Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"It Was Not For the Supremacy That You Have Sought My Blood. But Because I Would Not Bend to the Marriage!"

This is the final part of the trial scene for the 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons.

Paul Scofield plays Saint Thomas Moore.

He gave up everything, including his life, to defend the clear words of Christ...

...on divorce.
The indictment is grounded in an Act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to the law of God and His holy Church, the supreme government of which no temporal person may, by any law presume to take upon him. This was granted by the mouth of our Savior, Christ Himself to Saint Peter and the bishops of Rome whilst He lived and was personally present here on Earth. It is therefore insufficient in law to charge any Christian to obey it.
Have mercy.

That speech strikes the contemporary Church like thunder.

The interesting thing about the film is that it was written by a non-Catholic and non-Christian.

Robert Bolt had been divorced three times.

Some believe Bolt rewrote the intensely Catholic Moore into a sort of free-speech liberal.

I think this is half-true. But Bolt himself was aware of the issue:
I am not a Catholic, nor even in the meaningful sense of the word a Christian. So, by what right do I appropriate a Christian saint to my purposes? 
What first attracted me was a person who could not be accused of any incapacity for life, who indeed seized life in great variety and almost greedy quantities, but who nevertheless found something within himself without which life was valueless, and when that was denied him, was able to grasp his death... 
So, St. Thomas More's deep religious convictions—the motive of his life and death—are too often minimized or even discounted as a kind of amiable eccentricity. 
Yet is it meaningless to write about a saint and leave out God.
Faithful Catholics think of the sixties as a turning point. By the mid-sixties the rot had already set in, and all that.

But what's notable is that in 1966 a thorough-going and principled Catholic could also be a sympathetic free-speech liberal.

A Man for All Seasons won six Academy Awards.

The film could not be made now. For that matter, at least two other films based on Bolt's screenplays--Lawrence of Arabia and The Mission--could not be made now.

Today, such a character as Moore, or Moore as written by Bolt, would be called a hater.
I do none harm. 
I say none harm. 
I think none harm. 
And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then, in good faith, I long not to live.
Yeah, sure. He was a hater.

Enjoy your rainbow.

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