Beckett Essay Research Paper St Thomas Becket

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Beckett Essay, Research Paper St. Thomas Becket died for the rights of the Church, under the reigning king, Henry II. He was martyred while he was giving mass and he was enabled to be willing to die for the faith that he loved. Thomas stands for the principle of God against Caesar. Somewhere between these two points, between these respective duties, comes a dividing line, where the territories meet. A man of conscience must decide on which side he will stand. It is the old conflict between Church and State. It was on that difficult borderline that Thomas was called upon to live and die. What he resisted in those early years, other men did not see or understand, but he foresaw the dangers ahead that eventually overwhelmed the Church in England. Thomas was born into a Norman

family and was baptized the same day. All remarked upon his purity of life. He loved the lovely things of God, the noble horse, the swift flying falcon, and God looked upon him with pleasure. So, from about 1142, he was employed as a clerk at the court of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury. Because of his noble bearing, his shrewdness and capability, the archbishop himself noticed him. Thomas encountered the highest in the land, even became a close friend of the king himself, who like the archbishop took a fancy to him. In 1154, while still quite young, Thomas was ordained a deacon and appointed archdeacon of Canterbury. In this position, Archbishop Theobald used him as a negotiator with the Crown. The following year (1155), Thomas was made Chancellor of England, a post in which

he loyally served Henry II for seven years as diplomat, diplomat, and soldier. Thomas’s personal efficiency, lavish entertainment, and support for the king’s interests even, on occasion, against those of the Church, made him an outstanding royal official. All these dignities were a wonderful ascent, but Thomas rose rapidly to power by his ability and by his magnetic personality, which all who associated with him remarked upon. The state of the country improved greatly under his rule as chancellor; his business was to administer the law and this he did with impartiality to alike, to churchmen as well as laymen. God brought this servant along a strange and long road, preparing gradually the instrument of his design, as he does with every individual according to the plan of life

and work he has chosen for him. When the king selected him for his final post, being his close friend, he must have thought he would have an obedient tool, which he could use as he wished. He had made a wrong choice to carry out his evil designs. He wished to curb the power of the Church, to regulate her benefices to make appointments to suit himself, in fact to take from the Church the rights which were peculiarly her own. Though Thomas had outwardly appeared worldly, he loved rather the things of God and His Church. “If you make me Archbishop,” he said, “you will regret it. You say you love me now; well that love will turn to hatred.” When accepting the office of archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, he took over the authority–his training and character fitted him for so

high a dignity but henceforth he would be a different man; from the day of his election, he completely changed. He had served the king, now he was to serve the King of kings, where glory lies in discipline and humility. To Henry’s amazement and annoyance, Thomas resigned the chancellor ship and was ordained a priest the day before his Episcopal consecration. He had not wished to be made archbishop, but when the office fell to him, his style of life changed radically. As Thomas put it, he changed from being “a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds, to being a shepherd of souls.” Now that he was a priest he lived as one, putting aside all the costly robes he used as Chancellor; he wore the habit of a monk. Every time he said mass he said it with great devotion and