Thomas More (1478-1535) was an Englishman who gained a reputation as a Renaissance humanist. For three years he served as Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, until he was imprisoned and executed due to his conscientious objection to the king’s assertion of ecclesiastical power.
More was beatified in 1886 and canonized a saint, along with John Fisher, in 1935. Previously known as patron of lawyers, More is now also the patron of statesmen and politicians. Blessed JOHN PAUL II accorded him this title on October 31, 2000, with words extolling More’s particular relevance in the new millennium.
“Among these [reasons for this proclamation] is the need felt by the world of politics and public administration for credible role models able to indicate the path of truth at a time in history when difficult challenges and crucial responsibilities are increasing. Today in fact strongly innovative economic forces are reshaping social structures; ... scientific achievements in the area of biotechnology underline the need to defend human life at all its different stages, while the promises of a new society ... urgently demand clear political decisions in favor of the family, young people, the elderly and the marginalized. In this context, it is helpful to turn to the example of St. Thomas More, who distinguished himself by his constant fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions precisely in his intention to serve not power but the supreme ideal of justice. His life teaches us that government is above all an exercise of virtue.”
For more on More, visit these sites:
Catholic Information Network (full biography by John Farrow)
Columbia magazine (Dominic Legge)
Schiller Institute (Muriel Mirak-Wiessbach)
Seattle Catholic (Matthew Anger)
"A Weighty Glory" -- 2 minutes on St. Thomas More