William Carter was born around the year 1548, in London. He became a printer’s apprentice at the age of 15, working for several well-known Catholic printers. He also served as secretary to the archdeacon of Canterbury, Nicholas Harpsfield, for ten years, up until Harpfield’s death in 1575.
Upon his death, Carter set up his own business, publishing Catholic tracts and books, urging Catholics to remain faithful to the Church during Elizabeth I’s rule. On one occasion, officials found various vestments and Catholic books during a house search. In 1582, he was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, and while imprisoned, was tortured. His wife died while he was incarcerated.
He was eventually charged with printing and publishing more than 1,000 copies of Dr George Martin’s Treatise of Schisme, which included a paragraph stating that the Catholic faith would ultimately triumph. This was interpreted as an incitement to violence against the Crown. On January 10, 1584, a jury took only 15 minutes to return a guilty verdict against him. William made his final confession to a priest who was tried alongside him, and was hanged, drawn, and quartered on January 11, 1584.
He was beatified in 1987 by Pope St. John Paul II.
Blessed William Carter’s courageous defense of the Catholic faith in the face of danger and fierce opposition ultimately led to his martyrdom. He stands as a witness who boldly proclaimed the Gospel without counting the cost. May we be blessed with his conviction and strength.
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