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Trump praises St. Thomas Becket as martyr for religious freedom

“Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before the right to free exercise of religion was enshrined as America’s first freedom in our glorious Constitution, Thomas gave his life so that, as he said, ‘the Church will attain liberty and peace,’” President Donald Trump wrote in a Dec. 29 proclamation.

St. Thomas Becket. (Credit: cnbrb/wikimedia CC BY SA 4.0)

CNA Staff, Dec 29, 2020 / 09:57 am (CNA).- The White House on Tuesday issued a proclamation praising St. Thomas Becket, an English archbishop who was martyred 850 years ago after conflict with King Henry II over the rights of the Church.

“Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before the right to free exercise of religion was enshrined as America’s first freedom in our glorious Constitution, Thomas gave his life so that, as he said, ‘the Church will attain liberty and peace,’” President Donald Trump wrote in a Dec. 29 proclamation.

“To honor Thomas Becket’s memory, the crimes against people of faith must stop, prisoners of conscience must be released, laws restricting freedom of religion and belief must be repealed, and the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed must be protected. The tyranny and murder that shocked the conscience of the Middle Ages must never be allowed to happen again. As long as America stands, we will always defend religious liberty.”

“We pray for religious believers everywhere who suffer persecution for their faith. We especially pray for their brave and inspiring shepherds — like Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu — who are tireless witnesses to hope,” Trump’s proclamation added.

Becket was born in the twelfth century, and became an expert in canon and civll law, and eventually the Lord Chancellor of England. But after 1162, when he became Archbishop of Canterbury, he found himself in conflict with King Henry II over the autonomy of the the Church in England. Becket and the king clashed over the freedom of clergymen from secular courts, and, in 1164, the Constitutions of Clarendon, a set of laws passed by Henry II in an effort to limit papal authority and ecclesiastical courts in England.

Becket did not accept the Clarendon laws, and was briefly exiled. On Dec. 29 1170, knights supportive of King Henry murdered Becket at Canterbury cathedral, shortly after the bishop had prayed vespers.

“When the Archbishop refused to allow the King to interfere in the affairs of the Church, Thomas Becket stood at the intersection of church and state. That stand, after centuries of state-sponsored religious oppression and religious wars throughout Europe, eventually led to the establishment of religious liberty in the New World,” Trump’s proclamation said.

“Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history. It eventually brought about numerous constitutional limitations on the power of the state over the Church across the West. In England, Becket’s murder led to the Magna Carta’s declaration 45 years later that: ‘[T]he English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.’

“Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs,” the president added.

Trump’s statement called for an end to religious persecution around the work.

“A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure — because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God,” it concluded.


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23 Comments

  1. Wow, is Trump is going to admit the horrific and evil United States Genocide on Yemen.
    Is Trump going to admit the WALL defied the Catholic faith in every regard in denial of the Catholics of all of Americas, Mexico, families, children, women.
    The ecology effects on migration of animals by the WALL.
    The sell of Stinger Weapons, not for peace, but to incite, more wars, not military defense, but more war, extermination of the poor, for OIL.
    With a nation debt, that is ignored, leaves future generations to suffer for the greed of today.

    • Wow. Live in the 60’s much? Church law allows for self defense and that takes many forms. Conducting war for self-defense is one. I seem to recall the deaths of many sailors on the USS Cole ( PRE-Trump) which was at dock in Yemen, when terrorists exploded a device there, killing our people. So doll, THEY started the war. If you poke a sleeping lion you get what you get. And in my opinion the building of a wall can be another method of self defense. The US doles out more foreign aid than any other nation. We are NOT obligated to impoverish and destroy our own country and citizens in order to help those whose OWN countries ( by the way) should be caring for them. Liberal catholic theology notwithstanding. “Anything goes” is not any way to run a civilized nation.

      • Well, wow to you, too. The fact that a band of Al Qaeda operatives attacked the USS Cole at dock in Yemen does not mean the Yemeni government nor the Yemeni people started a war with the United States.

