I was doing some reading on the history of Tudor England and the story of Katherine of Aragon and her struggle to maintain the validity of her marraige to Henry VIII despite the rejection of her husband, seperation from her daughter, banishment from the king’s court and threats of death to both her and her daughter Mary. She was persecuted because she remained loyal to the Pope, the Catholic church and to the sacrament of marraige that had in her belief been declared valid by Pope Julius II and later by Pope Paul III . I was wondering why she has never been considered by the church for sainthood. We already have two figures from this period in England (Thomas More and John Fisher) but why has Queen Katherine never been considered?
In a time period where we see Pope Pius V canonized, why could we not see a strong woman who was a devoted warrior of the Catholic faith such as Katherine declared a saint??
Firstly - how do you know she hasn’t been considered, at least unofficially?
There’s a little matter of God making His opinion known by graciously providing a few miracles, no? And even with the martyrdoms of Thomas More and John Fisher to make these requirements easier for them, THEY weren’t canonised until 1935
While Katherine suffered greatly, certainly, being divorced is a far cry from losing your head as did Sts Fisher and More and many others (the Carthusian monks, for example, who were also martyred - have they been canonised?)
She also wore a hair shirt. She was a good friend of Thomas More and John Fisher, who died largely for defending her position. She suffered with them for God as well, and on her death bed she wrote an incredibly touching letter to Henry VIII, forgiving him for all the crimes and injustices he had committed against her and her daughter.
I’m certain she’s a saint in Heaven, even if she isn’t on the official registers. My guess as for why she isn’t is the lack of reported and verifiable miracles. It probably would have been very hard to collect evidence regarding miracles when England was so intensely Anti-Catholic. I think the Church could make exceptions for John Fisher and Thomas More because they were martyrs.
She had a far more heroic life than that. She endured isolated confinement in bad living conditions, was kept separated from her daughter, and endured loads of false accusations. She bore it with incredible grace, wore a hair shirt in a constant lifestyle of penance. Evidence suggests she and her husband once had a very loving relationship. She lived to see her lover become one of her most vehement haters. He proceeded to murder her friends, John Fisher and Thomas More, loyal supporters I’m sure she loved, who stood up for her to the king on behalf of the laws of God. When Henry VIII offered her freedom from prison and the company of her daughter if she would declare the legitimacy of Henry’s marriage with Anne Boleyn, she turned the offer down. She accepted long abuse rather than speak against the truth of the Sacrament of Marriage. Even before the king turned against her, she had to endure the sight of her husband have countless sexual relationships outside of wedlock. Her life was a martyrdom.
Then, from her deathbed she wrote a letter of incredible grace and kindness. I read it and it was profoundly moving. In it, she forgave her husband for all the injustices he committed against her, and she prayed for his soul to God. Her life mirrored the passion of Christ, and her death mirrored his death on the Cross, from which He forgave His enemies and prayed for them.
A quick death for Christ might even have been easier for Catherine than the crippling torment of years of sorrow. It’s impossible for me to say. But she was a heroine of the first class, a model of the virtues, life and death of Christ. I am certain she is a saint.
My bet for why she isn’t classified a saint by the Catholic Church is that no miracles could have been reported, as England was so vociferously anti-Catholic that no one could collect information on such signs, and she was not martyred. If she had been, this probably would have caused this difficulty to be overlooked.
Hear, hear, jolly well said, my sentiments entirely. Catherine of Argagon was indeed a very saintly woman who was treated abominably by Henry VIII. The 1970 BBC production, TheSix Wives of Henry VIII, evinces this most clearly and adheres very faithfully to historical fact. Actually, I am currently watching this mini series on DVD and the wife and I are enjoying it immensely.