Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Off With His Head! - Bishop Fisher

On June 22, 1535, Catholic Bishop/Cardinal John Fisher was beheaded on Tower Hill for refusing to submit to Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England. Fisher had long been outspoken about Henry VIII's coup of the church, break with Rome, and divorce of Katherine of Aragon (whom he served as defense lawyer for at the divorce trial).

Thus, it came as no surprise that he quickly found himself imprisoned in the Tower. After word reached the Pope of Fisher's ill-treatment, he made him a Cardinal and quickly dispatched his Cardinal's hat to England.

Henry VIII, ever quick to spite the Pope, made sure Fisher had no head to wear his new hat upon. Henry was, however, kind enough to offer to send Fisher's head to meet his hat, just to save the Pope on postage.

Ironically, Fisher was executed on his namesake day, the Catholic Feast of Saint John the Baptist, who was also beheaded by a ruthless king whose marriage the executee had denounced. Wonder if Henry thought of that?
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