        • First of all ” genocide” is a broad and in this case totally absurd charge against the US. Genocide is a systematic effort to exterminate a population and the US has NEVER done that. However if your government is knowingly harboring terrorists on it’s soil and allowing them to operate with impunity or even tacit approval,and they use your nation as a base to attack a foreign power, then, you reap the consequences. Every nation has it own internal security forces and would certainly know about terrorists operating in their midst.Some governments use terrorists to conduct activity that they dare not execute publicly. To the degree to which a nation elects or tolerates their government being in power, yes, the population bears an element of responsibility for how it functions and what it does.

    • Anybody: 2+2=4
      Lyle: YEMEN! GENOCIDE! WALL! BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH!

      Anybody: Could you pass me the salt, please?
      Lyle: YEMEN! GENOCIDE! WALL! BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH!

      Anybody: *sneezes*
      Lyle: YEMEN! GENOCIDE! WALL! BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH!

      And the wall at our border is not un-Catholic. Countries have a right to defend themselves from strangers who may be dangerous creeping across the border.

      Am I to assume that you, Lyle, live in a house without doors or walls? If not, why not?

    • “Wow, is Trump is going to admit the horrific and evil United States Genocide on Yemen.”

      Since no such thing exists, there is nothing to admit.

      “Is Trump going to admit the WALL defied the Catholic faith in every regard in denial of the Catholics of all of Americas, Mexico, families, children, women.
      The ecology effects on migration of animals by the WALL.”

      Sovereign nations have a spiritual right and moral obligation to protect their citizens, and policing their borders is one way of doing that. Denying entry to people here illegally is a moral imperative and is completely justified, so again, there is nothing to admit.

      “The sell of Stinger Weapons, not for peace, but to incite, more wars, not military defense, but more war, extermination of the poor, for OIL.”

      This is a childish and baseless accusation that deserves no further comment.

      “With a nation debt, that is ignored, leaves future generations to suffer for the greed of today.”

      How exactly do you know in advance what the future holds for anyone, let alone for nations? What gives you the right to assume that people are greedy?

      Please go find something else to do and leave the intelligent conversation here to the rest of us.

    • In Sirach 11:28 states that ” call no one happy before his death” a person becomes known by how he ends. The same applies to Mr Trump, before CWR endorses him as a saint when he is still living. Three questions come to mind, first is he going to continue with the murders of those on death row? Second, What about his failure to adequately address deaths as a direct result of COVID-19 and failure to uphold the public guidelines? Where is Christ’s humility when confronted by his enemies and humanity in all the noises coming from his leadership? Isaiah 38:18 : ” for sheol cannot thank you, death cannot praise you ” In all that we do , we should remember the end of life so that we never sin or encourage others to do so.

      • “The same applies to Mr Trump, before CWR endorses him as a saint when he is still living.”

        Such a comment says far more about you than it does about CWR (or CNA). This is a news brief. I suggest you focus on reading comprehension over angry emoting.

        • I am not angry, just surprised that you write about Trump in the same breath as one of our greatest Saints. Or did I miss the irony? The path to Sainthood is marked by our deeds on earth.

          • CNA (not Mr. Olson) wrote about President Trump in the same story (not “breath”) as St. Thomas Becket because the entire story is abou the fact that President Trump praised St. Thomas. Did you somehow blink and miss that?

      • Executing an individual adjudicated in a court of law for committing a capital crime isn’t murder.

        One could make an affirmative argument that your attempt at character assassination should be a capital crime but we’ll likely have to wait for your particular judgment for the justice that you deserve but will escape in this life.

  2. You can judge the tree by his fruit. God will judge all of us not only by our shortcomings, imperfections and grievous sins but by the good we have done as well. I sincerely doubt that many of our generation can measure up to the caliber of this man. It is confounding what the Good Lord can do with His creatures. God is a potter, He works in mud and writes straight with crooked lines.
    God reward President Trump, preserve him, and provide him and us some temporal justice.

