In honor of the Anglican initiative of Pope Benedict this week, a reminder of the history of Catholic England, when Catholics were willing to stand against the State if need be to protect the Honor of God. Becket (1964), although inheriting the historical howlers that existed in the play, and were known by the playwright Jean Anouilh who wisely preferred a poetic story to prosaic fact, (Becket was Norman not Saxon, Henry II was not a crowned juvenile delinquent, the armor, as is usual in medieval epics, is all wrong for the period, etc.), this classic film helped awaken in me a desire to learn about the history of the Church. With masterful performances by Richard Burton as “the holy blessed martyr” and Peter O’Toole as Henry II, the film brought alive to me as a child the high Middle Ages. The installation sequence brought home to me the important role of ceremony, tradition and symbolism in our Faith, a lesson I have never forgotten.
Donald R. McClarey
Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.