St Thomas More: a question


#1

I have always been very drawn to this saint.

I see him listed in spots as a Third Order Franciscan and in other spots as an Oblate of St Benedict.

Does anyone know which is correct? Or was he both (perhaps that was allowed back then?)?

Thanks for the help

(Hope this is the correct section :o )


#2

Anyone?:(

(Won't bump the topic again)


#3

:thumbsup: I too was drawn to St.Thomas More after seeing the movie,A Man For All Seasons with paul Scofield as St.Thomas. In fact I have a reproduction of Hans Holbein's portrait of him hanging on the living room wall. My parents bought it for me for my 16th birthday,it was from the Vincent Price Collection for Sears.
Anyhow, I'm not really sure.I think maybe it was the franciscans, but may try to google this topic and see hwat comes up.


#4

[quote="HollyDolly, post:3, topic:201719"]
:thumbsup: I too was drawn to St.Thomas More after seeing the movie,A Man For All Seasons with paul Scofield as St.Thomas. In fact I have a reproduction of Hans Holbein's portrait of him hanging on the living room wall. My parents bought it for me for my 16th birthday,it was from the Vincent Price Collection for Sears.
Anyhow, I'm not really sure.I think maybe it was the franciscans, but may try to google this topic and see hwat comes up.

[/quote]

The Franciscans claim him (as a "collaborator", I believe). But so do the Benedictines.

I'm confused (more than usual:D ).

Thanks!


#5

Here is a link to a site (Benedictine) that claims him as an Oblate

bluecloud.org/oblate.html


#6

I used to be in the Third Order Franciscans [called now the 'Secular Franciscans']. I still have the prayerbook called 'Tertiary's Companion', and there is a 'Litany of Franciscan Saints' in it.

St. Thomas More is listed as a Tertiary.

I know that he spent time in the Charterhouse of London when he was trying to figure out what to do with his life. Three of the monks were the Protomartyrs of the English Reformation, and he saw them being dragged to their deaths at Tyburn from his cell in the Tower of London.

I love St. Thomas More-he's one of my favorite Saints!


#7

Let's untangle this mess.

Thomas More was a professed member of the Franciscan Order. The proper title is a Professed Secular Franciscan, not a tertiary. St. Francis never called them tertiaries. That was what the laity incorrectly called them, because they were the third order that Francis founded. But the laity called them this because they thought that these were third in rank. They are not. They are the Brothers and Sisters of Penance or Secular Franciscans for short, which is more commonly used in the USA.

The Benedictine Oblates are not an order as are the Secular Franciscans. They are associates of a particular monastery or abbey. Therefore, a Franciscan can belong to the Franciscan order and be associate with an abbey or monastery as an oblate. An oblate is one who makes an offering of himself, an oblation. But he or she does not consecrate his life to God and the Church by a solemn promise to live according to a rule, within a community and obedient to a specific superior. Secular orders do promise to do all these things. Oblates are more free.

Thomas More was a Franciscan with all the rights and obligations of every Franciscan friar, nun, sister and secular. He was buried in the Franciscan habit, which is customary for Secular Franciscans. He was also an Oblate at the local Benedictine abbey. But his feast day is celebrated on the Franciscan calendar as a major feast and as a memorial for the Benedictines and the Roman Catholic Church. He is not venerated by the Oriental Catholic Churches at all, because he is not on their calendar of approved saints for public veneration. Other saints are, but he's not one of them.

His proper title is Br. Thomas More, SFO not to be confused with the friars and sisters who go by OSF. He does not use the OSB, because he was not a professed Benedictine. It is illegal to be both SFO and OSB.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#8

Bro JR-I know that Secular Franciscans are not called 'tertiaries' anymore. But that's what they were called not too long ago, before the designation of 'Secular Franciscans' came more commonplace. But 'tertiary' was the title of my old Third Order prayerbook, which I still have....can't help that...

I didn't know that St. Thomas More was buried in a Franciscan habit. He was laid to rest in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London after his martyrdom. Where did you get that info about what his burial shroud was?

When I visited Tyburn Convent in London, I saw a reliquary with some strands of his beard [Yep, the same beard he made his last joke about on the scaffold :D ]. And his head, which was retrieved from Tower Bridge by his courageous and beloved daughter Margaret Roper, is in the Roper family vault at St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury. I visited that church, which has some wonderful stained-glass windows of St. Thomas More, on my first visit in England in 1987.


#9

[quote="JReducation, post:7, topic:201719"]
Let's untangle this mess.

