also, as John Henry points out above, he was not the only one to be misled re Maciel’s character.

  25. Michael says:

    In response to this point, I redirect you to John Henry’s comment above:

    As for the Long Lent of the sex abuse crisis that we have gone through, it didn’t start under JP2 and it didn’t end with his death; so to point the finger of blame at him as epitomizing the faults of the Church hierarchy in that regard is unfair and ahistorical.

  26. Robert says:

    John Paul II was a charismatic personality that’s clear. Sanctity well the yardstick is Christ Like. Our Lord always placed His Father before himself. Notice that the Trinity is selfless. Gods Holy Will before Man’s which is what St More said.
    In St More’s trial HE told his judges and accusers the Truth which is God before Man. Gods Laws before Mans Laws. St Becket was martyred for this as was St More.
    Now John Paul permitted himself to be marked with the sign of a pagan Hindu God in public? His flirtation with pagan sects and religions is a common feature of post 1958 Pontiffs. The Question is Lovest though Christ before the Rest? The question asked of St Peter and His Successors. The Vicar Of Christ of the Vicar of the World?
    Popular acclaim and Sanctity would make a saint out of Elvis Presley? So clearly there is more than popularity. Popularity and modernism looks like the broad road rather than the narrow way of the Cross.
    I start with the Credo which places God first that is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Adam and Eve Created in Gods image and likeness. Its simply and unambigious and is the Faith of my Fathers.
    The Great Apostacy that is recognised in Our times would require an especially Holy Pope that placed God first. St More placed God before Man and Heaven waited 480 years to remind Us that Heaven comes first!
    The rapid and popular acclaim (during what is a General Apostacy) of a charismatic and loved by the world John Paul canonised with indecent hast?
    The question is the fruits of Vatican II considering this was NOT a Dogmatic but Pastoral Council and we have a General Apostacy growing without sign of diminishing.
    St More for Me I think.

  27. toadspittle says:

    “Popular acclaim and Sanctity would make a saint out of Elvis Presley?”
    …Think Pope Francis will fast-track “The King” through then, Roge?
    Like Escrivá? Now, that would be popular.
    Maybe they could canonise C.S. Lewis, while they’re at it?

  28. John A. Kehoe says:

    I think it comes down to your being an admirer of John Paul II based, inter alia, on his popularity, the documents he signed off on, and the general universal esteem of Catholic people. On the other hand, I am not an admirer of John Paul II whose reputation, compared for example with other recent popes, is much overblown. I have pointed, inter alia, to his omissions particularly with the growing clerical abuse scandals ,to his personal attention seeking, amounting to a cult, and to his gullibility in dealing with such notorious clerics as Maciel.

  29. John A. Kehoe says:

    The evidence you seek is the praise given by John Paul II to Maciel in 1994 declaring him to be ‘ an efficacious guide to youth’. I go on what is in the public domain.

  30. Michael says:

    The middle initial in your name doesn’t stand for ‘Adrian’ by any chance does it?

  31. Michael says:

    The evidence you seek is the praise given by John Paul II to Maciel in 1994 declaring him to be ‘ an efficacious guide to youth’. I go on what is in the public domain.

    So, the evidence you are putting forward to support your judgement of the character of Saint John Paul (to the effect that he was a shallow lime-light seeker) is that he, like many other people, was misled as to the character of Fr. Maciel – is that right?

  32. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, apart from that, which is a serious deficiency in any man, he failed in his duty to address adequately, or at all, the growing clerical sexual abuse scandal. He was soft on abusers as well such as the notorious Hans Hermann Groer, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, a molester of seminarians.Ask the victims, If you need further evidence, go to Vienna as I did,and you will learn that thousands of Catholics have left the Church because of the Groer affair.

  33. johnhenrycn says:

    John Kehoe at 15:53 says:
    “I think it comes down to your being an admirer of John Paul II…”

    That’s Saint John Paul to you buddy😉

    But no, neither I nor Michael (I think I can safely say) are or were his unabashed admirers, but your picture of him is too bleak and one-sided, not to mention disrespectful.

