9th July: Feast of SS John Fisher & Thomas More – Pray for the Church!

9th July: Feast of SS John Fisher & Thomas More – Pray for the Church!

Martyrdom of St John Fisher (Bishop)

From the YouTube platform…

These were his actual last words:

“Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church; and, I thank God, hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death; wherefore I desire you all to help and assist with your prayers, that, at the very point and instant of death’s stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith, free from any fear. And I beseech Almighty God of his infinite goodness to save the king and this realm, and that it may please him to hold his holy hand over it, and send the king a good council.” St. John Fisher, great and holy Matryr, pray for us!  Click here to read a slightly fuller account of the execution…

Sentencing of St Thomas More (Lawyer/Chancellor of England)

From the YouTube platform…

The scene from “A Man for All Seasons” (Fred Zimmermann, 1966) in which Sir Thomas More is finally convicted of high treason and sentenced to death for refusing to swear an oath that King Henry VIII is the supreme head of the Church in England and that Anne Boleyn is now Queen of England.
[Editor: note that Henry VIII did not intend to establish a new Church.  He wanted to be recognised as head of the Church in England, not “of” England.]

I love this scene because More’s statement is a perfect summary of the Medieval mindset, which is so foreign to modern viewers but amazing in its completeness, complexity, and other-ness: a self-consistent worldview that is completely foreign from our modern, scientific, post-Enlightenment cosmology.

It is also a compelling story to see More’s sacrifices for that belief. In a sense, the movie can be read as a story of the conflict between the Medieval and Modern worldview, with More personifying the former and Cromwell and Rich the latter. Vestiges of that battle continue even today.

Here’s the transcript of More’s statement:

MORE: Since the court has determined to condemn me, God knoweth how, I will now discharge my mind concerning the indictment and the King’s title.

The indictment is granted in an act of Parliament, which is directly repugnant to the law of God and his Holy Church, the supreme government of which no temporal person may *by any law* presume to take upon him!

This was granted by the mouth of our Savior, Christ Himself, to Saint Peter and the Bishops of Rome *whilst he lived* and was *personally present* here on Earth!

It is therefore insufficient in law to charge any Christian to obey it. And more to this: the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and in the King’s own coronation oath!

CROMWELL: Now, we plainly see you *are* malicious!

MORE: Not so! I am the King’s true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. If this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live.


Nevertheless! It is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!  Ends. 


We need martyrs of the calibre of Bishop John Fisher and St Thomas More at this point in history, with the Church afflicted by bad priests and prelates who are causing immense scandal, in order to show the Faith in its fullness to a disbelieving world.  Only today, in an email exchange,  a non-Catholic friend for whom I pray the grace of the Catholic religion, remarked that neither this Pope nor our Scottish bishops give him any cause to consider embracing Catholicism.  I had to reply that, of course, I “get it.” 

Invoking these two great Reformation martyrs, then, let us  pray for all those who are scandalised and prevented from coming to the fullness of the Faith by those responsible for this unprecedented Church crisis.  St John Fisher, pray for us… St Thomas More, pray for us…   

Comments (14)

  • Miles Immaculatae

    I particularly like St Thomas More, because he is one of the few married laymen to have been canonised. Most Saints on the calendar were celibate.

    Henry VIII believed that he had the right to be Pope in his own realm. St Thomas More is an example for us to follow and a Saint to turn to when combating the error of collegiality which presently afflicts the Church. Collegiality undermines the Traditional doctrine of Petrine primacy.

    July 9, 2021 at 4:03 am
    • Margaret Mary


      Henry VIII only came to believe that he had the right to be Pope in his own realm, England, when the Pope refused him an annulment and recognise his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Before that, he was given the title “Defender of the Faith” for refuting Luther’s heresies. To this day, the monarch, the Queen, has that title and everyone thinks it refers to the Church of England.

      It’s also laughable because there are several members of the royal family now divorced and remarried. “O what a tangled web we weave!”

      July 9, 2021 at 10:34 am
    • editor


      Yes, the fact that St Thomas More was a married man with a large family, gives the lie to those who use their marital status as an excuse to go along to get along, during the current unprecedented crisis in the Church.

      Nobody has any excuse – ordained or lay – to exempt themselves from their Confirmation obligation to defend the Faith under attack.

      July 9, 2021 at 10:54 am
    • Athanasius

      Miles Immaculatae

      St. Thomas More used words in relation to Henry VIII’s evil actions which our bishops should have echoed in paraphrase when the civil authorities demanded the closure of Churches under the pretext of a pandemic, i.e. “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first”.

      That’s the difference between a Catholic with the faith and a Catholic who has lost the faith. Our bishops said yes to evil legislation and banished God. Or, to put it in its full hypocritical stark context: “we are God’s good servants, but the world’s first”!

      I am now fully of the mind that those bishops and priests who have gone along with the wicked COVID scam to the great detriment of souls are no longer Catholic in any meaningful sense. Hence, the faithful would do well to abandon their faithless Modernist parishes and take immediate refuge in Traditional Mass churches.

      It is still so difficult to grasp that most of the bishops and priests have actually spat in Our Lord’s face by their choosing of bodily over spiritual health. Apostates, all!

      July 9, 2021 at 3:26 pm
  • Mary Anne

    Both so sad! I pray for the fortitude and deep holiness they both had ! I had never seen St. John Fishers story and it moved me greatly to read it. Thank you

    July 9, 2021 at 4:16 am
    • Margaret Mary

      Mary Anne,

      It’s important to notice that the film does what films do, and tries to make the saint seem “human” by having the actor saying how afraid he is of death. When you read the saint’s actual words, they don’t match those in the film.