Thomas More was a professed member of the Franciscan Order. The proper title is a Professed Secular Franciscan, not a tertiary. St. Francis never called them tertiaries. That was what the laity incorrectly called them, because they were the third order that Francis founded. But the laity called them this because they thought that these were third in rank. They are not. They are the Brothers and Sisters of Penance or Secular Franciscans for short, which is more commonly used in the USA.

The Benedictine Oblates are not an order as are the Secular Franciscans. They are associates of a particular monastery or abbey. Therefore, a Franciscan can belong to the Franciscan order and be associate with an abbey or monastery as an oblate. An oblate is one who makes an offering of himself, an oblation. But he or she does not consecrate his life to God and the Church by a solemn promise to live according to a rule, within a community and obedient to a specific superior. Secular orders do promise to do all these things. Oblates are more free.

Thomas More was a Franciscan with all the rights and obligations of every Franciscan friar, nun, sister and secular. He was buried in the Franciscan habit, which is customary for Secular Franciscans. He was also an Oblate at the local Benedictine abbey. But his feast day is celebrated on the Franciscan calendar as a major feast and as a memorial for the Benedictines and the Roman Catholic Church. He is not venerated by the Oriental Catholic Churches at all, because he is not on their calendar of approved saints for public veneration. Other saints are, but he's not one of them.

His proper title is Br. Thomas More, SFO not to be confused with the friars and sisters who go by OSF. He does not use the OSB, because he was not a professed Benedictine. It is illegal to be both SFO and OSB.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

This is true, obviously, Oblates are bound to a particular monastery. SFO's are "at large".
In my Community, one is not allowed to be a member of "another" 3rd order. :)


#10

:confused:

[quote="barb_finnegan, post:8, topic:201719"]
Bro JR-I know that Secular Franciscans are not called 'tertiaries' anymore. But that's what they were called not too long ago, before the designation of 'Secular Franciscans' came more commonplace. But 'tertiary' was the title of my old Third Order prayerbook, which I still have....can't help that...

I didn't know that St. Thomas More was buried in a Franciscan habit. He was laid to rest in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London after his martyrdom. Where did you get that info about what his burial shroud was?

When I visited Tyburn Convent in London, I saw a reliquary with some strands of his beard [Yep, the same beard he made his last joke about on the scaffold :D ]. And his head, which was retrieved from Tower Bridge by his courageous and beloved daughter Margaret Roper, is in the Roper family vault at St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury. I visited that church, which has some wonderful stained-glass windows of St. Thomas More, on my first visit in England in 1987.

[/quote]

Burrial in the habit was a rule for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. I'm not sure when it became optional. I believe it may have been during the 20th century. It was also customary for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance to wear the habit under their street clothing. That's how they came to cut it back to the scapular and chord. You will often read or hear people say that Thomas wore a hairshirt. Often the habit was confused with a hairshirt, because it was made of very course wool., the same as a hairshirt.

I know that the Secular Franciscans often referred to themselves as Third Order and that the friars would often refer to them as such. But it was a very offensive term.

Originally the term was the third order of St. Francis, meaning the third order that he founded. It was not the name of the order, but the designation in chronology. After the Protestant Reformation there was panic in the Church that heretics would take over. The clergy became very controlling. So much so that in orders such as the Dominicans, Franciscans and Carmelites the ordained members of the order asked for and received special permissions to take away the rights of all the non ordained members of the order. This included the secular members and the nuns too. That was how Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites and Benedictines changed their titles from Brother to Father.

The priests in the Franciscan order became very arrogant and very mean. They took away everyone's rights and imposed categories of membership to the order. They proclaimed themselves to be in charge. They began to treat the non ordained friars as servants. They had them do all of the manual labor in the house and serve them by cooking for them, doing their laundry, opening and closing doors for them, cleaning their cells, even helping them dress. They adopted the term 'lay brother", which was not in Francis' vocabulary.

They then began to refer to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance as the Tertiaries, meaning those in third place. It no longer meant the order founded third. It was a status. The secular Franciscans were punished if they did not submit to the ordained friars and they were suspected of heresy. That' why only a handful of Franciscans came to Joan of Arc's defense. She was a Secular Franciscan. But in their mind, she was expendable for the sake of political peace, because she was just a tertiary and a woman. The Protestant Reformation triggered the worse repression that the Church ever saw. It was like a panic.

By the time that the dust settled, everyone forgot how the term Tertiary came to be and what it meant. It was like the N word for black people. Everyone forgot where it came from until one day a civil rights leader realized that it was not a nice word and protested.

