St. Thomas Moore - The Heavenly Patron of KCYM

"The King's good servant, but God's first."


St. Thomas More, who lived with the principal 'Rejoice in the lord', is the heavenly patron of KCYM. Later on Thomas More, who was popularly known as the patron of advocates, was also declared as the patron of politicians.

Thomas More was born in Milk Street, London on February 7, 1478 as the son of Sir John More, a well-known judge. Thomas More completed his schooling in St. Anthony's School in London. As a youth he served as a page in the household of Archbishop Morton. More went on to study at Oxford under Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn. During his studies, he wrote comedies and learnt Greek and Latin literature. One of his first works was an English translation of a Latin biography of the Italian humanist Pico della Mirandola.

In 1494 More returned to London to study law. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1496 and in 1501 he became a barrister. While at Lincoln's Inn, he determined to become a monk and subjected himself to the discipline of the Carthusians, living at a nearby monastery and taking part of the monastic life. The prayer, fasting, and penance habits stayed with him for the rest of his life. More's desire for monasticism was finally overcome by his sense of duty to serve his country in the field of politics. He entered Parliament in 1504.

One of More's first acts in Parliament had been to urge a decrease in a proposed appropriation for King Henry VII. In 1510, he was appointed one of the two undersheriffs of London. Serving in this position, he gained a reputation for being impartial, and a patron to the poor. In 1511, More's first wife died in childbirth. More was soon married again, to Dame Alice.

In the following year, More attracted the attention of King Henry VIII. In 1515 he accompanied a delegation to Flanders to help clear disputes about the wool trade. Utopia opens with a reference to this very delegation. More was also instrumental in quelling a 1517 London uprising against foreigners, portrayed in the play Sir Thomas More, possibly by Shakespeare. More accompanied the King and court to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1518 he became a member of the Privy Council, and was knighted in 1521.

More helped Henry VIII in writing his Defence of the Seven Sacraments, a repudiation of Luther, and wrote an answer to Luther's reply under a pseudonym. More had garnered Henry's favor, and was made Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523 and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1525.

In the year 1527, More refused to endorse King Henry VIII's plan to divorce Katherine of Aragón. Nevertheless, after the fall of Thomas Wolsey in 1529, More became Lord Chancellor, the first layman yet to hold the post.

In the year 1531, the King discarded himself from the Pope's rule and declared himself the supreme authority of Catholic Church in England. In 1532, More resigned following his disapproval of Henry's stance toward the church. He refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn in June 1533, a matter which did not escape the King's notice.

In 1534 More was one of the person accused of complicity with Elizabeth Barton, the nun of Kent who opposed Henry's break with Rome. In April, 1534, More refused to swear to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy, and was committed to the Tower of London on April 17.

More was found guilty of treason and was beheaded alongside Bishop Fisher on July 6, 1535. More's final words on the scaffold were: "The King's good servant, but God's First." More was beatified in 1886 and canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935.