  34. Michael says:

    The issue of John Paul’s role in the clerical abuse scandal is one that both John Henry and I have responded to – responses which you haven’t actually engaged with as yet. The question still remains though – how are you justified in making statements about a man’s character based on his debatable culpability with respect to penalising sex offenders? It is not enough to simply state that he was the Pope then and things didn’t get sorted out: there are questions about how much he actually knew, whether he was given the correct information by his bishops, his trusting people too much who perhaps he should not have done, etc – all things which are not knowable via a cursory survey of ‘the public domain’ and would not be made any more clear by the gathering of anecdotal evidence from the people of Vienna. If you want to make sweeping statements about Saint John Paul’s supposed ‘shallowness’, you’ll need to be a bit more thorough than that Adrian.

  35. Michael says:

    neither I nor Michael (I think I can safely say) are or were his unabashed admirers, but your picture of him is too bleak and one-sided, not to mention disrespectful.

    Exac-a-terly!

  36. johnhenrycn says:

    I’m probably way off base, but Mr Kehoe reminds me a bit of the late Adrian Meades who sometimes used to post here from his laptop “in town”, and sometimes from his laptop “in the country”. But Adrian was atheist or agnostic; so the resemblance – if any – is only with respect to their polemical styles.

  37. Michael says:

    Yes, I got that impression as well. As you say, there doesn’t seem to be any overt atheism (although there is the possibility of a slight animus towards the Church, based on what has been said so far), but the style of argument (particularly the confusion of personal opinion for objective evidence) is uncanny.

  38. John A. Kehoe says:

    Calling him Saint John Paul does not add a whit to his stature in heaven. Historians will call him Pope John Paul II. In historical literature Thomas More, the subject of this blog, is more usually known as Sir Thomas More, as he was in life, not Saint Thomas More. On this side of the Atlantic, addressing a man as ‘buddy’ is regarded as disrespectful. I did not offer any disrespect to Pope John Paul II. I simply do not share the admiration others have for him for the reasons stated.

  39. Michael says:

    On this side of the Atlantic, addressing a man as ‘buddy’ is regarded as disrespectful. I did not offer any disrespect to Pope John Paul II. I simply do not share the admiration others have for him for the reasons stated.

    Erm, John/Adrian, you seem to be replying to the wrong comments. Your previous reply (to one of mine at the bottom of the page) was directed to something I posted further up, and this last one (also directed to one of mine further up) is not only placed further down, but was by John Henry. Nevertheless, I have to say that I find it strange that you don’t see your comments about Saint John Paul as disrespectful – calling him shallow and suggesting he craved the limelight, as well as making unfounded assertions about the extent of his culpability with respect to the sex abuse scandal would seem to me to be not very respectful at all.

    Furthermore, the reasons you have stated as to you lack of admiration for John Paul are, as has already been pointed out, simply your opinion. You haven’t provided any evidence for your claims – rather you have put forth a mixture of hearsay (re his culpability), slurs on his character, strange statements about the authorship of his encyclicals, and claims (also unsupported) that popular desire to see him canonised was based on nothing but his (apparently self-sought and self-generated) celebrity status.

  40. Michael says:

    Historians will call him Pope John Paul II. In historical literature Thomas More, the subject of this blog, is more usually known as Sir Thomas More, as he was in life, not Saint Thomas More.

    And? Unless you are a member of the Historians Church of Latter Day Not-Saints or something like that, what does it matter what historians might or might not call him?

  41. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, I am not the Adrian you speak of,nor related to him, nor do i know him. Neither am I atheist or agnostic. I am a practising Irish Catholic. That does not oblige me to be an admirer of the late Pope John Paul II.

  42. toadspittle says:

    Personally, I’d always give “Saint” preference over “Sir.”
    So, Jimmy Savile will always be “Sir Jimmy,” to me.

