Lessons in Leadership from St. Thomas More
by Laura DeMaria
St. Thomas More, patron saint of civil servants, statesmen, and politicians, lived a life of moral courage. A 15th-16th century saint, More was poet, author, lawyer, scholar, and Lord Chancellor in the British monarchy during Henry VIII’s scandal-ridden reign. For adhering to his Catholic faith, and silently refusing to acknowledge King Henry’s divorces and marriages, St. Thomas More went from trusted advisor to royal prisoner.
As big elections and leadership transitions occur across the globe, there are a few things the humble St. Thomas More can teach everyone – especially elected leaders – about governing with courage and authenticity.
Religious Freedom is Nonnegotiable
More’s response: “I pray for it daily.”
Keep Family Close
Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
In another great line from “A Man For All Seasons,” Thomas More says, “I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” In all things, More sought the moral, just route. Speaking of morality is a politically incorrect thing now as it was in Henry VIII’s day, but that did not stop More and it shouldn’t stop today’s leaders, either.
If you’d like to learn more about St. Thomas More, I recommend watching “A Man for All Seasons.” Also, if you live in the DC area, the St. Pope John Paul II Shrine is having an exhibit on St. Thomas More’s lifeuntil March. Lastly, take a look at some of his writings, which include the novel Utopia and his famous “The Prayer in the Tower,” to get a personal sense for the man and saint.
St. Thomas More, patron of statesmen, pray for us and our world in this time of change!