Henry VIII

Anniversary Reflections on the Last Days of King Louis XVI

Early on the morning of January 21, 1793, King Louis XVI heard his last Mass. Following Mass, the king was taken from his prison to the Palace Louis XV, where he would suffer the same fate on the same date as Agnes of Rome, the ancient martyr commemorated in the Mass of the day. This [...]

What Has Changed Since St. Thomas More’s Time?

Professor Benjamin Wiker’s new book, Saints versus Scoundrels, introduces readers to some of the “greatest questions” in life and philosophy by imagining what two historical figures might say to each other if they happened to meet up in the professor’s study. Wiker pairs up two such figures—a saint and a scoundrel—in St. Thomas More and [...]

The Narrowness of Martyrdom

A broad justification for martyrdom is preferable to a narrow one. A person would prefer to die for something grand, sweeping, and generally held. Perhaps world peace, or what used to be called the fellowship of man. Martyrdom is in practice narrow. When St. Thomas More died on a scaffold in Henry VIII’s kingdom, it [...]

St. Thomas More: From Renaissance Man to Christian Martyr

When we consider the period in Western civilization known today as the Renaissance, we encounter a time of notable change in virtually every area of culture. Visual art was departing from the purely symbolic, representative forms of the Middle Ages and exhibiting a more earthly, mundane realism, and while it continued to concentrate on religious [...]

Saint Thomas More (1478-1535)

February 7 (the anniversary of his birth) It was the stubble.  That, more than anything, drew me to Saint Thomas More when I was young.  Of course, I had seen the film version of Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, and I enjoyed it.  You are a bad fellow if you don’t like [...]

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