Catholicism, Catholic, Traditional Catholicism, Catholic Church


``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


Feast of
St. Thomas Becket

 

 

On this, the fifth day of Christmas, after having honored the martyrdom of St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents, we remember yet another martyr -- St. Thomas Becket (sometimes known as "Thomas of Canterbury" or Thomas Becket").

St. Thomas was born in London on 21 December 1118 to Norman parents who'd lived in England for some time. The Catholic Encyclopedia gives this description of him as found in the Icelandic Saga:
To look upon he was slim of growth and pale of hue, with dark hair, a long nose, and a straightly featured face. Blithe of countenance was he, winning and loveable in his conversation, frank of speech in his discourses, but slightly stuttering in his talk, so keen of discernment and understanding that he could always make difficult questions plain after a wise manner.

Educated in Paris, he later became the clerk of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to Bologna and Auxerre to study canon law and ordained him as a deacon.

Around this time, Henry II became King of England and, upon the advice of Archbishop Theobald, made him his chancellor. Thomas and the King became great friends due to their mutual interests and love of luxury. Thomas even took up arms with King Henry when the monarch went to battle in Toulouse, and is said to have served well as a warrior.

When Archbishop Theobald died in 1161, King Henry did all in his power to see that Thomas took over his archdiocese. Thomas was not happy about the idea but, urged on by Cardinal Henry of Pisa, was ordained priest on a Saturday in Whitweek, and was consecrated as Bishop the next day, Sunday, 3 June, 1162.

After attaining the See of Canterbury, something changed in him. He gave up his former life of indulgence and focused on penance and prayer. His friendship with King Henry, however, became strained after he resisted various plans that Henry wanted to institute -- but the issue that led to St. Thomas's martyrdom concerned jurisdiction: King Henry wanted all clerics to assent to the Constitutions of Clarendon (1164) which asserted that the King, not the Church, had jurisdiction over criminal clerks. Thomas at first assented, but later stood tall and spoke out for the rights of the Church. Threatened with imprisonment or death, he fled to the Pope for a resolution to the matter, and then exiled himself for a few years in a French Cistercian abbey, devoting himself even more deeply to penance. While there, he also excommunicated the Bishops of London and Salisbury for siding with the King.

An uneasy peace was worked out between Thomas and Henry, and so Thomas, amid the cheers of the local people, returned to Canterbury. But he refused to lift the censures against the Bishops who stood with the King against the Church.

Meanwhile, the second most powerful cleric -- Roger of York -- had the King's ear, and told him that as long as Thomas lived, the King would never have a tranquil kingdom. The King is said to have cried, "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" -- whereupon, four knights -- William de Tracy, Richard Brito, Hugh de Moreville, and Reginald FitzUrse -- who overheard the conversation set out to grant the King's wishes. It was the afternoon of 29 December 1170 when the four knights entered Canterbury Cathedral. An eyewitness named Edward Grim tells us what happened next:

After the monks took [Thomas] through the doors of the church, the four aforementioned knights followed behind with a rapid pace. A certain subdeacon, Hugh the Evil-clerk, named for his wicked offense and armed with their malice, went with them -- showing no reverence for either God or the saints because by following them he condoned their deed. When the holy archbishop entered the cathedral the monks who were glorifying God abandoned vespers -- which they had begun to celebrate for God -- and ran to their father whom they had heard was dead but they saw alive and unharmed.

They hastened to close the doors of the church in order to bar the enemies from slaughtering the bishop, but the wondrous athlete turned toward them and ordered that the doors be opened. "It is not proper," he said, "that a house of prayer, a church of Christ, be made a fortress since although it is not shut up, it serves as a fortification for his people; we will triumph over the enemy through suffering rather than by fighting -- and we come to suffer, not to resist."

Without delay the sacrilegious men entered the house of peace and reconciliation with swords drawn; indeed the sight alone as well as the rattle of arms inflicted not a small amount of horror on those who watched. And those knights who approached the confused and disordered people who had been observing vespers but, by now, had run toward the lethal spectacle exclaimed in a rage: "Where is Thomas Becket, traitor of the king and kingdom?"

No one responded and instantly they cried out more loudly, "Where is the archbishop?"

