The society in which we live in prizes personal happiness above all else.  Sadly, to focus exclusively on one’s personal happiness is a guarantee of disappointment.[1]  To live a full and balanced life, a person must adjust the search for happiness with a sense of values.  Thomas More was a man who looked inwardly to resolve the issues before him.

Thomas More was Lord Chancellor of England during the time of King Henry VIII.  He was executed because of his perceived disapproval of Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn.  His life and death are portrayed in the 1966 film A Man for all Seasons based upon a play by Robert Bolt.

In the movie, More’s life is contrasted with that of Richard Rich, a young acquaintance.  More refuses to sacrifice his moral conscience, even at the price of his own life.  To the contrary, Richard Rich symbolizes the tendency to succumb to the temptations of wealth and status.  He winds up selling out his friend, More.

Each human being is given a choice:  when does ambition become overdone and lead to self destruction.

Thomas More has been canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.  He is also revered as a martyr.  However, the film does not depict him as a religious fundamentalist; rather, as a man who prefers to listen to the voice within, his conscience.  More is not the typical saint.  He was neither a priest nor religious.  He was a man fully engaged in the world with a strong moral compass.  It is in this sense that he is the patron saint of lawyers.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney

[1] (November 1, 2015).  Fr. Alan Weber Homilies.  Solemnity of All Saints.  Retrieved from