On February 18th, Pope Benedict created 22 new Cardinals. It is a great honor for the men chosen, for their dioceses, for the countries of origin and for the entire Church. These 22 new Cardinals will join a select group of Papal advisers and they will eventually choose one from among their rank to succeed the currently reining Pontiff. However, what many fail to realize is that the Cardinal’s red garments are not about earthly glory. The scarlet red garments symbolize his willingness to give his blood for the Faith.
In a world much like our own, one Cardinal was asked to choose. Would he support the immoral desires of an evil ruler or stand for infallible truth of the Catholic Faith? Many of his brother Bishops felt they should spare their own lives and stand with the King. Today, that Cardinal is St. John Fisher. When Henry VIII sought divorce from Catherine of Aragon, he wanted the Bishop’s blessing, or at least his silence. Fisher publicly proclaimed he was willing to die in defense of the Church’s belief of the indissolubility of marriage.
On June 22, 1535, John Fisher was lead to the Tower for his final witness. Before he went to his death, he proclaimed that he was dying for “the faith of the Catholic Church and of Christ.”
If we continue on the current moral decline in the US and other places throughout the world. We may live to see many John Fishers in out time, in face, we may be among them.