I have a very low opinion of Thomas Becket. He started out as the best friend and right hand man of King Henry II. However, once he became the Archbishop of Cantebury, Becket started defying the monarchy for seven years. He became so popular as a religious figure that he could instigate a rebellion against the monarchy if he wanted to. When Henry II had his eldest son crowned king-in-waiting, Becket excommunicated every priest involved in the coronation. I can’t blame Henry II for not inviting Becket for his son’s coronation. Because Becket spent so many years defying the crown’s authority, he pretty much undermined the monarchy’s trust in Cantebury.
For a priest, Becket was a hypocrite. Henry II was his best friend and he betrayed him. In Dante’s Inferno, the deepest and coldest circle of Hell represented Treachery. Also, Becket was arrogant in thinking that his status as Archbishop would give him the right to do whatever he wanted without consequences. Among the Seven Deadly Sins is the sin of Pride, which Becket clearly submitted to. He is an example of hateful zealots who think everything they say or do is in God’s name. In the end, Becket paid for his arrogance and zealotry with his life. When you betray your friend and defy the government for so long, sooner or later the consequences of such actions will catch up to you. Becket deserved what he got. Did he honestly think that he could challenge a king’s authority and expect there to be no price to pay?
In general, Thomas Becket is a prime example of why religion and politics must NEVER be mixed together. When the public cannot differentiate one from the other, the result is chaos. By undermining the monarchy’s authority, Becket was essentially undermining the credibility of the government as a whole. In modern times, such people would be called anarchists or extremists.