Unshaken he replied to this voice as it is written, "The righteous will be like a bold lion and free from fear," he descended from the steps to which he had been taken by the monks who were fearful of the knights and said in an adequately audible voice, "Here I am, not a traitor of the king but a priest; why do you seek me?" And [Thomas], who had previously told them that he had no fear of them added, "Here I am ready to suffer in the name of He who redeemed me with His blood; God forbid that I should flee on account of your swords or that I should depart from righteousness."

With these words -- at the foot of a pillar -- he turned to the right. On one side was the altar of the blessed mother of God, on the other the altar of the holy confessor Benedict -- through whose example and prayers he had been crucified to the world and his lusts; he endured whatever the murderers did to him with such constancy of the soul that he seemed as if he were not of flesh.

The murderers pursued him and asked, "Absolve and restore to communion those you have excommunicated and return to office those who have been suspended."

To these words [Thomas] replied, "No penance has been made, so I will not absolve them."

"Then you," they said, "will now die and will suffer what you have earned."

"And I," he said, "am prepared to die for my Lord, so that in my blood the Church will attain liberty and peace; but in the name of Almighty God I forbid that you hurt my men, either cleric or layman, in any way." The glorious martyr acted conscientiously with foresight for his men and prudently on his own behalf, so that no one near him would be hurt as he hastened toward Christ. It was fitting that the soldier of the Lord and the martyr of the Savior adhered to His words when he was sought by the impious, "If it is me you seek, let them leave."

With rapid motion they laid sacrilegious hands on him, handling and dragging him roughly outside of the walls of the church so that there they would slay him or carry him from there as a prisoner, as they later confessed. But when it was not possible to easily move him from the column, he bravely pushed one [of the knights] who was pursuing and drawing near to him; he called him a panderer saying, "Don't touch me, Rainaldus, you who owes me faith and obedience, you who foolishly follow your accomplices."

On account of the rebuff the knight was suddenly set on fire with a terrible rage and, wielding a sword against the sacred crown said, "I don't owe faith or obedience to you that is in opposition to the fealty I owe my lord king." The invincible martyr -- seeing that the hour which would bring the end to his miserable mortal life was at hand and already promised by God to be the next to receive the crown of immortality -- with his neck bent as if he were in prayer and with his joined hands elevated above -- commended himself and the cause of the Church to God, St. Mary, and the blessed martyr St. Denis.

He had barely finished speaking when the impious knight, fearing that [Thomas] would be saved by the people and escape alive, suddenly set upon him and, shaving off the summit of his crown which the sacred chrism consecrated to God, he wounded the sacrificial lamb of God in the head; the lower arm of the writer was cut by the same blow. Indeed [the writer] stood firmly with the holy archbishop, holding him in his arms -- while all the clerics and monks fled -- until the one he had raised in opposition to the blow was severed.

Behold the simplicity of the dove, behold the wisdom of the serpent in this martyr who presented his body to the killers so that he might keep his head, in other words his soul and the church, safe; nor would he devise a trick or a snare against the slayers of the flesh so that he might preserve himself because it was better that he be free from this nature! O worthy shepherd who so boldly set himself against the attacks of wolves so that the sheep might not be torn to pieces! and because he abandoned the world, the world -- wanting to overpower him -- unknowingly elevated him.

Then, with another blow received on the head, he remained firm. But with the third the stricken martyr bent his knees and elbows, offering himself as a living sacrifice, saying in a low voice, "For the Name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to embrace death."

But the third knight inflicted a grave wound on the fallen one; with this blow he shattered the sword on the stone and his crown, which was large, separated from his head so that the blood turned white from the brain yet no less did the brain turn red from the blood; it purpled the appearance of the church with the colors of the lily and the rose, the colors of the Virgin and Mother and the life and death of the confessor and martyr.

The fourth knight drove away those who were gathering so that the others could finish the murder more freely and boldly. The fifth -- not a knight but a cleric who entered with the knights -- so that a fifth blow might not be spared him who had imitated Christ in other things, placed his foot on the neck of the holy priest and precious martyr and (it is horrible to say) scattered the brains with the blood across the floor, exclaiming to the rest, "We can leave this place, knights, he will not get up again."

But during all these incredible things the martyr displayed the virtue of perseverance. Neither his hand nor clothes indicated that he had opposed a murderer -- as is often the case in human weakness; nor when stricken did he utter a word, nor did he let out a cry or a sigh, or a sign signaling any kind of pain; instead he held still the head that he had bent toward the unsheathed swords.

