Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Steadfast and Faithful to the Church Part I

Catholic history is full of people who were completely loyal to the Catholic Church. These people displayed unwavering faith in the harshest of times. We should all pray that we may have such faith and strength, especially in our times of struggle. One man I would like to present is John Houghton.

John Houghton was most probably a priest. He lived during the reign of King Henry VIII. King Henry himself felt he was fully Catholic, despite causing, perhaps unknowingly, a heretical group away from the Church. One of the chief instigators of this movement was Thomas Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell set out to remove Papal influence in England. He was brutal and unyielding in doing so, causing great suffering. Many people were victimized, and many cathedrals were sacked. One of the victims of Cromwell's brutality was John Houghton.

John Houghton was an abbot and later a Prior of the London Charterhouse. He was asked to make an oath to the Act of Succession, and upon refusing was sent to the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned. After several months, he was convinced that the oath was fully Catholic, and he agreed to it. In 1534, he was asked to give an oath to the Act of Supremacy. This Act said that King Henry VIII was the head of the Church of England. John Houghton refused to take this oath, because he was fully loyal to the Catholic Church. John Houghton and several others who refused to sentenced to be executed by being hanged, drawn, and quartered. Even this did not deter Houghton.

His last words show us the power of his faith. His last words were: "Our holy mother the Church has decreed otherwise than the king and parliament have decreed. I am therefore bound in conscience and am ready and willing to suffer every kind of torture rather than deny a doctrine of the Church." (Hendriks)

We should all pray that we may have such amazing confidence and hope, through the grace of God.

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