Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums is now online at the Vatican website, click here to enter.

Thanks to Dappled Things for the link.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

The King's good servant, but God's First

Today is also typically the feast day of St. Thomas More, though as many bloggers have noted, it is superceded by the feast of Corpus Christi. Seeing as how Thomas More has become one of my dearest friends in Heaven, I thought I should mention something about him. I am of English descent myself, and so I enjoy reading about the history of England, particularly about the history of the Church of England, especially the pre-"Reformation" Church. Thomas More figures in that history significantly as an honorable statesman and lawyer as well as Lord Chancellor of England. When the Pope refused to grant Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine, which the Pope considered to be a valid marriage, in order that he could marry Anne Boleyn, Henry decided to assume authority for himself. More was imprisoned because he refused to swear to the Oath of Supremacy, which acknowledged the King's new title as Supreme Head of the Church in England, thereby contradicting the jurisdictional authority of the Bishop of Rome. More was later found guilty of high treason and lost his life, due largely to false testimony against him.

It should be noted that when most people, particularly textbooks, try to tell the story of why the Church would not grant Henry the divorce, they often paint the Church as some sort of monolithic structure which, on a whim of its own design, decided not to yield to Henry's desires. In truth, modern historians know precious little about Canon Law and what is meant by the validity or the invalidity of marriages. In truth, there were valid reasons for which the Church did not grant Henry a divorce. Henry had argued that his marriage to Catherine was null because he had married his brother's widow, which was a violation of the Levitical command (Leviticus 18:16), which would mean that his marriage was unlawful and therefore a divorce could be procured. However, historians often fail to note that the Pope proved that Henry's marriage to Catherine was indeed lawful because her marriage to Henry's brother was never consummated. Henry's brother was sickly and died early. There was also an exception to Leviticus given in Deuteronomy 25:5. That is why the Pope gave Henry the dispensation allowing him to marry Catherine in the first place. Therefore, a divorce could not be procured, evidence which Henry apparently chose to ignore.

St. Thomas More is my friend because I look to him as a role model and ask for his prayers for me. If you are interested in learning more about him and reading some of his short and long works, please visit the luminarium website, which is chock full of information.

St. Thomas More, pray for us.
Corpus Christi
John 6:56-59

In illo tempore: Dixit Iesus turbis Iudaeorum: Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus. Qui manducat carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in illo. Sicut misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem: et qui manducat me, et ipse vivet propter me. Hic est panis, qui de caelo descendit. Non sicut manducaverunt patres vestri manna, et mortui sunt. Qui manducat hunc panem, vivet in aeternum.


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