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Characters of the Reformation - An Aquinas and More Catholic Classic

Item Number: 94668

Catalog Code: CharctersReformation-mobi-dig

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Characters of the Reformation

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Characters of the Reformation may well be the most universally fascinating book ever written by the great Cathoic historian, Hilaire Belloc.  Here in bold, living colors he sketches 23 famous men and women of the Reformation period, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, mistakes and motives and pinpointing deeds that changed the course of history.

There are more than a few surprises here, as Belloc often puts the real responsibility for the Reformation on persons not usually appreciated by history.  He calls Ann Boleyn--not the weak-willed King Henry VIII--the "pivot figure" of the English Reformation, for it was her iron determination to be Queen, rather than merely a mistress, which launched the movement.  He describes the behind-the-scenes machinations of Thomas Cromwell, the man who looted and destroyed the English monasteries and "the true creator of the English Reformation."  Belloc also flatly contradicts the classic "Elizabethan myth," describing Elizabeth rather as the miserable puppet of William Cecil and a woman who never was able to do her own will in public life--and who in private life suffered the tragic disease of perversion in mind and body.  He shows how the crafty Cecil accomplished the seemingly impossible task of "digging up the Catholic Faith by the roots" and "crushing out the Mass from English soil."  He highlights the tragic error of Cardinal Richelieu in putting France before Catholicism and thus torpedoing Europe's last great chance of keeping Christendom united.  He describes the deaths of St. Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Catherine of Aragon, Elizabeth I and Thomas Cranmer, showing the dramatic role played by Faith or heresy in each one's passing from this world.  He presents the harrowing dilemma of Pope Clement VII when confronted with Henry's demand for an illegitimate annulment--also, the strategy Clement used in meeting it.  Belloc gives the true facts about the much-maligned Mary Tudor (maliciously labeled "Bloody Mary") and the tragic Mary Stuart ("Queen of Scots"), plus he shows how Rene Descartes and Blaise Pascal were heirs and abettors of the Protestant spirit.

Even those who think they do not like history will be unable to put this book down, for rather than discussing abstract "movements" and "forces," it describes the characters and deeds of real people, tracing the results of their greed, lust, tenacity, blindness, fear and--in the case of St. Thomas More--heroic Catholic constancy.  Characters of the Reformation brings to life a crucial era in history, a tragic era, an era that continues to have the profoundest effect on our world today.








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St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 06/22
Tridentine Calendar - 06/22

Patron Of: Adopted Children, Civil Servants, Court Workers, Difficult Marriages, Large Families, Lawyers, Politicians, Statesmen, Stepparents, Widowers

    Studied at London and Oxford. Page for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lawyer. Twice married, father of one son and three daughters, and a devoted family man. Writer. Friend of King Henry VIII. Lord Chancellor of England, a position of power second only to the king. Opposed the king on the matter of royal divorce, and refused to swear the Oath of Supremacy which declared the king the head of the Church in England. Resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king's political needs.
    1478 at London, England

    beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England

    1935 by Pope Pius XI

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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