December 29, 2016

Today in History: Scandalous murder of “troublesome priest”, Thomas Becket (1170)

John RobsonArchive

The murder of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, on Dec. 29, 1170, didn’t just shock the conscience of a nation and a civilization. It humbled the king who’d ordered it and strengthened the freedom of the English church. 

Not by any means perfectly; it is hard to disentangle Caesar and God institutionally and perilous to banish morality from government.

But it was an important step toward a church whose members were subject to ordinary law as citizens, and free to denounce or praise monarchs but not to make or break them.

In that sense Becket’s martyrdom bolstered not only his faith but also his nation, and we are indebted to his courage to this day.

Comments
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commented 2016-12-30 00:45:23 -0500
Well, Jay, you don’t have much truck with the truth so I’m a little leery of your defending the faith.
commented 2016-12-29 23:19:47 -0500
John Robson, thank you for the challenge! Thomas a Becket was assassinated for his strong defence of the truth and of the Catholic faith.

Would we really be willing to defend the faith today, even to death?
commented 2016-12-29 19:47:35 -0500
Does that mean there’s still hope for us John?
Who would have to be murdered in our scenario?
I can think of a couple of people that would make things a lot better if they weren’t in the picture. Not to say murder them.
commented 2016-12-29 13:44:23 -0500
Thank you John for these historical posts. As I regret the lack of history taught in our schools, I doubt if any grade nine student ever heard of Thomas Becket. If you ever go to Britain you must go to Cantabury Cathedral and stand on the spot where Thomas Becket died.