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Letters

St Thomas Aquinas

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 Contents - Nov 2001AD2000 November 2001 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Synod of Oceania document imminent - 'Ecclesia in Oceania' - Peter Westmore
Tenth Synod of Bishops: Bishops called to courageous witness to the Faith - AD2000
News: The Church Around the World
A young Catholic's views on the state of the Church in Australia - James Connolly
Brisbane liturgy director calls Vatican document "a betrayal" - Michael Gilchrist
Pastoral letter: Taking up John Paul II's concerns about the Sacrament of Penance - Archbishop Barry J. Hickey
Cardinal Ratzinger's latest book-interview - 'God and the World' - Zenit News Service
Winter school: Evangelising in a "post-pagan" culture - Fr Anthony Mastroeni
Opinion: Catholics before and after Vatican II: separating fact from myth - John Young
Letters: Forgotten teachings - Fr John Speekman
Letters: Catholic women - Errol P. Duke
Letters: Immigration policy - George F. Simpson
Letters: Classification Guidelines - Mrs Carol V. Phillips
Letters: A response on the Creation of Man - Gerry Keane
Letters: Catholic teaching - John Schmid
Letters: St Thomas Aquinas - Valentine Gallagher
Obituary: Lew Bennett R.I.P.
Books: 'The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity', Carsten Theide - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
'Those Terrible Middle Ages', by Règine Pernoud - Christopher Quinn (reviewer)
Books: My Dear Young Friends: Pope John Paul II Speaks to Teens on Life, Love, Courage - Mary-Jane Donnellan (reviewer)
Books: 'Pardon And Peace: A Sinner's Guide to Confession', by Fr Francis Randolph - Christopher Quinn (reviewer)
Tapes: Thomas More Center Brisbane Winter School, July 2001
Books: 'The Glenstal Book Of Prayer: A Benedictine Prayer Book - Mary-Jane Donnellan (reviewer)
Books: 'STICKY THE DOG', by Robert Wheeler - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Bookstore: New Titles from AD Books
Reflection: All Souls Day and a Christian response to bereavement - Fr Dennis W. Byrnes PP

As Mr Michael Casanova observes, Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Fides et Ratio lauds St Thomas Aquinas as an authentic model and guide for all who seek the truth (September AD2000).

Mr Casanova asks: "What is happening when the Church on the one hand has 'no philosophy of her own', yet praises St Thomas so much?" He contends that the question can be answered by a careful reading of the encyclical.

Father Robert O'Donnell Ph D, Professor of Philosophy at the New York Archdiocesan Seminary, writes: "In 1879 Leo XIII (in Aeterni Patris) declared the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas to be the official philosophy of the Catholic Church" and required that all candidates for the priesthood be schooled in it" (Hooked on Philosophy, p. 91).

Similarly, Pope St Pius X states that in Catholic schools: "The principles of philosophy laid down by St Thomas Aquinas are to be religiously and inviolably observed" (Doctoris Angelici).

Pope John Paul II explains that the magisterium's eulogy of St Thomas has not been in order to take a position on properly philosophical questions "nor to demand adherence to particular theses" (par 78).

In July 1914 the Sacred Congregation of Studies issued a list of 24 philosophical theses for Catholic institutes. The list was submitted to St Pius X and declared by him to contain the principles and main theses of the Angelic Doctor. His Holiness clearly intended that these theses should be taught in Catholic seminaries.

Such theses were not presented as articles of faith but as demonstrable philosophical truths.

For instance, the first thesis affirmed that potency and act divide being in such a way that whatever is, is either pure act, or of necessity it is composed of potency and act as primary and intrinsic principles. Thomism is an evidential philosophy based on the dual evidence of the data perceived by our senses and our intellectual apprehension of first principles. It is not from its agreement with the Catholic faith but from its rational evidence that Thomism derives its authority precisely as a philosophy. Always its appeal is to reason.

VALENTINE GALLAGHER
Arncliffe, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 14 No 10 (November 2001), p. 15

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