The White House, December 29, 2020: A proclamation is issued by President Trump marking the 750th anniversary of the shocking and brutal assassination of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket as he prayed at the altar of the Cathedral.
Thomas Becket of London stood in the way of the crowned head of England, Henry II, and, thus suffered the ultimate psychological abuse which clothes those who dare to speak the truth.
His assassination for this was shocking and brutal, rocking the middle ages.
Thomas Becket was a highly educated man with a glory about him that charmed. He had come to the attention of King Henry. He was offered the high position of Chancellor of the Court and accepting, became very close friends with Henry. They went hunting and gaming together, enjoying the exalted conversations they had. Thomas became very wealthy and famous.
King Henry had some ideas however that would mar this great friendship.
He had a deep desire to control the Church. In 1162, Theobald, the Archbishop of Canterbury, died. Henry jumped at the chance to install his friend Becket as Archbishop. This would fulfill his desire.
Becket was made a priest, then a Bishop, then Archbishop of Canterbury.
Henry got what he wanted!
So he thought!
Henry wanted to start by ending the widespread practice of clerics being tried in religious courts rather than the Kings court. He could never envision what was going to happen.
Becket had become filled with religious fervour and spirituality. He objected to the Kings desire to erode the power of the Church. He was charged with treason, and, fled to France for six years.
The Pope took an interest and threatened to excommunicate King Henry and Becket was allowed back as Archbishop in 1170. He continued on his path of defiance to the King, correcting immoralities and disorders with his verbal skills and writings.
Henry raged and one of his sayings has come down to us this day:
“Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”
Four Knights of the Royalty took him at his word and attacked Becket as he stood at the altar of Canterbury Cathedral. The manner of execution was the use of their knightly swords with which they attacked his body again and again until the blood of the martyr flowed across the marble floor before the tabernacle which held God !
Three years later the Pope made Becket a Saint and the Knights were excommunicated.
In 1174 King Henry walked barefoot to Canterbury Cathedral as an act of penance. His sorrow ate at his very heart.
His plans to curb the power of the Church had failed.
The Grace of God had prevailed.
Becket 1964 Historical Drama starring Richard Burton as Becket
National Catholic Register: St. Thomas Becket
St. Thomas Becket pray for us