As his body -- which had been mingled with blood and brain -- laid on the ground as if in prayer, he placed his soul in Abraham's bosom. Having risen above himself, without doubt, out of love for the Creator and wholly striving for celestial sweetness, he easily received whatever pain, whatever malice, the bloody murderer was able to inflict. And how intrepidly -- how devotedly and courageously -- he offered himself for the murder when it was made clear that for his salvation and faith this martyr should fight for the protection of others so that the affairs of the Church might be managed according to its paternal traditions and decrees.


Canterbury Cathedral

The famous medieval chronicler, Gervase of Canterbury, who knew Thomas Becket, is our eye-witness as to how Becket's clothing revealed his penitential nature:

His dead body was removed and placed in the shrine before the altar of Christ. On the morrow it was carried by the monks and deposited in a tomb of marble within the crypt. Now, to speak the truth -- that which I saw with my eyes, and handled with my hands -- he wore hair-cloth next his skin, then stamin, over that a black cowl, then the white cowl in which he was consecrated; he also wore his tunic and dalmatic, his chasuble, pall, and miter; Lower down, he had drawers of sack-cloth, and over these others of linen; his socks were of wool, and he had on sandals.

The Golden Legend, written in A.D. 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, relates the tale of how the Pope came to know of Thomas's death:

...the Pope would daily look upon the white chasuble that S. Thomas had said Mass in, and the same day that he was martyred he saw it turned into red, whereby he knew well that that same day he suffered martyrdom for the right of holy church, and commanded a Mass of requiem solemnly to be sung for his soul. And when the quire began to sing requiem, an angel on high above began the office of a martyr: Letabitur justus, and then all the quire followed singing forth the mass of the office of a martyr. And the Pope thanked God that it pleased him to show such miracles for his holy martyr, at whose tomb by the merits and prayers of this holy martyr our blessed Lord hath showed many miracles. The blind have recovered their sight, the dumb their speech, the deaf their hearing, the lame their limbs, and the dead their life.

The murder outraged all of Europe, and pilgrimages to the site began almost immediately, with miracles following in abundance.

He was canonized in 1173. King Henry repented and made public penance at the tomb, allowing himself to be scourged there. Canterbury became the third greatest site of pilgrimage in all of Europe (Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" concerns pilgrimage to his shrine). His relics are said to have been destroyed in 1538 during the Protestant rebellions foreshadowed by King Henry's attitudes, but some believe that a skeleton found in the crypt there in 1888 belongs to the martyr.

St. Thomas is one of the patron of priests. He is symbolized in art with an axe or sword over or in his head, or with a wounded head, and is usually depicted at the time of his martyrdom.

To read about St. Thomas a Becket, see The Life and Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket: Archbishop of Canterbury (pdf) from this site's Catholic Library.

Note: T. S. Eliot wrote a play -- "Murder in the Cathedral" -- about his life, and a movie -- "Becket" (1964) -- starring Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton has been made, too.


Reading
From Gueranger's Liturgical Year


Another Martyr comes in today, to take his place round the Crib of our Jesus. He does not belong to the first ages of the Church : -- his name is not written in the Books of the New Testament, like those of Stephen, John, and the Innocents of Bethlehem.Yet does he stand most prominent in the ranks of that Martyr-Host, which has been receiving fresh recruits in every age, and is one of those visible abiding proofs of the vitality of the Church, and of the undecaying energy infused into her by her divine Founder. This glorious Martyr did not shed his blood for the faith ; he was not dragged before the tribunals of Pagans or Heretics, there to confess the Truths revealed by Christ and taught by the Church. He was slain by Christian hands ; it was a Catholic King that condemned him to death ; it was by the majority of his own Brethren, and they his country-men, that he waas abandoned and blamed. How, then, could he be a Martyr ? How did he gain a Palm like Stephen's ? He was the Martyr for the Liberty of the Church.