It was after Vatican II when the Council called orders to go back to their roots that the Third Order went back and realized that it was not third because it had less dignity or was less Franciscan than those of us who are friars. But it is third, because its rule was written third. Those Franciscans of the 1970s decided that it was time to get rid of that term, because it had been used to cause too much pain. When they rewrote the rule in 1978, the name Secular Order was born. In my opinion that was a big mistake. They should have gone back to the name that Francis gave you guys, Brothers and Sisters of Penance. The term "secular" today does not mean what it meant in 1978. Today it is associated with secularism. In 1978 it meant anyone who is not in vows. This included diocesan priests and society priests such as the SSPX, FSSP, Maryknoll, Missionhurst and others. Today, even diocesan priests refuse to be called secular priests, even though they are not in vows. The term has a very negative meaning. It almost means worldly.

I believe that the human tendency is to go from one extreme to another until the pendalum eventually settles in the middle where it belongs. I foresee that the Brothers and Sisters of Penance will be coming back, when the Secular Order gives up this nonsense of avoiding appearing too Franciscan. Whatever that means. :confused:

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#11

JR-yes, St. Thomas More did wear a hairshirt. He started it from his days with the Carthusian monks. In a guidebook about St. Thomas that I bought on my first visit to England in 1987, there was a photo of a 'reliquary' that held a piece of the hairshirt. I think it was smuggled out of his prison cell in the Tower of London to his daughter Meg Roper.

Wow-the Franciscan priest-friars WERE mean to the non-ordained members of the Order! I was in the SFOs from 1979 to 1988. The fraternity I was in wore brown robes over our street clothes with a cord and a Franciscan Scapular. Some of us even wore a San Damiano crucifix as well. In those days, there were liberal members of the Seculars' hierarchy on the provincial level [before the leadership structure was changed to 'regions' instead of 'provinces'] who didn't want the members to look 'too religious' with regards to wearing the robes. In fact, I ended up walking out of the fraternity in 1988 when the leadership announced they were going to 'do their own thing' and elect officers without the presence of any outside higher-ups. I stood up and said, 'You can't DO that!' , but they ignored me and told ME that I WAS 'DISOBEDIENT' in wearing a long brown Franciscan-like dress when I went on a pilgrimage by myself to Lourdes. I said that I had permission from a Franciscan priest who was my personal spiritual director at the time to wear it. But they wouldn't listen, and so I gathered up my things, and walked out!

I've been wary of getting involved in groups since then...I got tired of 'control freaks' in them.

Sorry if I seem to be hijacking this thread...sometimes I just need to 'vent', and I guess I'm in a 'venting mood' this Monday morning....:shrug:


#12

Agree 100%


#13

[quote="barb_finnegan, post:11, topic:201719"]

In those days, there were liberal members of the Seculars' hierarchy on the provincial level [before the leadership structure was changed to 'regions' instead of 'provinces']

[/quote]

This is indeed, in my experience, still the problem. And I do not mean politically liberal (although many are that, too)--I mean religiously liberal (Gay Masses, etc)

So sad:(


#14

[quote="Luigi_Daniele, post:13, topic:201719"]
This is indeed, in my experience, still the problem. And I do not mean politically liberal (although many are that, too)--I mean religiously liberal (Gay Masses, etc)

So sad:(

[/quote]

A little clarification on who was 'liberal'-it was the upper levels of leadership outside the local fraternity. The people in charge of the fraternity I was in were more traditional in their thinking. They didn't like the 'interference' of the higher-ups with regards to things like formation, etc.

I went on a workshop weekend once at a Franciscan retreat house in downstate New York, and a lady who was leading the affair kept going on and on with how great Vatican II was. I got so fed up that I turned to her and said in a low voice, 'Well, the Church didn't start with Vatican II.' She also didn't like the wearing of robes very much, either. She wore a robe early on when I first knew her, but changed to wearing just the 'Tau' cross over her street clothes. She was a typical late middle-aged woman, who thought that Vatican II was the greatest thing for the Church since sliced bread. I couldn't take that attitude, and told her so!


