By Dr. Gerard B. Wegemer
One of history’s most admired figures and one of the great lawyers and statesmen of all time, Thomas More was voted “Lawyer of the Millennium” by the Law Society of Great Britain and named “Patron of Statesmen” by John Paul II. More combined immense humanistic learning with an unequaled command of the legal and political traditions of Christendom, forging a profound philosophy of statesmanship and freedom. To this philosophic and cultural achievement, More added the virtues of an exemplary husband, father, and friend and the detachment and interior peace of a saint. He thus emerged from the first great crisis of modern tyranny—a crisis that would claim his life—as the model of a truly free man, whose conscience and character no despot can subvert. More was canonized in 1935, as Hitler was rising to power and the world needed an example of courage and skill in the face of the greatest of dangers.
This biography reveals how More prepared himself for the challenges of his life, and how he rose to the demands placed upon him in what became one of history’s most revolutionary periods.
Thomas More is more important at this moment than at any moment since his death, even perhaps the great moment of his dying; but he is not quite so important as he will be in about a hundred years’ time. ~ G. K. Chesterton, 1929
The author, Dr. Gerard B. Wegemer, is a professor of literature at the University of Dallas and director of the Center for Thomas More Studies, which he founded in 2000. Among his publications are Young Thomas More and the Arts of Liberty (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Thomas More’s Trial by Jury: A Procedural and Legal Review (Boydell, 2011), A Thomas More Source Book (Catholic University of America Press, 2004), and Thomas More on Statesmanship (CUA Press, 1996). He assisted in the process that culminated in More’s becoming Patron of Statesmen on October 31, 2000, and has served as an editor and member of the research committee of Moreana, the international journal on Thomas More and his times. Wegemer earned master's degrees in political philosophy and in literature from Boston College and Georgetown University and a doctorate in English literature from the University of Notre Dame.