"See something, say something."
I have heard this statement applied to several situation, and it seems to ring true. But it is a shame that our morality has been reduced to a slogan, a bumper sticker.
John and his fellow Carthusian monks signed the amended Act of Supremacy but balked when the act was reverted back the the original language. He petitioned Thomas Cromwell for an exemption with the argument that they had already signed and did not need to sign again but that was rejected and they were arrested.
The irony here is that John had a vow of silence and so did not defend himself in court. The jury originally found no fault but changed their verdict when threatened.
John became the first martyr of the English Reformation. We can see in the trials of the likes of John and Thomas More the sticky situation caused at that time. It was difficult to prove the charge of malice toward the king and crown or the country as a whole and those put forth for trail created constant situations for ambiguity. It is only later when the law overcame the humanity that wholesale intolerance became common.
John and the others with him held tight to the Truth even in silence and paid a high price, but he shows us that acting and not just words speaks loudly.
Lo, dost thou not see that these blessed fathers be how as cheerful going to their deaths, as bridegrooms to their marriages? Wherefore thereby mayest thou see (mine own good daughter) what a difference there is between such as have in effect spent all their days in a strait, hard, penitential, and painful life religiously, and such as have in the world, like worldly wretches, as thy poor father hath done, consumed all the time in pleasure and ease licentiously. For God, considering their long-continued life in most sore and grievous penance, will not longer suffer them to remain here in this vale of misery, and iniquity, but speedily hence take them to the fruition of his everlasting deity: whereas thy silly father that, like a most wicked caitiff, hath passed forth the whole course of his miserable life most pitifully, God, thinking him not worthy so soon to come to that eternal felicity, leaveth him here yet, still in the world further to be plunged and turmoiled with misery.
-- Thomas More to his daughter Meg on seeing John and others leaving the Tower for execution