Thomas Cranmer vs. Emma of Hawaii

March 30, 2012

Before we head into the weekend and another bout with LMW (Lent Madness Withdrawal) we must first finalize the saints of the Faithful Four. Mary Magdalene? Check. Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Check. Margaret of Scotland (very close call yesterday as she barely squeaked past Enmegahbowh!) Check. Today you will decide whether Thomas Cranmer or Emma of Hawaii will join this august trio in forming the holy quartet that will move forward in their pursuit of the Golden Halo.

To get this far, Thomas Cranmer defeated Ephrem of Edessa and Columba while Emma's road included surprising victories over Catherine of Siena and Paul of Tarsus. Check out the updated bracket to see how things have played out thus far.

We will begin the Faithful Four straightaway on Monday morning with Mary Magdalene taking on Margaret of Scotland. Then on Tuesday it's Dietrich Bonhoeffer battling the winner of today's match-up. Finally, voting for the winner of the Golden Halo will take place on Spy Wednesday. Enjoy a breather this weekend -- you've earned it! And be ready to go on Monday of Holy Week.

To this writer’s dismay, it seems no one has yet made a Thomas Cranmer action figure. If anyone has pull at Mattel, please put in a good word for the archbishop. The kitsch surrounding the writer of the Book of Common Prayer is pretty thin; however, Cranmer has the distinction of being the Archbishop of Canterbury played by more film and TV actors than any other. Most recently played by Hans Matheson in The Tudors, 22 actors have stepped into the role since 1911 (according to The character of Thomas Cranmer has even appeared in a film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture – A Man for All Seasons in 1966. This makes Cranmer the only member of the Elate Eight to appear in a Best Picture winning film.

Several Do-It-Yourself-ers provide goodies for those of us interested in Cranmer’s kitsch. Coffee mugs, T-shirts, bags, and mouse pads, among other things, are all available. If you head to England, you can stop by the site of Cranmer’s martyrdom, marked by a brick cross on Broad Street in Oxford. The Martyrs’ Memorial, built in the 1840s, includes a statue of Cranmer, and it stands in St. Giles Street, also in Oxford.

Looking to test your Cranmer knowledge? Take a ten-question quiz here. Finally, if you’re into historical fiction and mysteries, take a look at C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake mystery series. Running into our archbishop is a real treat: he is a character in Sovereign (2006) and Revelation (2008). One last thing: I want a Cranmer bobblehead. Can someone get on that?

--Adam Thomas

While Queen Emma of Hawaii - unlike her opponent in today’s match-up - never composed beautiful language that I will babble from the depths of memory (along with all the words to the Brady Bunch theme) when I am old and eating strained carrots in a nursing home, she influenced and improved the physical, spiritual, and mental health of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in her time and moving forward to our own day.

Kitsch-wise, she has her share but, after a small sampling, we’ll take a look at her real influence.

This Queen Emma beer stein allows you to “Make any day Oktoberfest whether with this impressive stein on the shelf or in-hand. Cheers!” The same photo of Emma may be purchased on a regular mug, a throw pillow, or a journal in which to pour your soul to the kindly queen.

For those who wish to share their enthusiasm for Queen Emma on their person, there is the “Emma and Proud” tee-shirt (pink only).

If you feel the need to cuddle up, there is always the 14-inch Emma friend doll from Buns of Maui on sale for only $25.19.

The philatelists among us are not left in the cold in the Emma-Commema-ration department. There are postage stamps, both old and new, commemorating Queen Emma, including a $9 stamp issued in 2011 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of her birth. A nine dollar stamp! The U.S. Postal Service just issued stamps bearing the visages of José Ferrer and Danny Thomas for a mere $.45.

[Celebrity Blogger’s Note: “In 1989, the 500th Anniversary of the birth of Thomas Cranmer...was celebrated. Actually, the event barely raised a whisper in England, where the good man...was denied a commemorative postage stamp!” Journal of Anglican Studies, November 2009, Vol. 7, No. 02, p. 246. Just sayin’.]

But back to influence.

