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Saint of the Day – 29 December – St Thomas a Becket (1118-1170) Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury

Saint of the Day – 29 December – St Thomas a Becket (1118-1170) Martyr, Archbishop of Canterburyst thomas a becket martyrdom

A strong man who wavered for a moment but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on 29 December 1170.st-thomas-becket-9204211-2-402

His career had been a stormy one.   While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II.   When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning – he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, in 1162 he was made archbishop, resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began.   Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights.   At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise.   He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome.   But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years.   When he returned to England he suspected it would mean certain death.

Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favoured by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!”   Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.the-murder-of-st-thomas-a-becket-after-the-painting-by-a-dawant

Henry did penance at the grave of Thomas, seeking forgiveness for the actions of his knights and the tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.XJF359008

Richard Burton played St Thomas in the film “Becket” with Peter O”Toole as King Henry II – here is a snip from “the Best Scenes”

ThomasBecket (1)

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings.

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