Do not judge and you will not be judged

After Fr Paul reads today’s gospel (Matthew 7:1-5) he shares a bit about the lives of the two saints whose feast we celebrate, St Thomas More and St John Fisher.

Thomas More was born in London in 1478 and was the son of a judge. Thomas, himself, became a very eminent lawyer. He married twice, had four children and wrote a book called ‘Utopia’, which is still read to this day. Thomas was a close friend of King Henry VIII and was famous for his incorruptibility and impartiality.  In 1529, he was made High Chancellor – the highest legal position in England.

When Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon, Thomas opposed him. He resigned in 1532 and refused to acknowledge the Act of Suppression. He was imprisoned, charged with treason (like St John Fisher), found guilty and executed in 1535. Thomas refused to recognise Henry as the supreme head of the Church in England. He famously said to spectators on his way to his execution that he was ‘still the King’s servant but he was God’s first’.

St John Fisher was born in Beverley, Yorkshire in 1469. After a number of years teaching and in University, he became Bishop of Rochester. He wrote extensively against the errors and corruption from which the Church was suffering at the time. He was imprisoned, briefly, for supporting the validity of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.  When Henry installed himself as supreme head of the Church in England, John Fisher (like St Thomas More) refused to recognise this.

John was charged with treason and, a month after being made a cardinal by the Pope, he was executed on 22 June 1535.

Both of these men are examples to us of integrity and faithfulness and so we celebrate their lives today.