Sir Thomas More: Is he the morally and legally person that we think he is?Sir Thomas More has been in the news a great deal recently. I’m sure that most of you know that he had been convicted and put to death for treason.Many people probably don’t know his conviction was based on the tainted testimony of Richard Rich, who wanted to be as successful as Thomas.
I’m certain Thomas would never have done anything of this nature. All of the problems just kept on escalating, resulting in the death of Thomas. Thomas had to struggle with these problems. His main struggle was remaining loyal to his king and his Holy Church.King Henry VIII was seeking approval from Thomas in obtaining a divorce from his wife Catherine because she was not able to produce any heirs to the throne. The King was looking for his approval because Thomas was respected by society.
The King already had other peoples’ approval . The two men were in conflict because they had a fundamental difference in outlook on what constituted the right balance between the spiritual and the practical. The two were Catholics. Thomas was a representative of the older spirituality, wherein the Church was as a sacred institution and an instrument of God’s will, and which ought to be outside politics.
The King saw the church as a political institution, one that was to bend for him in certain political matters. That is basically the story. The question now facing us is …. were his actions morally right or wrong.
?This is an easy question to answer because Thomas overall was a morally good man.He stayed true to his beliefs. He saw the laws coming from natural laws, created by God. He thought that all laws needed to originate from the natural laws, and if he was to give in to the King he would be going against his morals. When Thomas took this position he had to decide between political expedience and his moral convictions. We all can see what he decided. The King would have preferred Thomas be agreeable with the positive laws because then it would have been easier for him to get his way.
Therefore, looking at the question he was legally right, and also he was right in his actions, or morally right. In the principles of law we see that no one is above the law, so what would give the King the right to get his way, only to keep himself happy and not the people.In the end Thomas decided not to sign the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Succession. This showed us that he was his own person and he couldn’t see why he should allow the king to have all the power. In a sense it is strange how Thomas died to preserve his morality. His friend the Duke of Norfolk gave in to the pressures from the King and is the one who serves as the judge and orders Thomas’ death for treason.
Sir Thomas More reminds Christians that the cost of the calling of Christ is very dear.