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Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, January 28, 2013
I could not let today pass without saying a quick word about St. Thomas Aquinas, my intellectual hero and generally one of my favorite saints.

Aquinas was born in 1224/5 to a noble family at a time of political tension between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperor. Because Aquinas’s family supported the Emperor in this struggle they sent the young Thomas, after some initial schooling at the famous Benedictine Abbey Monte Casino, to study at the imperial university in Naples. Unlike the ecclesiastical universities, students at Naples were allowed to study Aristotle, whose writings were just beginning to filter back in to the Latin West via the Muslim World.

There was a perception at this time that Aristotelian science lead to conclusions that contradicted revelation and in some circles this science was therefore considered to be a threat to traditional Augustinian theology. It was the genius of Aquinas to synthesize these two streams of thought, the Augustinian and the Aristotelian, by showing the complementary nature of faith and reason.

The result is a liberating vision of the world and human life in which God holds all things in being through his creative love, and calls human beings to live in friendship with him in this life, and eternal happiness with him in the next.

Nicholas Crowe OP


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