  43. John A. Kehoe says:

    Indeed, and what does it matter what i call him ?

  44. johnhenrycn says:

    “Fair enough”, as Sidney Lumsden always ended his arguments with Ronnie Corbett.

  45. johnhenrycn says:

    No, J.A.K., as a practising Catholic, it is incumbent (more or less) upon you to refer to him as Saint. But really, here endeth the lesson.

  46. John A. Kehoe says:

    John Henry. Since I am being pressed on all sides to provide ‘evidence, for my assertions please show me where in Canon Law it is ‘incumbent’ on me as a Catholic to refer to Pope John Paul II, or to any of the saints, as ‘Saint’.

  47. John A. Kehoe says:

    Well, Jimmy was no Saint.

  48. Michael says:

    If you recognise the authority of the Church to canonise people (i.e.; to affirm that such a person is not only in Heaven, but is worthy of universal public veneration in the Church), and you know that the Church has canonised a particular person, I would say that it follows you should recognise that person as a saint as well, and that, out of respect, you should* refer to them as ‘Saint’. Either you deny that John Paul has been canonised, or you deny the Church’s authority to do so – which is it?

    *I don’t, of course, mean that you have to acknowledge them as such every time you mention their name; only that you should at least do so once when mentioning them, out of respect, and that you should recognise the propriety of doing so.

  49. John A. Kehoe says:

    The Church has authority to canonize persons, and Pope John Paul II has been canonized by the Church. That temporal title does not add one whit to his status in heaven, nor for example on earth in the eyes of those who perhaps as victims found him wanting in the manner in which he dealt with the rising tide of clerical sexual abuse. John Henry is telling me, however, that as a practising Catholic I must call him ‘Saint’. Would love to know where that obligation for Catholics is set out in Canon Law.

  50. Michael says:

    Would love to know where that obligation for Catholics is set out in Canon Law.

    I would have thought the matter had more to do with the authority that canonisations have, which would be a theological, not a legal matter. For some discussion of what kind of obedience is owed to definitions of this kind by the Magisterium, see here:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05092a.htm

    There is only one relevant section in the Code of Canon Law that I can find that deals with the veneration of saints, here:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4D.HTM

    Ironically, this code was promulgated by none other than…Saint John Paul II!

    That temporal title does not add one whit to his status in heaven

    Temporal title? Again, do you believe the Church has the authority to say that a given person is in Heaven or not? Despite the fact that you said they do, your following sentence (quoted above) implies very heavily that you don’t.

  51. johnhenrycn says:

    Please, J.A.K, give it a rest. Michael’s reply to you at 17:56, especially his last paragraph, should be sufficient, but at the risk of continuing our tête-à-tête past its best before date (which also reminds one of Adrian Meades) for you to call sainthood a mere “temporal title” is incorrect. By canonising John Paul, the Church served formal notice on all faithful Catholics that he practiced a life of “heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace” (CCC 828) and it is incumbent upon you to accept that judgment.

  52. Michael says:

    Well said JH, and I think you’re right – time to give it a rest. Here endeth the second lesson…again!

  53. John A. Kehoe says:

    Being declared a Saint by the Church does not add anything to the place or status of the person already in heaven. If we believe otherwise it means that the Church on earth can by a declaration INCREASE the reward of a person already in heaven whose reward on reaching there has already been determined by God.

    Of course the Church has authority to declare that a person is in heaven. But once there, with that person’s eternal reward determined by God alone, that person’s eternal reward cannot be increased by a declaration of canonization by the Church on earth. Anything else means the Church on earth by declaration can alter a person’s eternal reward in heaven

  54. Michael says:

    Sorry, I know I said I’d give it a rest, but nobody is saying that canonisation adds to the status of someone in Heaven. What is the case though, is that canonisation recognises that they are in Heaven. My point was that once the Church has recognised this, it is incumbent upon the faithful to recognise it also, by, for instance, referring to them as ‘Saint’ – a term which is not a mere ‘temporal title’ but a recognition that such a person is definitely in Heaven enjoying the Beatific Vision.

