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When in 1525 England's Cardinal Wolsey appointed Father Richard Whiting abbot of the ancient Benedictine abbey of Glastonbury, he praised the appointee as "a priest commendable for his life, virtues, and learning," a declaration signed by the future martyr (Saint) Thomas More as a witness. But when in 1534 Abbot Whiting had to choose between his allegiance to the papacy and King Henry VIII's demand under pain of death that he recognize his claim of supremacy over the Church in England, the abbot failed to follow More's example, but instead swore allegiance to Henry. Yet after five years of making compromises to keep his abbey open, Abbot Whiting was nonetheless arrested when a raid of his room yielded copies of papal bulls, papal indulgences, and a biography of the martyred archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Thomas Becket. It was at this point that the abbot finally found the courage openly to declare his allegiance to the pope. He was executed by drawing and quartering in Glastonbury together with two other Glastonbury monks, (Blesseds) John Thorne and Roger James.
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By Deacon Keith Fournier
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