In his biography “A Daughter’s Love,” historian John Guy writes that “without Margaret talking and praying with him as often as she could in that cold, bleak cell, it is far from certain that he would have been able to do what he did.” More knew himself well enough to know this too.
In the end, More embraced the chopping block as liberation from earthly suffering and entry into a better world. But is there no spiritual merit in the suffering of the loved ones left behind? More’s reliance on his daughter does not in the slightest diminish his virtue, his courage, his faithfulness. Should having a famous martyr for a father diminish Margaret’s?
And what of heroic virtue, the defining characteristic of saints?
Margaret may not have died for her faith, but she managed to outwit Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s chief minister and her father’s chief nemesis, gaining access to More’s prison cell on the pretext that she would try to persuade him to take the oath—even as her visits stiffened her father’s resolve. She defiantly took his severed head down from its pike on London Bridge after his death. Still later she would let the king’s men know that their threats would not deter her from seeing her father’s writings published, so the world might know the man Thomas More really was.
Why not canonize her? On the one hand, Margaret took the oath her father refused. Still, this is unlikely to be an immovable obstacle, not least because she added the caveat “as far as will stand with the law of God.” Perhaps the more prosaic reason this gentlewoman is not a saint is that the process is time-consuming and costly, and lay men and women generally do not have the benefit of a religious order pushing their cases.
In Rome the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints confirms there is no movement to have this good woman join her father on the calendar of saints. Manifestly, a pronunciamento from the pages of The Wall Street Journal is not the conventional starting point for a journey to canonization. But if that’s what it takes, so be it.
Please read the rest there.