Bench Memos

John Roberts Is A Saint

Lest you think that my enthusiasm for our Chief Justice has gone overboard, let me explain: In the course of my travels to London last week, I had occasion to visit Tyburn Convent, the home of the shrine of the Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation. Among those martyred at the Tyburn Tree gallows, near the site of the convent and the northwest corner of Hyde Park, was John Roberts, a Welshman who studied at Oxford and at the Inns of Court before converting to Catholicism and becoming a priest. Convicted of the crime of saying Mass on English soil, St. John Roberts was hanged, drawn, and quartered on December 10, 1610. Various relics of St. John Roberts, including a finger bone, are on display in the crypt at Tyburn Convent (though the crypt will soon be inaccessible for an extended period of time, as the poor nuns who run the convent incur the million-dollar expense of complying with British law governing access of disabled persons).

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