    To do otherwise is to implicitly deny either that they are in Heaven, or that the Church has the authority to say that they are, as I wrote above. But now I am definitely going – this has gone on far too long, and all the relevant points of disagreement are clear enough for anyone to see already.

  55. John A. Kehoe says:

    Am pleased to give it a rest unless at some stage you might consider a debate on the authority of the Church by a declaration of canonization, seemingly suggested in this blog, to alter or increase the eternal reward in heaven of a person already determined by God on his or her reaching heaven.

  56. johnhenrycn says:

    So as to end this kerfuffle on a lighter note, one paragraph in Michael’s link to the Code of Canon Law:

    “Can.1189: If they are in need of repair, precious images, that is, those distinguished by age, art, or veneration, which are exhibited in churches or oratories for the reverence of the faithful are never to be restored without the written permission of the ordinary; he is to consult experts before he grants permission.”

    reminds me of this BBC report.🙂

  57. Michael says:

    🙂 I particularly love the concluding paragraph:

    Our correspondent says that to make matters worse, the local centre that works to preserve artworks had just received a donation from the painter’s granddaughter which they had planned to use to restore the original fresco.

  58. Michael says:

    Seeing as I don’t believe the Church has the authority to do that, and noone here has actually suggested it, I don’t think there is much cause for debate. Cheerio!

  59. GC says:

    Not to suggest any doubt at all concerning Mr Kehoe, but his contributions to the blog are in fact from Ireland. However, Adrian Meades, in both his town and country incarnations, is in England.

  60. John A. Kehoe says:

    Dear GC, No. I am from Ireland but not from County Wicklow. I live in Dublin but was born in County Wexford where I also have a home. I am a lawyer. I went to Catholic schools, the last being St Peter’s College Wexford which was the focus of a Government Report The Ferns Report
    (2005), still on the internet, detailing clerical sexual abuse at that College. My classmate Donal Collins, later a priest-teacher there, became a serial abuser of students, was convicted of sexual abuse, went to jail and was defrocked. Other priests associated with the College were also abusers. One committed suicide while awaiting criminal trial. I have accordingly a healthy skepticism about the Catholic Church. Excessive respect for it was the cause of its decline.

    i do not know Adrian Meades, the dear man, and am amused that my contributions should be likened to his.

  61. toadspittle says:

    “Excessive respect for (the Catholic Church) was the cause of its decline.”
    Excessive anything must be regarded with the greatest caution and scepticism.

    Off Topic:
    My spies tell me that today, July 4th, is the 5th Anniversary of CP&S. This, despite the pestiferous and persistent attentions of the appalling Toad. Happy Birthday!

  62. Robert says:

    Giving the Masses the entertainment and popularism that they what! That is the worlds version of sanctity Oh and includes the common agreement of pagan sects and religions. But this world is against Christ sic DIVORCE , ABORTION (MASS MURDER) , EVOLUTION so it follows that popular Sanctity DOES NOT approve of Christlike.
    Only 147 interconnected private Enterprises monopolise Global Capital! This tells me there is a concentration of monopoly control of commodities/services/finance and key markets. That should raise alarm bells because popularity is of the world!
    To be of Christ today is to be vilified derided and scorned look there for saints.

  63. Robert says:

    Michael we judge a Pope and indeed priests/bishops in accordance with Christ. Lovest Thou Me more than the rest? I won’t be drawn in judgement over poor sinners and certainly not in worldly terms. Our Lord seeks and sought out poor sinners! Understand this Our Lord accepted Judas as one of the twelve!! Learn not to judge and condemn in the eyes of the world.
    What I am pointing out is that a masonic curia led to charismatic personal cult of the Pope, sought publicity and acclaim. That is placing the Pope before Christ.
    Detest the Sin but the poor Sinner is to be Converted.

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