St. Thomas Becket

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St. Thomas Becket, of England.
As we know, there has been a long history of oppression of the Church in England. To this day, it is illegal for any Catholic to become king or Queen of England. This all goes back to Henry VIII starting his own church, the Church of England, so that he could marry another woman – and another, and another…
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In those days, Catholics held secret Masses, risking their lives, such as St. Margaret Clitherow who gave her life for Christ so that the holy Mass could be said in her home. This is the reason that England has always been even to modern times, mostly all Anglican. It is interesting to note that today, more Catholics go to Church in England than Anglicans, so our persistence is paying off!
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But pressure against the Catholic Church actually did not begin just with Henry VIII in 1530. If we go back to 1160, we find St. Thomas Becket, our saint for today. He was chancellor of England, and he had to resist pressure that the king was putting on the Church. So the king sent his executioners to dispatch Thomas.
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When they came to the Church, many tried to defend him, but Thomas opened the church door himself saying: I gladly face death for the Church of God. He commended his flock and himself to God, and bowed for execution where he died by the sword.
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Here in the United States, most people don’t imagine there could be persecution against the Church, but it is beginning now in the form of government and legal pressures to conform to the secular mindset.
– Laws forcing the Church to pay for medical procedures we morally oppose.
– When a person is dismissed from working for the Church because of their sinful lifestyle, the newspapers cry ‘discrimination,’ and the lawsuits begin.
– Laws against the consciences of doctors, nurses and pharmacists,
– the ridicule of those who oppose same-sex marriage, the list goes on.
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Cardinal George once remarked: ‘The way things are going, I will die in my bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.’
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When Christ was born, Simeon prophesied: this child is set for the fall and rise of many and a sign that will be contradicted. It was this way with Jesus, but also for his followers.
The Church is most glorious when persecuted, because persecution weeds out those who are not really faithful, and makes the rest prove their metal. Let us therefore follow St. Thomas Becket in faithfulness, regardless of what they say.

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