Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: June 22, 2021 07:02 AM GMT
St. Thomas More was executed in 1535. (Photo supplied)
A group of Catholic lawyers and churchgoers in the Philippines paid tribute to St. Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers and politicians, on his feast day on June 22 at a school named after him.
Lawyers and parishioners gathered at St. Thomas More Academy in Cavite province, south of Manila, to honor the English lawyer and judge beheaded by King Henry VIII.
St. Thomas More opposed the Protestant Reformation in England and was a staunch critic of the Church of England headed by the king.
He refused to recognize the king’s authority as supreme head of the Church of England by refusing to take an oath of allegiance and criticized the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. These acts of defiance led to his execution on July 6, 1535.
“Today, we gather to celebrate the feast of a great man who did not compromise his religious convictions and loyalty to the Catholic Church for selfish gain. St. Thomas More is the patron saint of lawyers and civil servants because he spoke and stood for what is true until his death,” lawyer and devotee Jason Laceda told UCA News.
He said there are “very few” Catholics in the Philippines who know the story of the English saint and the principles he died for, so his group has been spreading devotion to him.
We need politicians like St. Thomas More who put God first in everything
“We, Filipinos, have so many devotions and novenas to saints. But there are very few of us who pray to St. Thomas More, knowing that our country is facing so many political problems like graft and corruption. We need politicians like St. Thomas More who put God first in everything,” Laceda said.
“Our leaders should be like St. Thomas More. When he faced his executioner, he said ‘I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s servant first.’ I hope we can hear the same words from our own leaders.”
“I am tempted to think that this letter of Sir Thomas More could have landed in the hands of King Henry VIII. It could have been the reason why the king had him beheaded,” said Bishop David.
“Do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best,” the saint wrote.