Every Christian is obliged to lay down his life rather than deny any of the Articles of our holy Faith: it was the debt we contracted with Jesus Christ, when he adopted us, in Baptism, as his Brethren. All are not called to the honour of Martyrdom, that is, all are not required to bear that testimony to the Truth, which consists in shedding one's blood for it : but all must so love their Faith, as to
be ready to die rather than deny it, under pain of incurring the eternal death, from which the grace of our Redeemer has already delivered us. The same obligation lies still more heavily on the Pastors of the Church. It is the pledge of the truth of their teachings. Hence, we find, in almost every page of the History of the Church, the glorious names of saintly Bishops, who laid down their lives for the Faith they had delivered to their people. It was the last and dearest pledge they could give of their devotedness to the Vineyard entrusted to them, and in which they had spent years of care and toil. The blood of their Martyrdom was more than a fertilising element -- it was a guarantee, the highest that man can give, that the seed they had sown in the hearts of men was, in very truth, the revealed Word of God.

But beyond the debt, which every Christian has, of shedding his blood rather than deny his Faith, that is, of allowing no threats or dangers to make him disown the sacred ties which unite him to the Church and, through her, to Jesus Christ -- beyond this, Pastors have another debt to pay, which is that of defending the Liberty of the Church. To Kings, and Rulers, and, in general, to all Diplomatists and Politicians, there are few expressions so unwelcome as this of the Liberty of the Church ; with them, it means a sort of conspiracy. The world talks of it as being an unfortunate scandal, originating in priestly ambition. Timid temporising Catholics regret that it can elicit any one's zeal, and will endeavour to persuade us, that we have no need to fear anything, so long as our Faith is not attacked. Nowithstanding all this, the Church has put upon her altars the glorious St. Thomas of Canterbury, who was slain in his Cathedral, in the 12th century, because he resisted a King's infringements on the extrinsic Rights of the Church. She sanctions the noble maxim of St. Anselm, one of St. Thomas' predecessors in the See of Canterbury : Nothing does God love so much in this world, as the Liberty of his Church; and the Apostolic See declares by the mouth of Pius the 8th, in the 19th century, the very same doctrine she would have taught by St. Gregory the 7th, in the 11th century: The Church, the spotless Spouse of Jesus Christ the immaculate Lamb, is, by God's appointment, Free, and subject to no earthly power.

But in what does this sacred Liberty consist? It consists in the Church's absolute independence of every secular power in the ministry of the Word of God, which she is bound to preach in season and out of season, as St. Paul says, to all mankind, without distinction of nation, or race, or age, or sex : -- in the administration of the Sacraments, to which she must invite all men, without exception, in order to the world's salvation : -- in the practice, free from all human control, of the Counsels, as well as of the Precepts, of the Gospel : -- in the unobstructed intercommunication of the several degrees of her sacred hierarchy : -- in the publication and application of her decrees and ordinances in matters of discipline : -- in the maintenance and development of the Institutions she has founded : -- in the holding and governing her temporal patrimony : -- and lastly, in the defence of those privileges, which have been adjudged to her by the civil authority itself, in order that her ministry of peace and charity might be unembarrassed and respected.

Such is the Liberty of the Church. It is the bulwark of the Sanctuary. Every breach there, imperils the Hierarchy, and even the very Faith, A Bishop may not flee, as the hireling, nor hold his peace, like those dumb dogs, of which the Prophet Isaias speaks, and which are not able to bark. He is the Watchman of Israel: he is a traitor if he first lets the enemy enter the citadel, and then, but only
then, gives the alarm and risks his person and his life. The obligation of laying down his life for his flock, begins to be in force at the enemy's first attack upon the very out-posts of the City, which is only safe when they are strongly guarded.

The consequence of the Pastor's resistance may be of the most serious nature ; in which event, we must remember a truth, which has been admirably expressed by Bossuet, in his magnificent Panegyric on St. Thomas of Canterbury, which we regret not being able to give from beginning to end. "It is an established law," he says, " that every success the Church acquires costs her the life of some of her children, and that in order to secure her rights, she must shed her own blood. Her Divine Spouse redeemed her by the Blood he shed for her ; and he wishes that she should purchase, on the same terms, the graces he bestows upon her. It was by the blood of the Martyrs that she extended her conquests far beyond the limits of the Roman Empire. It was her blood that procured her, both the peace she enjoyed under the Christian, and the victory she gained over the Pagan, Emperors. So that, as she had to shed her blood for the propagation of her teaching, she had also to bleed for the making her authority accepted. The Discipline, therefore, as well as the Faith, of the Church, was to have its Martyrs."

