Thomas More and the Bishop of Rome.
"My favorite movie is A Man For All Seasons
a film based on the Robert Bolt play of the same name. I first saw it when I was in high school, and I’ve watched it at least once a year every year since then. When I was teaching full time at the seminary, I would show it to my students, and on June 22nd, I would offer a screening to my fellow faculty members. That date, of course, is not accidental, for it is the feast day of the great St. Thomas More, with whose final years the movie deals.
The drama of A Man For All Seasons turns around King Henry VIII’s attempt to secure a divorce from his first wife, Catharine of Aragon, who had been unable to produce for the King a male heir. Through the agency of Cardinal Wolsey his chancellor, Henry sought a dispensation from the Pope, but the Holy Father refused. Upon the death of Wolsey, the King made Thomas More, a man noted for his scholarship, diplomatic skill, and sanctity, his next chancellor, and he continued in his efforts to persuade the Pope.
When he was met, once again, with a rebuff, Henry took matters into his own hands, breaking with Rome and declaring himself supreme head of a new English church, which promptly granted him the divorce he had so ardently sought. Thomas More had been extremely loyal to Henry VIII and solicitous for the good of the English government, but this was too much. Without explicitly providing a reason to explain his action, he simply resigned his office as chancellor. Some of the most affecting scenes in A Man For All Seasons have to do with the years following More’s resignation, when Henry tried, by various means, to frighten and cajole his former chancellor into supporting the new religious arrangement. Through it all, More (played by the magnificent Paul Scofield) held steady, even when he was stripped of his freedom, locked up in the Tower of London, and threatened with the rack..."
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