Patron Saint of Politicians

Thomas More

The political scene has been hot, as in Hades hot, for quite some time now. I am fairly disgusted with all politicians right now. Now that the governor of the great state, oops republic, of Texas has thrown his cowboy hat in the race, I am especially disgusted.

So I decided to find out about the patron saint of politicians. I’m never disappointed in the weirdness of perspective that saints offer. It’s not quite weirder than weird, but it does offers a leavening perspective.

I probably should add a disclaimer here. I am not a believer in the veneration of dead saints and, with my clergy background, not Catholic either. I have all sorts of opinions (no surprise to you, I’m sure) on the subject, but I’ll stop there.

What’s really fascinating is the real lives of these people. Intrigue, deception, political motivation, personal gain…all wonderful traits for a saint!

Thomas More, of Henry VIII, fame is the patron saint of court clerks, lawyers, politicians, statesmen (not stateswomen?), step-parents, widowers, difficult marriages, and large families. Now that’s an interesting mix. I’ve always wondered how they decided what patronages to ascribe to these people.

I must confess that I can never keep up with all of the nuances, political intrigue, and titles in British history. I love reading British historical fiction and have also read a lot of monarchy stuff, but trying to keep track of who’s who once they receive a title or get a better title, is just about impossible. It’s like having your name changed, and then changed again…and again…with each new title.

Anyway, Thomas More was a prominent lawyer, social philosopher, humanist, and trusted advisor, for awhile, to Henry VIII. He’s also the author of and coined the term Utopia. More used his novel Utopia to discuss controversial contemporary issues such as communal ownership of land, equal education for men and women, and religious tolerance…although atheism wasn’t tolerated.

There were a couple of things More especially detested: the Protestant Reformation, Henry proclaiming himself head of the Church of England, and Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry himself was against the Reformation, but was not so tolerant of a Lord Chancellor unwilling to bow to his anti-Pope and Catholic church behavior. Navigating the tempestuous Henry VIII wasn’t quite so easy and eventually resulted in his imprisonment and execution. More was supposed to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, punishment fitting to a traitor, but Henry was especially partial to beheading.

I really think the only reason Thomas More was eventually beautified was because of his anti-Reformation and anti-Henry VIII stance. I guess one can draw the political distinction because of the political best interest of the Catholic church in Anglican England. But unhappy marriages?!? There isn’t any report he was unhappy in either of his marriages. Step-parents?!? He certainly loved his children, especially making sure his daughters and step-daughter were educated as well as his sons. Large families? His wasn’t especially large, only four children. Now J.S. Bach, on the other hand had twenty children, but then again, he’s not a saint.

Somehow I don’t think the governor of Texas will be calling upon any patron saint of politicians anytime soon. He’s already announced he has his own call.

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