Hence it was that St. Thomas, and the rest of the Martyrs for Ecclesiastical Liberty, never once stopped to consider how it was possible, with such weak means as were at their disposal, to oppose the invaders of the rights of the Church. One great element of Martyrdom is simplicity united with courage; and this explains how there have been Martyrs amongst the lowest classes of the Faithful, and that young girls, and even children, can show their rich Palm-branch. God has put into the heart of a Christian a capability of humble and inflexible resistance, which makes every opposition give way. What, then, must that fidelity be, which the Holy Ghost has put into the souls of Bishops, whom he has constituted the Spouses of his Church, and the defenders of his beloved Jerusalem? “St. Thomas,” says Bossuet, “yields not to injustice, under the pretext that it is armed with the sword, and that it is a King who commits it; on the contrary, seeing that its source is high up, he feels his obligation of resisting it to be the greater, just as men throw the embankments higher when the torrent swells.”


But, the Pastor may lose his life in the contest! Yes, it may be so he may possibly have this glorious privilege. Our Lord came into this world to fight against it and conquer it -- but he shed his blood in the contest, he died on a Cross. So likewise were the Martyrs put to death. Can the Church, then, that was founded by the Precious Blood of her Divine Master, and was established by the blood of the Martyrs — can she ever do without the saving laver of blood, which reanimates her with vigour, and vests her with the rich crimson of her royalty? St. Thomas understood this : and when we remember how he laboured to mortify his flesh by a life of penance, and how every sort of privation and adversity had taught him to crucify to this world every affection of his heart, we cannot be surprised at his possessing, within his soul, the qualities which fit a man for martyrdom -- calmness of courage, and a patience proof against every trial. In other words, he had received from God the Spirit of Fortitude, and he faithfully corresponded to it.

“In the language of the Church,” continues Bossuet, “Fortitude has not the meaning it has in the language of the world. Fortitude, as the world understands it, is the undertaking great things; according to the Church, it goes not beyond the suffering every sort of trial, and there it stops. Listen to the words of St. Paul: Ye have not yet resisted unto blood; a though he would say: ‘You have not resisted your enemies unto blood.’ He does not say, ‘You have not attacked your enemies and shed their blood;’ but, ‘Your resistance to your enemies has not yet cost you your blood.’

“These are the high principles of St. Thomas; but see how he makes use of them. He arms himself with this sword of the Apostle’s teaching, not to make a parade of courage, and gain a name for heroism, but simply because the Church is threatened, and he must hold over her the shield of his resistance. The strength of the holy Archbishop lies not, in any way, either in the interference of sympathizers, or in a plot ably conducted. He has but to publish the sufferings he has to patiently borne, and odium will fall upon his persecutor: certain secret springs need only to be touched by such a man as this, and the people would be roused to indignation against the King! but the Saint scorns both plans. All he has on his side is the prayer of the poor, and the sighs of the widow and the orphan: these, as St. Ambrose would say, these are the Bishop’s defenders, these his guard, these his army! He is powerful, because he has a soul that knows not either how to fear or how to murmur. He can, in all truth, say to Henry, King of England, what Tertullian said, in the name of the whole Church, to a magistrate of the Roman Empire, who was a cruel persecutor of the Church: We neither frighten thee, nor fear thee: we Christians are neither dangerous men, nor cowards; not dangerous, because we cannot cabal, and not coward, because we fear not the sword.”

Our Panegyrist proceeds to describe the victory won for the Church by her intrepid Martyr of Canterbury. We can scarcely be surprised when we are told that during the very year in which he preached this eloquent Sermon, Bossuet was raised to the episcopal dignity. We need offer no apology for giving the following fine passage.

