A Man for all Seasons

...[to Will Roper] Now, listen, Will. Two years ago you were a passionate churchman. Now you're a passionate Lutheran. We must just pray that when your head's finished turning, your face is to the front again.."

The Classic film "A Man for All Seasons" aired last night on TCM. It caused me to pause and reflect upon certain themes which I have been teaching my students in Pre-Confirmation. That is, that we as Catholics must be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of the Faith.

I often hear, especially working a a prison, the phrase "I let my conscience be my guide". But what if that conscience is not properly formed? Conscience is only formed by right thinking. St Thomas absolutely conducted right thinking. As an example he refused to to give his consent to William Roper the younger his daughter Margaret in marriage. Why? Because he was a heretic. Roper had adopted the Lutheran ideologies because he opposed certain problems in the Catholic Church. In the end, William, forgoes his heresy and returns to the Faith. It was not by battering William Roper the head, it was by the demonstration of Faith in action and by a properly formed conscience that won William Roper back. One may remark that it was the love of "Meg' that caused his return yet, is it not Love which draws us to the Faith? Or, could it be that Gods Love for William Roper shone through Margaret More?

St Thomas More could have escaped his trial and execution by simply saying that the marriage of King to Anne Boleyn was valid. Where he could not say this in his own daughters betrothal, his right formed conscience told him he could make no allowances for the King's. He was presented with bribes, with position, but in the end he remained true to the Faith and faithful to the Pope. He was executed for it. That is the most sublime definition of martyrdom.

Everyday we are presented with choices as to whether or not to make allowances in some way. How we face these challenges is the truly heroic part of our Faith. St Thomas showed us how to face these challenges. He reminds us that in the end we all face judgement and there won't be allowances.

de Brantigny

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