2006 Conference - The English ReformationDeep in History

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher: Martyrs of Conscience – Dr. Scott Hahn

September 8, 2016 No Comments

In this 2006 Deep in History lecture, Dr. Scott Hahn discusses two great saints of the English Reformation: Thomas More, who died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first,” and John Fisher, the only bishop in England who refused to acknowledge King Henry VIII’s unlawful divorce. Both received the crown of martyrdom for their commitment to conscience.

In a day and age where so many, even religious leaders, are willing to compromise their principles in order to do what is considered expedient in the eyes of a society hostile to faith, the witness of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher is as relevant today as it was in the 16th century. Dr. Hahn tells their stories in an engaging and informative way that brings them to life for a modern-day audience.

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Study Questions:

-In what regard were Fisher and More held by the royalty, scholars, and people of England? Why do you think people did not listen to them

-Based on Dr. Hahn’s description of More’s works, do you think his opposition of the English Reformation was scripturally-based?

-What insights does More give to the suffering of Christ and, thus, our suffering?

-What reality does Dr. Hahn propose the Seven Sacraments shows us?

-What does Romans 8:17 promise us? What is the value of human suffering (given only through Christ’s suffering) as explained by More

-Reflect upon the statement made by More to his persecutors, just hours before his death. Did his words move you? If so, how?


Lectio Divina: (Latin: “sacred” or “divine reading”) A method of reading Scripture practiced by monastics since the beginning of the Church, generally comprised of reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.

St. John Fisher: An EnglishCatholic bishop and theologian, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. Fisher was executed by King Henry VIII for refusing to accept the king as Supreme Head of the Church of England and for upholding the Catholic Church’s doctrine of papal primacy.

St. Thomas More: An English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII and was Lord Chancellor of England. More was executed by Henry VIII in 1535 for his refusal to sign the First Succession Act.