Beyond the legacy of creating the premier healthcare center in the Pacific, beyond her tireless promulgation of the Anglican way in the Hawaiian islands through the establishment of schools, churches, and the Cathedral of St. Andrew’s, she exerted a profound influence on western social and cultural trends.

To wit:





A Renaissance queen indeed.

-- Heidi Shott


Thomas Cranmer vs. Emma of Hawaii

  • Emma of Hawaii (55%, 1,155 Votes)
  • Thomas Cranmer (45%, 955 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,110

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141 comments on “Thomas Cranmer vs. Emma of Hawaii”

  1. Gotta admit the kitsch in this round seldom moves me. But Heidi's tableau showing Emma's influence on western social and cultural trends sealed my vote today.

    1. Well said. It was the blogging, with that o-so-subtle smackdown on Cranmer, that tipped my vote to Emma. The wisdom and subtlety! Hard to lose the vote when you finish up by connecting Emma with George Clooney. Bravo!

    2. The cultural influence tableau was awe-inspiring in its array of fabulous gowns, lush floral necklaces, smashing parasols, and a hat with which I am friends on Facebook. But much as I have come admire Emma, it's Thomas for me today.

      1. I wish I had had the foresight (and guts) to end a citation in "Just sayin'" while writing my thesis.

  2. Emma is on the calendar because she and Kamehameha brought Anglicanism to Hawaii and translated the BCP. But without Cranmer there were have been no BCP. As fond as I am of Emma, today I have to give the round to the Archbishop!

    1. Certainly a very valid point to consider as I debate for whom I will cast my vote. I DO so admire Emma, but without Thomas would we still be saying our prayers in Latin but speaking English the rest of the time? What to do, what to do?

  3. I was going to vote for Tom until I saw the lei on George Clooney. It's important to have rational reasons for these votes.

  4. I agree with Susan. Although the stamp argument was masterful (1 point for Emma), the movie trivia was fascinating (1 point for Cranmer). A modified quote from Looney Tunes: "Which way do I go, which way do I go?" Hmm. . .

  5. This was just sooooo difficult this morning! Oh, how I love them both. I love Thomas for the beautiful prayer book he gave us, but I have to agree with Susan also on this one. Still, whatever the outcome (Emma is behind at this point), it will be a fantastic Faithful Four!

  6. I love Our Emma - but Oh, you Tom!

    Sorry, Hawaii. Writers of the Prayer Book and Martyrs to the Faith go to the front of my line, not even a little question about it.

    (Do love the entries this morning, BTW. Really well done!)

  7. Going with Emma this morning because ... well, because she, too, is someone I can hope to emulate. I love the prayerbook, but have problems with some of the theology of the older versions (admission: I became an Episcopalian in 1992, so Rite I and previous prayerbooks are not part of my history/heritage). Balancing my theology with Emma's devotion means Emma gets my vote today!

  8. How can you justify voted for Cranmer who annulled Catherines marraigeto Henry and kept his own marraige quiet. Gotta go with Emma!

    1. Dang, Sue! I so wish I'd thought of this BEFORE I voted! Fooey! Well, can I do like Donna did on "The West Wing" and get someone who was going to vote for TC to vote for Emma instead? Then they cancel each other out! Yeah, I didn't make that much sense then either, but it was a great concept!

  9. Another brutally hard choice--awesome Emma vs. Cranmer's profound prayers...this may come to casting lots.
    My favorite film portrayal of Cranmer is Bernard Hepton in the old BBC/PBS series "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and the series about Elizabeth I that followed; Hepton really looked like the portrait of Cranmer and both series did a great job of making him as complex a guy as he must have been. And I love those Sansom books...
    Hmm--I may leaning toward Cranmer here...

  10. Tom gets my vote today; his faith reaches out of each payer book each day to help me and the rest of the world express our faith in Christ and in Gods new
    vision of what this world can be.

  11. As a member of the Frozen Chosen (Episcopalians), I feel duty bound to vote for Cranmer. Besides, he appeared in my favorite movie of all, the 1966 (original - accept no remakes!) A Man For All Seasons. Of course, if St. Thomas More had convinced Henry VIII to stay married to Catherine, there would be no CofE, no Cranmer BCP. And that would be a sad thing.

