.- Cardinal Raymond Burke spoke with CNA about the inspiration he draws from the life and work of St. Thomas More, the patron of lawyers, whose feast day falls on June 22.
âIâve always found him a font of courage,â said Cardinal Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.
âOftentimes as a Christian - and especially as a priest or bishop - one is tempted by pressures to conform to societyâs expectations instead of modeling oneself on the expectations of Our Lord.â
âSo St. Thomas More is really the example of how we need to - if we really want to do what is good and right - act according to Our Lordâs way and not simply in a way thatâs pleasing to others.â
Sir Thomas More was a distinguished lawyer, philosopher and statesmen who served King Henry VIII of England as Lord Chancellor in the early 16th century. It was his opposition to the Henryâs attempt to sever England from the Catholic Church, however, that cost Sir Thomas his life. He was found guilty of treason and executed at Londonâs Tower Hill in 1532. In his final words he explained to those assembled how he died âthe Kingâs good servant but Godâs first.â
âTo me this feast day is an occasion to return to the font of the law which in the divine law and to the example of St. Thomas More - to the integrity with which he served the administration of justice,â said Cardinal Burke whose job involves the administration of the Churchâs internal system of justice.
âIn those final words of his he so clearly explains how he serves his King best, and serves the law best, by serving God.â
âSo thatâs the mediation for me today - I pray for all those who have responsibility for the administration of justice, whether in the Church or in the state, that they will find in St. Thomas More an inspiration and an example for them.â
St. Thomas More was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 along with his fellow English Reformation martyr, Cardinal John Fisher. St. Thomasâs life was famously re-enacted in the 1966 Oscar-winning film, âA Man for All Seasons.â
Cardinal Burke noted that the âprimary lessonâ for lawyers today is âto see the need for an absolute coherence between oneâs own personal faith and life and oneâs service of society as a minister of justice.â
âSo that the law then shines forth in its fundamental importance for life in society by the way in which lawyers and judges serve the law.â