Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket

… Archbishop Becket responded “God is the supreme ruler, above Kings” and “we ought to obey God rather than men”

… Thomas’s reply echoes around the world and across the ages

… Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history

… our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history

… It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs

… defending liberty is more important than life itself

… the people of America and the people of the world still cry out: “We want God”

… We especially pray for their brave and inspiring shepherds — like Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu

… A society without religion cannot prosper

… A nation without faith cannot endure — because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God

… I invite the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches and customary places of meeting with appropriate ceremonies in commemoration of the life and legacy of Thomas Becket