      July 9, 2021 at 10:38 am
      • editor


        To be fair, the film script didn’t really change anything of the sense of what St John Fisher said – he did ask for prayers that he would not, through fear of death, or “through any fear”, deny any point of the Catholic faith. This would be purely to make it immediately understandable to a listening audience, so I would not read anything nefarious into the different wording in the film.

        July 9, 2021 at 10:48 am
    • editor

      Mary Anne,

      I agree – there’s very little on YouTube about St John Fisher but plenty of clips from A Man For All Seasons.

      So, just as, at the time, Bishop John Fisher alone of all the Bishops of England, stood against the King’s attempt to replace the Pope as Supreme Head of the Church in England, so today he is too often kept in the background. Not here, though, and not today!

      We should pray to him for our bishops in the UK, who have lost the Faith – and manifestly so. St John Fisher, pray for them…

      July 9, 2021 at 10:52 am
  • westminsterfly

    There is a statue of St Thomas More on the Chelsea Embankment in London. Wonder how long before BLM pull that one down. The church behind the statue is an Anglican church – Chelsea Old Church – but I was once told that it possesses first-class relics of St Thomas More. Not sure if that is still the case. The parish website is here, with a bit of history about St Thomas:- http://www.chelseaoldchurch.org.uk/thomasmore http://britainunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/morestatue.jpg

    July 9, 2021 at 10:38 am
  • westminsterfly

    Sorry – there are two links in my post above – the first one to the parish church website and the second is a photo of the statue.

    July 9, 2021 at 10:41 am
    • editor


      Thank you for both links. I’ve just read the first, to the Chelsea Old Church and noted this irony of ironies nugget near the end of the piece…

      He was canonised in 1935 and in 1980 was added as martyr of the reformation to the Church of England’s calendar of “Saints and Heroes of the Christian Church”

      The idea of the C of E celebrating the Feast of the saint who opposed the King’s claim to the Supremacy via (what turned out to be) the C of E, will be lost on many, if not most who read it.

      I agree about the “Woke” brigade – they’ll have to go after that statue because St Thomas More was… white. And he used the word “supremacy”. What a battle that will be when it comes into the public forum!

      Could you – I mean, COULD you make this stuff up?

      July 9, 2021 at 10:45 am
  • Faith of Our Fathers

    I didn’t know until I looked at this Post ED of this Feast Day. 2 Great Men who stood alone against a Kingdom. I always smile at the Bit in the Film –A Man for All Seasons –when St Thomas More asks Richy Rich about the Chain around His neck . Of course we all know that Rich said ,that He was now the Head Bummer of Wales ,for giving Lying Testimony against St Thomas. Then St Thomas Famous Words of . ” What Does it Profit a Man if He should Gain The Whole World yet Suffer The Loss of His Soul. – But for Wales Richy, for Wales “.Of course it gained Rich nothing for a few years later it was not only his Head in a Basket but His Soul.
    It’s changed Days now . For now we have a Man for all Reasons in The Vatican. Except of course The Correct ones .

    July 9, 2021 at 2:08 pm
  • Marinaio

    “The fort is betrayed by those who should have defended it!” These words of St. John Fisher are so relevant to our situation today, are they not? When I was in grade school, the good Franciscan nuns told us stories of martyrs and gave us accounts of places around the world — even in the 1960s — where Catholics were being killed for the Faith (especially in Communist countries). It seemed so distant and so unlikely that we would be put to the test. Many of us children remarked that we were grateful to God that we were born and lived in America, where those things “could never happen”. But those wise Irish nuns cautioned us: “You never know what the future holds.” Now, the fort has been betrayed by the likes of Cupich, Tobin, and Francis himself. Let us join St. John Fisher in praying that if tested, we will persevere to the end, rather than (as our Editor wrote) “deny any point of our beautiful Catholic Faith.”

    July 9, 2021 at 2:57 pm
    • editor


      Yes, those famous words of St John Fisher – the only Bishops in England to stand up for the Truth at the time of the Reformation – do, indeed apply to our situation today. Here in Scotland, we don’t even have one bishop standing against the modernist takeover.

      And so it remains true, sadly, that “The fort is betrayed even by those who should have defended it”:

      ST JOHN FISHER’S reply to Bishops Stokesley, Gardiner and Tunstal, who were sent to the Tower by Thomas Cromwell to persuade Fisher to submit to the King:

      Methinks it had been rather our parts to stick together in repressing these violent and unlawful intrusions and injuries dayly offered to our common mother, the holy Church of Christ, than by any manner of persuasions to help or set forward the same.

      And we ought rather to seek by all means the temporal destruction of the so ravenous wolves, that daily go about worrying and devouring everlastingly, the flock that Christ committed to our charge, and the flock that Himself died for, than to suffer them thus to range abroad.

      But (alas) seeing we do it not, you see in what peril the Christian state now standeth: We are besieged on all sides, and can hardly escape the danger of our enemy. And seeing that judgment is begone at the house of God, what hope is there left (if we fall) that the rest shall stand!

      The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. And therefore seeing the matter is thus begun, and so faintly resisted on our parts, I fear that we be not the men that shall see the end of the misery.

      Wherefore, seeing I am an old man and look not long to live, I mind not by the help of God to trouble my conscience in pleasing the king this way whatsoever become of me, but rather here to spend out the remnant of my old days in praying to God for him.

      And with that, I will close this Feast Day thread to comments, with thanks to all who contributed to it.

      July 10, 2021 at 8:55 am

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