Thomas Moore, English politician and, humanist
Reflections on this great holy politician
Author: José Gómez Cerda | Source: Catholic.net
Reflections on this great holy politician
Thomas Moore, English politician, and humanist
He was an English politician and humanist, (1478-1535), decapitated by order of King Henry VIII, for supporting the position of the Catholic Church of opposing his divorce.
By: José Gómez Cerda | Source: Catholic.net
Thomas Moore, an English politician, and humanist, was born in London in 1478, died in that same city in 1535, decapitated by order of King Henry VIII, for supporting the position of the Catholic Church of opposing his divorce.
He studied at Oxford University and entered to the English court as a jurist. His experience as a lawyer and judge, made him reflect on the injustice of the world, in light of his intellectual relationship with European humanists, such as Erasmus of Rotterdam. Since 1504 he was a member of the Parliament, where he noted for his bold stances against injustices.
His most important work as a political thinker was his book Utopia. In that writing he criticized the established political and social order, under the formula of imagining a perfect community; his model is characterized by social equality, religious faith, tolerance, and the rule of Law, combining democracy with general obedience to rational government planning.
King Henry VIII, attracted by his intellectual worth, promoted him to positions of importance: ambassador in the Netherlands (1515), member of the Private Council (1517), spokesman of the House of Commons (1523) and chancellor since 1529. He was the first laic man to occupy this political position in England. Thomas Moore was the most attractive political figure of the early sixteenth century, the voice of the conscience of the first English reform, one of the three greatest personalities of the English Renaissance.
He helped the king preserve the unity of the Catholic Church of England, rejecting the doctrines of Luther; and he tried, while he could, to maintain the outer peace. However, he ended up breaking up with Henry VIII for reasons of conscience, as he was a fervent Catholic. Moore declared his opposition and resigned as chancellor, when the king wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn; the king broke the relations with the Pope, appropriated of the goods of the monasteries and demanded the English clergy a complete submission to his authority. England passed from the Catholic religion to the Anglican, directed by Henry VIII.
The refusal of Thomas Moore to recognize as legitimate the marriage of Henry VIII with Anne Boleyn, swearing to the law of succession, made the King lock him up in the Tower of London, in 1534 and decapitate him the following year, an act which shows how far his moral and intellectual honesty went. A year after the decapitation of Thomas Moore, Anne Boleyn was imprisoned in the same Tower of London, and also decapitated by order of the King.
In Thomas Moore, we can find an example of life, an honest politician and a model for those laics who, wanting to live in the middle of the world, seek to transform it and bring it to God. Thomas Moore was a political model, honest for his eagerness to serve, he saw politics as his way of serving God: his vocation.
The concept of Utopia was proposed for the first time by Thomas Moore.
In his book UTOPIA Thomas Moore, in 1516 raises the possibility of creating a fair state in which all its inhabitants reach happiness, by the organization of the state, who believe that it is the best and only way to govern honestly.
UTOPIA is a country where there is nothing private, everything is common and nobody lacks anything. Its inhabitants are rich even if they do not possess.
The idea of an island "no place" is a perfect image, because it implies the need to discover that place.
Some of the antecedents to the work of Thomas Moore are the FACTS OF THE APOSTLES, which says; "the multitude of believers had only one heart and one soul and no one considered their own what they possessed, but they had all things in common... There was no one in need among them because those who owned fields or houses sold them, carried the price of the sale, put it at the feet of the apostles and was distributed to each according to their need "(Acts 4, 32-35).
This passage of the Acts of the Apostles, describes Moore well not only for being a martyr of the faith but for his honesty, coherence, and testimony of Christian life, for his unity of life.
Along with the Acts of the Apostles, in Thomas Moore, we must highlight the notable influence of St. Augustine, as evidenced by the fact that in his writings he is the most quoted author among all the Fathers of the Church. He had a deep knowledge of "The City of God", the Book of St. Augustine, about the two loves that founded both cities; the earthly and the heavenly.
Both authors, first of all, seek to understand the relationship between the city of God, which cannot, nor should be identified with the earthly Church, and the city of men, nor identifiable with any form of government. In this sense, the works of Saint Augustine and Thomas Moore, read in their historical contexts, fill with light the traditional doctrine of the Church regarding the relationship between the Church and the political power. One talks about the History of Theology, the other one of utopian thought. Moore, like St. Augustine, possessed an inner strength: his passion for truth, inheritances of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
At the time of Thomas Moore, the thought of Machiavelli was penetrating, who wrote in those years his main works: the Speeches about the first decade of Tito Livio and the Prince, who triumphed with his model of conceiving political knowledge. Also Martin Luther. They were the ideologues he was to refute with the weapons of his pen and his doctrine.