I’m sure we are all familiar with this story to some extent. The one where Henry VIII wants an heir so bad he creates a church that will allow him to divorce his wife and marry the one that gave him a son. There are loads of movies and TV shows about it, most of which do not take into account the Catholic perspective. My husband and I watched The Other Boleyn Girl a few months ago and were shocked how little the Catholic Church and Thomas More were mentioned. Considering the entire fiasco is because of Henry VIII’s view of the Church and disregard for it’s teachings, you’d think it would play a larger role.
Next up in our Lenten movie journey: A Man For All Seasons
I just love learning about the saints! Especially ones who are seemingly normal people just like you and me. Thomas More was a family man, trying to earn a living and be loyal to the King of England. He was a man of deep faith, and was held in very high regard during the time he was alive. That was until Henry VIII went against the Church, and Thomas refused to follow.
I would love to think that if I was placed in a similar situation I would stand firm with the Church like he did. But at the same time, risking being taken away from my family, and facing death? I don’t know what I would do. But I guess that is why he is the saint.
This movie is a great period piece, with wonderful costumes and scenery that draws you in to England in the 1500s. It focuses on the events leading up to More’s eventual conviction and beheading, as King Henry VIII’s advisers scramble to find a way for him to marry Anne Boleyn. As Catholic’s, they know the Pope will not grant a divorce, so the King declares himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and allows himself to divorce and remarry in that church. More refuses to accept this, and cleverly avoids being tried for treason for some time, by never uttering the actual words. He will neither deny nor confirm what everyone assumes to be true, and is locked in the Tower of London as punishment, until they can prove that he has committed treason. If it is possible, it is quite the comical portrayal of More, as he avoids being convicted of any crime. As a lawyer, he knows the power of perfect wording, and they have some trouble finding him guilty of anything. But in the end, once he is finally convicted of high treason, thanks false testimony, he admits that he does not acknowledge the King as the head of a Church saying “no temporal man may be the head of the spirituality”.
Upon the steps before his execution, he calmly uttered his famous final words, as he declared he was “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
A fantastic film, and must watch for all Catholics, and especially those that love shows like Downton Abbey and The Tudors, it gives you a great Catholic perspective on that time in England.