Saturday, June 22, 2013

John and Thomas: Radical Traditionalists

I don't think this clip from "A Man for all Season" uses Moore's actual words but they do reflect his understanding of the nature of  "the Law" itself, which is a good reason to get hot under the collar when the "Supreme Legislator" confuses the importance of keeping the Law.

Moore and Fisher were amongst the most brilliant men of their age both were radical, returning to the roots of the faith.

Fisher as Chancellor of Cambridge University had turned  upside down, he preached holiness, poverty and simplicity. After centuries of the traditional university curriculum, he added the study of Greek and encouraged the study of Hebrew, really so that students might understand the scriptures more deeply. He was concerned with getting to the roots of the faith, already the second of England's two Universities was coming under Protestant influence from the low countries. He thought that a return to the roots would ensure that students would pursue "Truth" and rediscover the Catholic faith.

What I find fascinating about both these saints is that they were Radical Traditional Catholics, willing to "go the peripheries", well, to death, because they had returned to the roots, whilst so many of the their fellow Churchmen and courtiers were careerist Conservatives, who wanted to live with as little discomfort to themselves as possible.

Remember, John alone amongst all the Bishops of England & Wales during Henry's reign remained loyal and died for the faith, the rest just carried on.


Anonymous said...

I have found Canon Law to be a great help in protecting and defending me against certain Bishops and Archbishops!

ServusMariaeN said...

"whilst so many of the their fellow Churchmen and courtiers were careerist Conservatives, who wanted to live with as little discomfort to themselves as possible."

Father, you summarized so much of the crisis in the Church of the past 50 years in these words. The crisis in the Church is a crisis of bishops as the saying goes. The conciliar church is fraught with modernism. Until modernism is extirpated from the clergy, we shall continue along the same path.

John Nolan said...

Yes, it is useful to remind the English hierarchy that in the 1530s all but one of them followed the king into schism. Most of them thought that the separation was a temporary political expedient, and once Henry had got his way reconciliation would follow.

When it was clear that this was not the case, and schism was followed by heresy, one bishop is said to have remarked ruefully "would that I had stood with my brother Fisher!"

In some ways Fisher is the more heroic; had Henry not vindictively pursued his former friend, More would have retired into private life with his conscience intact and his head still on his shoulders. Fisher, with his outspoken support for Queen Catherine, had been a thorn in the king's side for some time, and would have been dragged on a hurdle to Tyburn and hanged, drawn and quartered had it not been for the fact that he was so frail after his incarceration it was feared that he would have died before he got there.

His skeletal appearance on the scaffold shocked spectators, who were also amazed at the vast amounts of blood which gushed from the body after the head had been struck off.

Cardinal Fisher's execution shocked Catholic Europe - the judicial murder of a Prince of the Church was without precedent.

parepidemos said...


Your quote from Fr. Blake refers to the English bishops of Henry VIII's time when our notion of modernism was nowhere to be seen, although careerism was (and remains) very much present.

The real concern is that Fr. Blake's opening salvo is not aimed at just any bishop, but no less a person than the Vicar of Christ.

Fr Ray Blake said...

No, it is exactly as I say, a defense of the Law, because as EFpe says the Law is our defense. Without the Law we live either in anarchy or a in dictatorship.

We hide amonst the trees, if the trees are cut down where else can we hide. There certainly parallels between then and now.

We can speak certainly speak of Popes and Bishops, Kings and Princes. Presidents and Prime Ministers who are unconstrained by or above the Law.

Long-Skirts said...


“They have abandoned the Fort, those
who should have defended it.” (St. John Fisher)

Who held the Fort
Till the Calvary came
Fighting for all
In His Holy Name?

Who fed the sheep
As the pastures burned dry
A few Good Shepherds
Heeding their cry?

Who led the charge
‘Gainst heresy’s Huns
Defending the degreed
To His lowliest ones?

Who battened down
The hatch of the barque
To warm cold souls
From shivering-seas dark?

“Who?” mocks Satan
Delighting in doubt
Fills you with questions,
Never lets you find out.

“Hoc est enum
Corpus meum…
and for many…” who kept
The dead words – Te Deum!

Celia said...

A couple of years ago, Archbishop Nicholls published a book on St John Fisher, whom he described as his 'hero'. Quite what Fisher would make of the compliment I'm not sure.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think his dissitation was on Fisher

Fr Ray Blake said...

Intriguing idea but I do not think it would be good for either of us to share that.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Father, it's "More," not "Moore."

Fr Ray Blake said...

It is either.

Jim said...

You say either, I say either...

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