ST JOHN OF ROCHESTER
ST 1-1OMAS MORE
"HIGH MASS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE"
By ROBERT %V. SPL:AlGIIT Herald" ziPeeial (..-Orrespondent BOW., SUNtetY TWO or three weekS t1/10 I ECUS sitting in nty club and happened tu icinark that I a,as going to Rollie Jor the ciliimilL'atioltS.
yollit9 MOH !caning OguillS1 Said Ite Co!thill'I • Mulct-stand ally I was going atichy u newspaper Was seirdiey lie eteis a Wan of Sarni' intellifirnre anti ()orc a name '1011 known in an' public life of this country.
asked the reason for hissurprise.
Ile explained he had been to thc canonizations of St. Joan of and ,`,;t. John Bosco and there was really nothing to see. It was only " a high Mass and a lot of people."
His words recur to mc now as siL in ni■ hotel on the Trinita. y window loOks on to the steps of the Piazza di Spagua and in the distance the. dome of St. Peter's is illuminated with a multitude of twinkling lights because two saints have this day been added to thy Church's mart rolugv. I an bowed under a steered and a splendid memory—and yet if I merely told you that there had been " a high Mats and a lot of people " I should in nu wa) have departed from the truth.
mY friend was perfectly accurate hut I should hesitate to .say lie was right. If he imagined the people \the threuged St. Pvlef's this morning \\ ere the same people who sipluted St. John Risco and St, Joan of Are be was making a great nestle:a They 'were much more like rho crowd wheel tip-claimed the English loilti■rs in 1923, dithrl they wr re. flited e Oh the seine ennitioes. They were aseerehielt to Nvaiu It the apotheosis re English NIrtlio, or, te pie it More simpl,,, to eelebrate an lenelieli holiday. They eery a \ery mixed ereecl. There \\ ere 'HSI), Scuts, twt) or three \\*VISh to illy cermet knowledge, as, Well II s lictIllatil,, Della's, Frenchmen, Spaniards, atid Ilie inst. But England 'vas in all their thoughts. And those whom they hail cone) ie honour were net tnen elle had rem_ lied to sanctity in the retirement of the cloister or in tile heart of some hidden apostolate altiOng savages Or shiny', but men famous (el the politic:at Nerve e hese narnee are a eonimenplaie in Erielisli [defog\ . Those who disagree vith lie, Catholic clotreh will speak v ith respect of More and Fisher. as they will speak cr si. Frances or AS!,lisi Or Cuf Fr. De,m1011. They are eeeiript front prejudiet,. lint it mos not until this morning that I realized the n,bsurdity cif that exemption. There wee eornotheig peetiliarly Erie:kelt In the neellee of their martyr. dom. mid I :-uppeee It ie thie that lies Pride:ire.] demi el ilre leiglieli peeele. They coodireirel theineelvee liee areal gentlemen. They HevOr loe their temper, clignO, er huineur. Yet they died for what Englishmen have collie to regard as a foreign thing. Their witness, as Me. Bellew hag finely said, wee III one highly debatable point of iihistraet truth.
A Papal Occasion ,...h„„1,1 justice 10 his neernimee weiiiite rid event if I deseribetl-the detail hut did not suggest the signifleanee of die eceoe Perhaps I can host v yOu Mitt of how It struck that something almost aS 1111ZZhIlg AS a paradox was cOntinuelly reeelving itself into something Wiliest as ,sluiple as a platitude. 'rue hard truth thanged into the holm' truth. 'Thais I earn,to see that the English holiday yea ritually a repel oreasion. It woiiiii o,11 hi, going too far 10 ca It it a ne.Onlan re,,t1C111 !IS It WaS certainly a Roman from-tele For the successor In till the enceare was in hie chariot end was heree under 41 triumphal aril".
And what he there eancenzed was a
darling defielice of Caesarlsne Like ninny or the supremely successful eels or history I leokee like a tragic
[rehire. 'file battle e as mornentartiy lost. Teseei eller tn enme derker. per
tape. than even More and Fieher flild irnegitied, htil this Mornitig vs-1 11 live ill our memories like the sound of trumpets ir the dawn.
A Modern Parallel
hi proclaimed anew lee advancing restoration of the Faith; the Second Spring was turning into lie Second Sumnter. We saw for (=selves Ow. the Papacy was not a foreign but a beinely thing—in the sense: that we are reelle at home in it.. Fisher and More stood out as the ciefeklers of the porrer against the , imperil/en; as the men who realized that teite only Wald
against the new imperiuM of Catearr Is the 01.1 eriperium Of Christ. 1 hue oat can begin to understand Iii' ifliiiiutiioithiLg relevance of the seine. There wile an obvious cote parisuri between I.nritner Fteher in the sixteenth century and Cardinal Fate
hatter li. the twentieth. More wet Fielite were ill %e le-daY, and we inellectively invoked their patronage for Me fieidementei rights or inun. We emluied etell; as liberal SOWS, W11011 the tralh or their contention &eared at
ill the -nevem' of the pope; that hherry must le. tare'reed 111
hal lit, h., hu Ihe Chains of Peter; the !lu la 11111'1 be kept under lo,•k ilto keys lutist be h hi INcys or Peter.
A Matter of Taste
The :au u I al pal ad ox was brought hotne to ine when I entered the basil lea tilts
hi0111i1lg, I was trying to take iii the prenctieti economy M. its proportions arid the infinite elaboration of ea detail arid I couldn't help wondering what Fieher rani More would have made of it. For there ts a. son:sn! in which neither of. these great men WilS, Very partial to Boman Calholielein, end St. Peter's is t.Very Ia.allan CatliOlic place. It IS almost arregarely papal. Thom ot us who ere rather preud of what Dean
Inge has theoeratic imperialism" and like to see( In the sovereignty of the Pope the eurainned impel-lure of Rome win i,ihli,r applana this assertiveness.
Jun there ere Many Ceitholica as well as itearh ih I ProteStani.s. who will openly C1C eiereily dislike it. Indeed, I don't think Imlay or its Would I,to tO Si. Peter's to hi.• at home with Goa, and det ask ineeelf hoW Om simplicity of Fisher Anti Ilie Sweetnetis of More would have rea.cied to this mosale of marble magnificence. We eliould all feel happier, I think, about those ranee et' geetieulating, 'pontiffs if the statues were InOre statuesqlie and the pointer`, it eheele lees pontlificel: but ?lore and Fisher would have heen rather more eeriotie 'dime the statues -beeause they 'were alteeether more eeneerned about the popes. Where we are amused at the shouting likeness they would have been appalled at the crying need.
One instinctively imagines More and Fisher praying under the gothic arches of English cathedrals until one remembers that, after ell, in spirt' they were men of the Renaissance and the CteunterReform. More, In particular, was not above cutting the capers of a humorous personality. There is no reason why he may not have had a taste for baroque trehitecture, as we know that he had a
taste brown bread! As an heir of Belles. he might well have been more et home Lu new SI. Peter's than in rile et. Pelee:. or in new St. leaure than in old el Pi iiI's.
And this refleetion took me a gee further. I saw that Fisher and More e-ere not only modern; they were ultraMontane. And it, is worth remembering that since they died for papal suprenlary English Catholics have become, if I may say so, progressively fonder of the Pope. I am 'mare that the popes have helped, het 1 eni sure that this enormous increase of devotion to the Holy See is largely clue to a common recognition that these men who are among the leaders of English saints are also among the leaders of English patriots; they were monarehiete as well as martyre. arid died to save monarchy. trg,natSeU