#15

[quote="JReducation, post:10, topic:201719"]
:confused:

It was after Vatican II when the Council called orders to go back to their roots that the Third Order went back and realized that it was not third because it had less dignity or was less Franciscan than those of us who are friars. But it is third, because its rule was written third. Those Franciscans of the 1970s decided that it was time to get rid of that term, because it had been used to cause too much pain. When they rewrote the rule in 1978, the name Secular Order was born. In my opinion that was a big mistake. They should have gone back to the name that Francis gave you guys, Brothers and Sisters of Penance. The term "secular" today does not mean what it meant in 1978. Today it is associated with secularism. In 1978 it meant anyone who is not in vows. This included diocesan priests and society priests such as the SSPX, FSSP, Maryknoll, Missionhurst and others. Today, even diocesan priests refuse to be called secular priests, even though they are not in vows. The term has a very negative meaning. It almost means worldly.

I believe that the human tendency is to go from one extreme to another until the pendalum eventually settles in the middle where it belongs. I foresee that the Brothers and Sisters of Penance will be coming back, when the Secular Order gives up this nonsense of avoiding appearing too Franciscan. Whatever that means. :confused:

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

HI Br. JR:

In my opinion, to some, 'avoiding appearing too Franciscan' would mean appearing like the religious. Thus, there are those who are so bent on removing the donning of the habit, the brown/gray color, the titles 'brother and sister' in favor of 'Mr/Ms', the use of secular terms, etc. In the end we are in danger of creating a secularized institution.

We Secular Franciscans should, I think, focus all our energies on rediscovering our roots, and develop better formation programs, especially with regards to 'Penitential Spirituality'. It just makes me cringe whenever penance is downplayed and 'choose life, choose wellness...' is being bannered instead. There is again this fear that penance is equated to mutilating oneself.:(

Hopefully, the reform will come soon.

albertziggy:rolleyes:


#16

[quote="barb_finnegan, post:14, topic:201719"]
A little clarification on who was 'liberal'-it was the upper levels of leadership outside the local fraternity. The people in charge of the fraternity I was in were more traditional in their thinking. They didn't like the 'interference' of the higher-ups with regards to things like formation, etc.

I went on a workshop weekend once at a Franciscan retreat house in downstate New York, and a lady who was leading the affair kept going on and on with how great Vatican II was. I got so fed up that I turned to her and said in a low voice, 'Well, the Church didn't start with Vatican II.' She also didn't like the wearing of robes very much, either. She wore a robe early on when I first knew her, but changed to wearing just the 'Tau' cross over her street clothes. She was a typical late middle-aged woman, who thought that Vatican II was the greatest thing for the Church since sliced bread. I couldn't take that attitude, and told her so!

[/quote]

Hi Ma'am:

The change would only come when the people stuck with Vatican II are replaced with new blood. (It seems that the Spirit of Vatican II is the culprit again :mad:). The person you were referring here must be on the way out by now. Are there any indications that the fraternities in your area are steadily undergoing the change we are all dreaming of?

Thanks.

albertziggy:rolleyes:


#17

[quote="albertziggy, post:16, topic:201719"]
Hi Ma'am:

The change would only come when the people stuck with Vatican II are replaced with new blood. (It seems that the Spirit of Vatican II is the culprit again :mad:). The person you were referring here must be on the way out by now. Are there any indications that the fraternities in your area are steadily undergoing the change we are all dreaming of?

Thanks.

albertziggy:rolleyes:

[/quote]

Yes, she's been dead for quite a number of years now. She was in a nursing home after her husband died, and I lost touch with her. I heard about her death when I called one of her fellow fraternity members.

I haven't been in the TO Franciscans since 1992-I left the fraternity I was in four years before. And I think it's no longer in existence, because the parish it was located in went from being run by a religious congregation [the Scalabrini Fathers] to diocesan priests. The people who led the fraternity didn't like the new liberal pastor, so they probably just dissolved.


#18

I think your post was very good and I enjoyed it a lot. I just want to offer a little historical correction here . . . Joan of Arc lived in the early 15th century, almost a century before the Reformation began.


#19

[quote="albertziggy, post:15, topic:201719"]
HI Br. JR:

In my opinion, to some, 'avoiding appearing too Franciscan' would mean appearing like the religious. Thus, there are those who are so bent on removing the donning of the habit, the brown/gray color, the titles 'brother and sister' in favor of 'Mr/Ms', the use of secular terms, etc. In the end we are in danger of creating a secularized institution.

