Status and wealth, power and fame: St. Thomas More had them all. As a wise and popular statesman, internationally recognized scholar, and Lord Chancellor of England, More was perhaps the most highly respected Englishman of his day until his conscience required that he lay down his life for his Catholic faith.A generation ago, the American Catholic novelist John Edward Beahn retold More’s life story as a biographical novel, A Man Born Again: A Novel Based on the Life of St. Thomas More
, published in 1954. Making ample use of the rich historical records of sixteenth-century England, Beahn lays out the convoluted political landscape of the period, which set the scene for the disastrous efforts of King Henry VIII to divorce his queen and marry his mistress—while demanding that the Church grant him sanction for his immorality.
Alongside the political complexities, Beahn traces the development of More’s interior landscape. Family conflicts, vocational perplexities, personal tragedies, and forthright acquaintances all played their part in shaping his soul. These influences, converging with the political developments that relentlessly pressed in on him, forged a remarkable character that combined brilliant intellect, moral integrity, and deep devotion to Christ and His Church.
In the end, More chose to give his life rather than compromise his convictions under coercion from the state. No doubt a second generation of readers will welcome this TAN Legend edition of A Man Born Again: A Novel Based on the Life of St. Thomas More, as twenty-first-century political trends call for heroic Catholic resistance to government assault upon the Church.
John Edward Beahn (1910-1990) was born in Philadelphia, served in the United States Army during World War II, and became a business executive who discovered his writing gifts later in life. He contribute articles to several Catholic magazines and wrote popular biographical novels of the saints, including: A Rich Young Man (1953), about St. Anthony of Padua; A Man Born Again (1954), about St. Thomas More; A Man of Good Zeal (1958), about St. Francis de Sales; and A Man Cleansed by God (1959), about St. Patrick’s Confession.