  3. Bravo!! Great story. And I thank President Trump for making the point in his proclamation connecting this Saint with the situation of the present day. We can expect NOTHING this intelligent and well thought out from Joe Biden on the subject of religion. Our religious freedoms have been blandly handed over to the state by too many religious leaders of all stripes. On the surface their motivation might have been health and safety.Or maybe it was their concern about how they would be viewed by secular society if they did not comply. But in so doing they have made the point that they value the body more than the soul. According to the Baltimore catechism, this is not a permitted point of view. Certainly it should not be for church leaders. Meanwhile, the church leader’s surrender has resulted in churches being closed or highly restrained in attendance for almost a year. This includes govt tampering with worship services to the extent of forbidding singing in some places. And still church leaders meekly comply. The dictatorial blue states are the worst, and those governors show no sign of abdicating the power they were freely handed. St. Thomas Becket would not only be horrified, I would wager he would actively resist the government.

  4. “St. Thomas Becket would not only be horrified, I would wager he would actively resist the government.”

    I strongly suspect that even Henry II would be horrified, too.

  5. As Trump is forced from office in disgrace, his lies and deceptions will be blatantly revisited in his legend. A president with no morals, no compassion, no leadership utters no mea culpa. A few of Trump’s highest crimes…
    1. He discussed imposing martial law with Flynn at an Oval Office meeting for losing.
    2. Admitting he held back his knowledge of the dangerous COVID virus in Jan. 2020 in an interview with Bob Woodward which was the act that exploded the virus we see today. He also ignored his adviser’s Pete Navarro’s memo saying this may ruin his office.
    3. Trump was treasonous when he aligned with Putin on Russia’s cyber war on us at Helsinki!!!

    Be careful who you praise!

    • morganB, before you bother to get a coronavirus vaccine, try to find one that cures Trump Derangement Syndrome. You’ve been spewing spite and hatred, with no good reason, for years now. Get over it.

      I hope that when somebody robs you sometime and then everybody tells you that you should just accept it and that demanding that the thief be punished and your money returned is unacceptable, you realize how that would be simple justice for your comments.

      “1. He discussed imposing martial law with Flynn at an Oval Office meeting for losing.” If he did discuss it – and given what bald-faced liars most of the media are I wouldn’t take their word for anything – so what? First of all, he can discuss anything he wants, and I don’t hear you complaining about how Obama and Biden were in on spying on Trump and his campaign. Secondly, if the election really was stolen, how would you suggest he fix it? Or do you just think, “Well, even if there should be proof that the election was stolen, I don’t care, because I really hate President Trump.”

      “2. Admitting he held back his knowledge of the dangerous COVID virus in Jan. 2020 in an interview with Bob Woodward which was the act that exploded the virus we see today. He also ignored his adviser’s Pete Navarro’s memo saying this may ruin his office.”

      I’m not hearing any condemnation from you of Anthony Fauci, who admittedly lied about wearing masks because he wanted the masks to go to medical workers. Meanwhile, the President blocked travel from China, as Pete Navarro recommended in the memo of which you write. I wonder if you were one of the people shrieking “Raaaaaaaaacist!” at him for doing so.

      ” 3. Trump was treasonous when he aligned with Putin on Russia’s cyber war on us at Helsinki!!!”

      “A reporter asked Trump who he believed on the issue of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election — U.S. intelligence agencies reports or Putin? Trump’s response: “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.””

      Given biased liars like Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and Page, not to mention the bureaucrats like Vindman who consider it outrageous that a president would dare to make foreign policy and not follow their ideas obediently, I can see why he wouldn’t trust U.S. intelligence agencies’ reports. Meanwhile, the actual collusion with Russia was done by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And strange how you are so convinced that Russia meddled in an election in 2016 but you’re firmly convinced that neither China nor anybody else could possibly have meddled in the electon in 2020.

    • Morgan,
      Every president leaves office after their term has been served. It’s just the way things are set up. No one is “forced” to leave.
      We understand you are not a fan of Pres
      Trump but can you not give him just a little bit of credit for standing up for religious liberty and referencing a Catholic martyr?

  6. For Mr. Biden:
    Le-bar nash be-neshak. Your actions betray your real purpose. איר דינען שׂטן.

    God is and shall always be in control. Praise St. Becket for his sacrifice.
    Now is the time for Christians to show courage in the face of tyranny, God is crying out for Lions of Judah, NOT LAMBS.

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