Sir Thomas More, RIP

The wonderful British actor Paul Scofield has died. I first saw "A Man for All Seasons" in high school and was mesmerized by it. I haven’t seen watched in years, but reading a few lines from Robert Bolt’s screenplay brought the scenes vividly to life. Here’s Thomas talking to his daughter, Meg:
"God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it’s God’s part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping."
Tim Reidy
9 years 2 months ago
I too saw "A Man for All Seasons" when I was in high school -- the diocesan seminary h.s. in Detroit. Fr. William Cunningham, our English teacher and the co-founder of Focus: Hope (an organization created after the 1967 riot to "eradicate racism in Detroit" -- a still-unfinished effort!) insisted on taking our entire class to see the Academy Award winning movie. It became, and continues to be the most influential film of my life; when I decided to request a discharge from the Navy several years later as a conscientious objector, Thomas More's/Paul Scofield's words guided me: "I am the King's good servant...but God's first."
9 years 2 months ago
Good to see your reflection, Michael! We members of Pax Christi in Syracuse remember you fondly! I, too, was captivated first by the play that our English teacher, Sr. Bernarda, took us to on a grand night in our senior year. And seeing Scofield in the movie at various times has always renewed my spirit. The words from Robert Bolt-- though without solid historical foundation, I'm told -- of More on the scaffold when he tells the executioner that "you send me to God" and is chided by the Cardinal about his presumption -- "You sound too confident, Sir Thomas" --and replies, "He would not refuse one who comes to him so blithely," have remained for me a touchstone of confidence in God's mercy in much the same way. The fusion of intellect and spirit into love remains palpable.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Given the number of those in the California legal system today who are Latino, “you can guess a large percentage of them are Catholic.”
Jim McDermottMay 22, 2017
Pope Francis waves during a visit to give an Easter blessing to homes in a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb on the Mediterranean Sea, May 19 (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano).
Vatican leaders seem quietly confident that the meeting will go well.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 22, 2017
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., prays on Nov. 16 during the opening of the 2015 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
The bishops' spring assembly will include discussions ranging from immigration to religious freedom, as well as the Synod of Bishops on youth.
The new cardinals named by Pope Francis come from El Salvador, Laos, Mali, Spain and Sweden.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 21, 2017