St Thomas More proclaimed patron of politicians
Ahead of the coming Jubilee of those with political responsibilities, the Vatican Press Office has announced that St Thomas More is officially recognised as the patron of politicians.
President of the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, said: "John Paul II has made [politicians] a great gift, naming St Thomas More as their heavenly patron, a patron of such high standing, the measure of all those who must manage public affairs."
The cardinal said that the English saint's name was suggested by people of all political persuasions throughout the world.
The announcement was made on Thursday in the presence of Italian Senator Francesco Cossiga, Britain's Lord David Alton, and Italian Senator Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli, president of the Inter-Parliamentary Jubilee Group.
Born around 1477, More was chancellor of England. He parted ways with King Henry VIII over the issue of divorce and opposed the monarch's later break with the Church. More was executed in July 1535.
Referring to More's biography, and quoting Pius XI words at the time of the martyr's canonization in 1935, Cardinal Etchegaray said: "What a well-rounded man! All Anglicans and Catholics have seen in him, in the first place, not only as a saint but as a hero of conscience and a martyr of the faith; and political men, no matter what their belief or unbelief, have regarded him as one of the greatest representatives of the juridical traditions of which England is so rightfully proud."
The Pope agreed with their choice because "it was precisely in the defense of the rights of conscience where the example of Thomas More shone with intense light," a papal statement said.