Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22: Take your dog to work day... or the feast of a philospher and martyr

One of our Usual Suspects, 2012 Holidays & Observances (which our crack research staff wants to call "" because that is both the URL of the site and a cooler name) advises that today is Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Interestingly, another Usual Suspect, American Greetings (which puts TYDTWD on Sunday, June 24, which doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense) claims that today is also Be Kind To Stuffed Animals Day. If you've got stuffed toys at home and a dog that chews on things while you're away at work, today is a Win-Win: Take your dog to work and you will be kind to your stuffed animals by giving them respite from the maw of your masticating mutt.

But if you don't have a dog or if you can't take your dog to the local after work, consider raising a glass tonight to the memory of St. Thomas More. In the Catholic Calendar of Saints, today is his feast day. It's also the feast of St. John Fisher.

Sir Thomas More was truly A Man for All Seasons (that's a link to the great 1966 movie about More which you should watch soon). Chancellor of England under Henry VIII, and the author of Utopia, More broke with Henry when Henry broke with Rome to found the Church of England (and not coincidentally, grant himself a divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn). More tried to take refuge in silence, but he was forced to speak and, when he did, he could not and would not acknowledge his one-time friend and patron Henry as supreme head of the Church in England.

John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester -- and was the only English bishop not to abandon Rome for the Church of England. Stripped of his office and later convicted of treason for failing to take that same loyalty oath that would cost More his life, Fisher was sentenced to hanged, drawn and quartered. King Henry commuted this sentence to one of beheading, and St. John Fisher lost his head on this day in 1535.

Tommy More (as he, or at least his parish, is known on the South Side of Chicago) kept his head until July 6, 1535 (he was the beneficiary of a commuted sentence, too), but his feast day got consolidated in with Fisher's in a Vatican housekeeping some years back.

Interestingly, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More are both also venerated by King Henry's Church of England (the Episcopal Church in America) as "Reformation Martyrs." In the Church of England, however, their joint feast day is July 6.

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