    - Created the First authorized English Language Liturgy, the Great Litany, for King Henry VIII!!
    - Collapsed the Seven Daily Offices into Morning, Noon-day, and Evening Prayer!
    - Pulished the first English Language Communion service in 1548
    - TWO Books of Common Prayer, 1549 and 1552
    - Father of the English Reformation
    - Martyred for his faith at Oxford.

    AND, Most importantly
    NOT IN POCKET OF BIG PINEAPPLE (And Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawaii)

    1. Maple dude - Emma has the goods on your guy, but she doesn't go negative. That's not how the Aloha Spirit (or the Holy Spirit) rolls.

    2. I am laughing so hard I can barely type. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!

      Glad to see that the PAC had the proper disclaimer at the end, too...!

      1. "Cram-ner"? It goes by quickly, but twice... Tsk. Not his Friends, indeed! Can't even get his name right...poor guy.
        Heidi's write-up is brilliant - love the influences, and I just put it together now that Emma's legacy of Hawaiian health care saved my friend's life (oh, that little thing!). Also, like Lauren S., the BCP and the Prayer of Humble Access are not selling features for me. The principles embodied in BCP for that time, yes, certainly, but not the slavish devotion to outmoded ...well, you know the drill.
        But I'm voting Cranmer. Soft spot for underdogs, and being burned at the stake for your principles AND having your name mangled by your own campaign team (does Enmegahbowh nod sympathetically from the gallery?) trumps 'just' losing an election. But Emma's cool. This is a vote for Cranmer, not against Emma.

    3. I am *howling* over here ... thank you so much for this "commercial." How could I not vote for the man who gave us the Dustbuster prayer? (We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table ...)

      1. Oh dear, I'm going to burst out laughing in my small, quiet, country church the next time that is said. Note to self: Do not use the phrase Dustbuster Prayer to my sons. Do NOT tell my sons. Do not tell my sons... (at least until college)

    4. Also, I don't think Emma fans should get too cocky - I think Cranmer presents stiff competition in the Hats, Dresses, and Accessories round - he's just too modest and humble to highlight it. He may lose out in the Parasol competition but why would he even want something that just keeps sun off? Open it up to Umbrellas proper and he'll kick butt -- with a good ol' British bumbershoot sturdy enough for sun AND rain protection AND (as Heidi's photos prove) capable of providing manned flight with the lowest carbon footprint ever. C'mon, Fashionistas! C'mon Green voters! Cranmer's your man!

    5. How well do you know Thomas Cranmer?

      According to Wikipedia (which we all know MUST be 100% true), Thomas Cranmer...

      -Wimped out during the plague of 1529, by staying with relatives instead of sticking it out in Cambridge!
      -Helped King Henry VIII kick out not one but MULTIPLE wives!
      -Had a hidden family of his own!
      -Once passed notes in church on All Saints Day instead of listening to the sermon!
      -Wrote sermons that were apparently so dull that only one draft of one sermon still exists!
      -Did not even write the Book of Common Prayer - he only stole pieces from other prayer books and then edited it!
      -Was an etch-a-sketch man, changing his stated opinions before his death!
      -Contributed heavily to global warming by the carbon emissions formed from his being burnt at the stake!

      Don't be mislead by fancy YouTube videos with booming voices! Vote Emma! 😉

      Paid for by the Supporters of Emma of Hawaii

    6. Great spoof!! Especially interesting in an election year and in keeping with the serious, but giddy nature of LM!

  13. George Clooney's lei, a definite plus. Princess Beatrice's hat, not so much. Emma was fabulous and yes, a trend setter but this bibliophile is going to have to go with Tom today. A book wins out (BCP to C.J. Sansom) every time. Tough choices to be sure.

  14. I had to go with Emma. Archbishop Crammer produced beautiful language, and I respect it. But Emma cared for the sick--acrtual people.

