Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,021 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope highlights contributions of St. Thomas Aquinas on faith and reason, natural law

Catholic World News - June 16, 2010

As his regular weekly public audience on June 16, Pope Benedict XVI continued his discussion on the influence of St. Thomas Aquinas, "a theologian of such importance that the study of his works was explicitly recommended by Vatican Council II."

The Holy Father was continuing his series of Wednesday talks on major figures in the development of Catholic thought. He had interrupted that series during the final weeks of the Year for Priests to offer meditations on the priestly ministry.

In the 13th century, the Pope noted, it was a “burning question” whether Greek philosophy could be reconciled with Christian theology. “Thomas was firmly convinced that they were compatible,” he observed, “and that the philosophy elaborated without Christ was awaiting only the light of Jesus in order to be made complete.” The great contribution of the “Angelic Doctor,” he continued, was to underline the interaction between theology and philosophy, faith and reason.

“The trust St. Thomas places in these two instruments of knowledge can be explained by his conviction that both come from a single wellspring of truth, the divine Logos which works in the area of both creation and redemption,” Pope Benedict said.

Theology and philosophy operate on different principles, since philosophy seeks authority in logic and evidence whereas theology relies on divine revelation, St. Thomas taught. This division of labor protects both fields, the Pope noted: “Faith protects reason from any temptation to mistrust in its own capacities.”

Reason, on the other hand, guides theologians in making logical arguments to demonstrate the truths of faith, the Pope said. Whereas modern atheists charge that the claims of faith have no objective meaning, the Pope said: “In the light of the teachings of St. Thomas, theology affirms that, however limited, religious language does have meaning.”

Pope Benedict went on to speak about how St. Thomas contributed to moral theology by emphasizing that human virtues are “rooted in human nature.” His work, the Pontiff said, underlined the importance of natural law. That understanding is especially needed today, the Pope said. “When natural law and the responsibility it implies are denied, the way is thrown dramatically open to ethical relativism at an individual level, and to totalitarianism at a political level.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($124,046 to go):
$150,000.00 $25,953.70
83% 17%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: D2Z - Jun. 16, 2010 7:39 PM ET USA

    Now I understand better why my elder son chose St. Thomas Aquinas for his patron saint at Confirmation. He is very interested in philosophy and theology and how they can tie together.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal 23 hours ago
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21
A chaotic synod? Not in its results October 21
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6