“Christians! give me your attention. If there ever were a Martyrdom which bore the resemblance to a Sacrifice, it was the one I have to describe to you. First of all, there is the preparation: the Bishop is in the Church with his Ministers, and all are robed in the sacred Vestments. And the Victim? The Victim is near at hand -- the Bishop is the Victim chosen by God, and he is ready. So that all is prepared for the Sacrifice, and they that are to strike the blow enter the Church. The holy man walks before them, as Jesus did before his enemies. He forbids his Clergy to make the slightest resistance, and all he asks of his enemies is that they injure none of them that are present: it is the close imitation of his Divine Master, who said to them that apprehended them: If it be I whom ye seek, suffer these to go their way. And when all this had been done, and the moment for the sacrifice was come, St. Thomas begins the ceremony. He is both Victim and Priest -- he bows down his head, and offers the prayer. Listen to the solemn prayer, and the mystical words, of the sacrifice: And I am ready to die for God, and for the claims of justice, and for the Liberty of the Church, if only she may gain peace and Liberty by this shedding of my blood! He prostrates himself before God: and as in the Holy Sacrifice there is the invocation of the Saints our Intercessors, Thomas omits not so important a ceremony; he beseeches the Holy Martyrs and the Blessed Mary ever a Virgin to deliver the Church from oppression. He can pray for nothing but the Church; his heart beats but for the Church; his lips can speak nothing but the Church; and when the blow has been struck, his cold and lifeless tongue seems still to be saying: The Church!”

Thus did our glorious Martyr, the type of a Bishop of the Church, consummate his sacrifice, thus did he gain his victory; and his victory will produce the total abolition of the sinful laws which would have made the Church the creature of the State, and an object of contempt to the people. The tomb of the Saint will become an Altar; and at the foot of that Altar there will one day kneel a penitent King, humbly praying for pardon and blessing. What has wrought this change? Has the death of Thomas of Canterbury stirred up the people to revolt? Has his Martyrdom found its avengers? No. It is the blood of one, who died for Christ, producing its fruit. The world is hard to teach, else it would have long since learned this truth—that a Christian people can never see with indifference a Pastor put to death for fidelity to his charge; and that a Government that dares to make a Martyr will pay dearly for the crime. Modern diplomacy has learned the secret; experience has given it the instinctive craft of waging war against the Liberty of the Church with less violence and more intrigue -- the intrigue of enslaving her by political administration. It was this crafty diplomacy which forged the chains wherewith so many Churches are now shackled, and which, be they ever so gilded, are insupportable. There is but one way to unlink such fetters -- to break them. He that breaks them will be great in the Church of heaven and earth, for he must be a Martyr: he will not have to fight with the sword, or be a political agitator, but simply, to resist the plotters against the Liberty of the Spouse of Christ, and suffer patiently whatever may be said or done against him.

Let us give ear once more to the sublime Panegyrist of our St. Thomas: he is alluding to this patient resistance, which made the Archbishop triumph over tyranny.

“My Brethren, see what manner of men the Church finds rising up to defend her in her weakness, and how truly she may say with the Apostle: When I am weak, then am I powerful. It is this blessed weakness which provides her with invincible power, and which enlists in her cause the bravest soldiers and the mightiest conquerors this world has ever seen -- I mean, the Martyrs. He that infringes on the authority of the Church, let him dread that precious blood of the Martyrs, which consecrates and protects it.”

Now, all this Fortitude, and the whole of this Victory, come from the Crib of the Infant Jesus: therefore it is that we find St. Thomas standing near it, in company with the Protomartyr Stephen. Any example of humility, and of what the world calls poverty and weakness, which had been less eloquent than this of the mystery of God made a Little Child, would have been insufficient to teach man what real Power is. Up to that time, man had no other idea of power than that which the sword can give, or of greatness than that which comes of riches, or of joy than such as triumph brings: but when God came into this world and showed himself weak and poor and persecuted—everything was changed. Men were found who loved the lowly Crib of Jesus, with all its humiliations, better than the whole world besides: and from this mystery of the weakness of an Infant God they imbibed a greatness of soul which even the world could not help admiring.

It is most just, therefore, that the two laurel-wreaths of St. Thomas and St. Stephen should intertwine round the Crib of the Babe of Bethlehem, for they are the two trophies of his two dear Martyrs. As regards St. Thomas, divine Providence marked out most clearly the place he was to occupy in the Cycle of the Christian Year by permitting his martyrdom to happen on the day following the Feast of the Holy Innocents; so that the Church could have no hesitation in assigning the 29th of December as the day for celebrating the memory of the saintly Archbishop of Canterbury. As long as the world lasts, this day will be a Feast of dearest interest to the whole Church of God; and the name of Thomas of Canterbury will be, to the day of judgment, terrible to the enemies of the Liberty of the Church, and music breathing hope and consolation to hearts that love that Liberty, which Jesus bought at the price of his Precious Blood.


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