  15. Very, very tough choice. I have to go with Emma for much the same reasons as Lauren did--she was the Christian that one day I hope to become. Long live the Hawaiian culture and people she worked so hard to serve and preserve!

  16. Emma's hat and gown almost had me persuaded, but in the end I had to go with Cranmer again. Martyrdom trumps fashion once again.

  17. All about the hats! Must go with Thomas. Sorry Hawaii, but we use Thomas' contribution every time we go to a service. And he's a martyr.

  18. "We do not presume to come to this vote, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but with thy manifold and great inspirations..."

    Or something like that.

    (Misquoted in love and with deep reverence for the original, for all those who would accuse me of being of too light a heart and voice.)

    1. I was sorry to see the prayer of humble access dropped from the liturgy (1979). Humility---don't leave home without it!

  19. Prayer of Humble Access---the reason that, 40 years ago, I became an Episcopalian.

    We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under they table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood that that we may evermore dwell in him and he is un. Amen (BCP p 337)

      1. I loved it much better before the Puritans* on the Liturgical Commission bowdlerized it for the 79 BCP.
        *The shorter form was proposed by the Puritans at Savoy, but rejected in 1662, and again 1789-1928 and again in Common Worship.

    1. That is probably my least favorite prayer. I refuse to say when it's included in the service. Remember Mark's Syrophoenician Woman/Matthew's Canaanite Woman: "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

      1. I do remember, and that remembering is what gets me through that prayer...despite its outward display of [adjectives omitted for sake of those who love the prayer] humility the "crumbs" reference for me brings that story from Mark into the prayer, and that makes it ok. I mean, how dare we, really, ever, approach God?(Annie Dillard has some great thoughts along those lines). I love the Syrophoenician woman's courage-born-of-desperation and can empathize. I remember her example every time I pray that prayer, and that there was a hard edge to Jesus' initial reply, and that helps keep my prayer life aware and honest and out of Buddy Jesus (eew!) territory.

      2. Remember Jesus' response? Never have I seen such faith in Israel. And, Jesus healed the desparate, (and non-Hebrew) woman.

        1. Her daughter, in the story I'm thinking of. I only point it out because there can be a different level of desperation between pleading for your own life versus the life of your child.

          The "faith in Israel" quotation belongs to another 'remote' healing, of centurion's servant (Matthew 8). Jesus does give the gentile woman (in Mark 7 or Matthew 15) credit for great faith in the Matthew account though... eventually, after ignoring her and denying her twice.

          1. Thomas Cranmer! Thomas Cranmer! THOMAS CRANMER!!!!!!!!
            that's about as direct as I can get w/o being nasty.

          2. Thank you, Jennifer! I remember the woman was asking for her daughter's healing, but my fingers didn't! Matt. 15: 28 "O woman, great is your faith!" I guess I "blended" the 2 stories about the centurion Matt. 8 & the Matt 15.

  20. And by the way, continuing in my calling as a subversive, if Cranmer wins, I will post Emma as the winner of this round on my church's bracket.

  21. FYI, the Matthew Shardlake books that Adam mentions are really good! Not kitschy at all. Great fun to see many of the Anglican Reformation figures come to life, though usually in passing. They're well written and (as far as I can tell) historically sound (the author, C.J. Sansom, is a historian). I highly recommend them.

    1. While pondering my choice today , I checked out your recomendation on the Shradlake books. T/Y will give him a try. Oh my, what I have learned from Lent Madness.

      I did settle on Cranmer as today's pick. The beauty and solace in the BCP did it for me.

  22. Well Cranmer gets my vote as I love the BCP, however, he almost didn't as I hate negative political adds. All I can say he did not encourage his followers to take the low road so I'll stick with him anyway.

  23. Cranmer! Cranmer! He's our man! If he can't win it, no one can! YAY! Cranmer.

    Ok, that was the best cheer I could come up with at a quarter to eight in the morning. *G*

  24. First "Big Pineapple" and now associations with George Clooney. Emma is starting to gain as many "Super Pacs" as some of the dreary people running for president.

    I will vote for Cranmer and then head out to cut the grass. When I get back the Hawaii vote should be in and today's action will be over.