We Secular Franciscans should, I think, focus all our energies on rediscovering our roots, and develop better formation programs, especially with regards to 'Penitential Spirituality'. It just makes me cringe whenever penance is downplayed and 'choose life, choose wellness...' is being bannered instead. There is again this fear that penance is equated to mutilating oneself.:(

Hopefully, the reform will come soon.

albertziggy:rolleyes:

[/quote]

Well, some of my brother and sisters have a "Franciscan" wardrobe, i.e. clothes of natural neutral colors (brown, gray, black, etc.) and generally inexpensive. I guess this is looking too religious, too. I'll be sure to bring this up at the next meeting along with a suggestion for a new title for the order: Mr. and Mrs. of Penance....or should that be: Mr. and Mrs. of Wellness? Heck, call it the Secular Wellness Order.

[levity ends here]

I am one who feels called to address some of these issues within our order, and I look forward to working toward some of the goals mentioned by brother albertziggy. All it takes is time.

Albertziggy is quite right about the perception of the word "penance". It has lost its original biblical meaning best described by the term metanoia, which is process of conversion toward God that takes a lifetime (and sometimes a rule of life) to complete. I think penance has the same negative connotations as "diet" or "exercise". It's funny how much energy people will expend and how much pain they will endure to sculpt their bodies into the physiques of the gods, but how little they will do shape their souls.

Just an observation.

In Christ,


#20

[quote="Lief_Erikson, post:18, topic:201719"]
I think your post was very good and I enjoyed it a lot. I just want to offer a little historical correction here . . . Joan of Arc lived in the early 15th century, almost a century before the Reformation began.

[/quote]

You're right. I placed Joan in the wrong century. I had the right circumstance, which was the paranoia of the word "heretic". That came long before the Protestant Rebellion.

On another note, what is most interesting about the Secular Franciscans, form my perspective as a Regular Franciscan, is their strong desire for an identiy. I have to say that this deserves support. For too long they have not had an identity. I blame the friars, the Franciscan sisters (not the nuns), the laity and the bishops for this.

Thomas More was privileged to live in an era when there was a broader view of the Church and about vocations than we have had since about 1800. During Thomas' time there was a clear understanding that that God called men and women to live a life of perfect charity in a secular or a religious order. They also understood the difference between the consecrated life and the secular life. Finally they understood the difference between priest and religious.

From the 1800s forward, there was the great emergence of religious sisters. Prior to that, there were very few sisters. Most women religious were nuns. They had little contact with the faithful.

The birth of conregations of sisters gave the Church the much needed manpower for the corporal works of mercy, especially healthcare and education. But the sisters in education did a great deal of harm to the different vocations. I believe that they were unaware of the harm that they did. These women did not have much of an education and no theological education. To this day, there are very few sisters with a theological education, even though many have "theology degrees". They're the two year professional theology degrees that are very focussed on one area.

What happened was that these women religious were so dependent on the priests for everything, that the priest became their superior, spiritual guide and master all wrapped into one. They passed on this same distorted vision of God's calling to their students. For almost 200 years we have believed that God calls men and women to be either priests or sisters. Words such as: nun, brother, religious, regular priest, secular priest, regular order, secular order, congregation, secular institute, society of apostolic life, priestly society, and societies of consecrated life are foreign to today's Catholic. They were not foreign to Thomas More, except for Secular Institute. That's new.

What has happened is that after Vatican II, since most Catholics are no ignorant concerning vocations, the tendency among Secular Franciscans was to turn the secular order into a secular isntitute. WRONG!

That's not what Vatican II had in mind and it certainly was not what Francis had in mind. Francis did not know what a Secular Institute was, because they did not exist as a form of consecrated life until 1950.

But Secular Francisans failed to do their homework and began to make changes in their practice of daily life that make them look like a secular institute. A secular institute is certainly a school of Christian perfection. However, the means by which those individuals achieve perfection are very different from those of secular order. But the majority of Secular Franciscans did not properly read the documents of Vatican II and did not read the documents of erection of secular institutes. They simply adopted the practices of these institutes.

If Thomas More were alive today, he would be executed again and again it would be by Catholics. As a good lawyer he would have debated these points of law and would have insisted that people observe the law. Someone would have accused him of novelty and chopped his head off. In fact, there is no novelty here. The only novelty is the lack of education on the part of the laity and religious concerning secular orders. and all the other ways to which Christ calls a person to holiness.

People like Joan and Thomas were a threat to the people of their time. They knew the rules. They knew what God wanted. And they knew that they had a mission that was not chosen by them, but was given to them by the Rule of St. Francis.

That's all that Thomas More and Joan did. The followed the rule. The Rule is pretty straightfoward, "Follow the Gospel in obedience." Duh, what a concept! Anything that is contrary to the Gospel must be ignored, at the very least and changed, if possible.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


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