Guest / Limited Access /

With the presidential election fast approaching and a Roman Catholic candidate in a near dead heat with the incumbent, it's a good time to remember the man Catholics honor as politics' patron saint. In the year Thomas More's patronage was declared, former Christian History editor Elesha Coffman provided readers of this newsletter with some thoughts on that fiercely principled man's career and character. They are worth revisiting:

On November 5, just in time for our presidential election, Pope John Paul II is set to propose Thomas More (1477-1535) as the patron saint for politicians, making him "a model and intercessor for all those who consider their political commitment as a choice of life." While exemplary in many respects, More is not quite a model for all seasons.

Aside from being the author of the satire Utopia, More is best known for opposing King Henry VIII's demand to be recognized as head of the English church. But that decision came at the end of a long and brilliant career. In his youth he was a bright student at Oxford, then a promising lawyer at Furnival's Inn, and almost a candidate for the priesthood; his good friend Erasmus wrote that "the one thing that prevented him from giving himself to that kind of life was that he could not shake off the desire of the married state." More did marry (twice; his first wife died), and he pursued his legal career zealously, gaining royal favor along the way. He hit the top in 1529 when Henry named him chancellor, a position no layman had ever held.

The king greatly enjoyed More's company, often inviting himself over for dinner and taking long walks through More's gardens. He also liked More's theology—initially. When Henry was working on his defense of the seven sacraments, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedPope Francis Apologizes for Pentecostal Persecution, But Italy's Evangelicals Remain Wary
Pope Francis Apologizes for Pentecostal Persecution, But Italy's Evangelicals Remain Wary
A 'near totality' warn U.S. evangelicals (and others) against becoming too friendly with the Catholic Church.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickDesire and Deliverance
Desire and Deliverance
Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Politicians' Patron
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.