St Thomas More and St John Fisher

These two men share a feast together.


They are very different from each other.


Thomas was a married man and grand Chancellor of England. John was a bishop from a humble background. Both were learned men.


They shared a love for the church and were both Martyrs.


King Henry the Eighth of England had just declared himself head of the church in England.


As Catholics, these two men could not in conscience accept this since Catholics believe that the Pope is the head of the Church here on earth as Vicar of Christ.


They were both charged with treason for refusing to accept the king’s claim and condemned to die.


Both were indeed executed for their faith.


John Fisher refused to condemn those other bishops who had gone along with the king’s request. He would not judge their conscience while remaining true to his.


He of course did not agree with their choice but still respected them.


Shortly before he died Thomas said, “I die the king’s good servant but God’s servant first”.


The unity of the church is very important.


Indeed, the role of the pope is to be a Centre of Unity for the Church following the commission given by Christ to Peter.


Unity or Communion with the Bishop of Rome has throughout history been seen as being connected with the universal Church.