One of the gaps in our troubled world today is the lack of role models, those who embody the ideals of what we would like to be, or what we could become as individuals and as a nation. Perhaps, this gap is most felt in the field of government and politics.
Many may not know that our Catholic faith has provided us with one such role model – St. Thomas More, he whose famous line is: “I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Pope John Paul II declared St. Thomas More the Patron of Statesmen and Politicians in the year 2000.
In his apostolic letter issued motu proprio making such proclamation, Pope John Paul II writes that the life and martyrdom of St. Thomas More speaks of “the inalienable dignity of the human conscience” which is “the most intimate center and sanctuary of a person, in which he or she is alone with God whose voice echoes within them.”
I wonder how many in government and politics right can truthfully say that they follow their conscience in the exercise of their roles and responsibilities.
JP II continues: “Whenever men or women heed the call of truth, their conscience guides their actions reliably towards good…St Thomas More, because of the witness he bore … to the primacy of truth over power … is venerated as an imperishable example of moral integrity.”
In these times of proliferation of fake news, there is a greater call for people to search for and follow the truth. And because of the role of both social and mainstream media, this appeal for conscience and truth is also addressed to those who manage and direct the communication programs of their client politicians.
It is comforting to note that now St. John Paul II’s declaration of St Thomas More as Patron of Statesmen and Politicians was not a move of the Catholic Church alone. “Such declaration was made also upon the petition of several Heads of State and Government and numerous political figures. Those supporting the petition include people from different political, cultural and religious allegiances.” These show that St Thomas More “is acknowledged … particularly among those with responsibility for the destinies of peoples … as a source of inspiration for a political system which has as its supreme goal the service of the human person.”
In Couples for Christ (CFC), we have St. Thomas More and Associates as our sociopolitical renewal ministry. St. Thomas More is also the patron saint of the Ateneo Law School. The fraternity I belong to in this law school, the Fraternal Order of Utopia, has its name based on the written work of St. Thomas More, “Utopia,” which describes an ideal society.
There are a few other organizations named after him. Yet, it seems our combined efforts are not yet enough, as we still do not readily see nor widely feel the impact of his values and principles in our society today. It is my hope that through this and following posts, and the intensified efforts of many similarly minded people and groups, St. Thomas More’s life and example will be more widely known, and more importantly, emulated and lived out. I thank an esteemed brother in CFC and colleague in the legal profession, Arnel Santos, for the materials he provided on our common patron saint.
More on St. Thomas More in the next postings. Abangan.