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St Thomas Aquinas (letter)

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 Contents - Aug 2001AD2000 August 2001 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Assumption of Our Lady: 15 August - Michael Gilchrist
Melbourne's new Archbishop receives Pallium from John Paul II - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
After 14 years: why does AD2000 continue? - Michael Gilchrist
Denver Archdiocese: the future of Catholicism - David Scott
US bishops implement papal teaching on Catholic universities - Charles E. Rice
Appreciating the Mass: a successful new publication - Fr Robert Egar PP
Australian scholarship for African priest
Letters: Balanced presentation (letter) - Denis O'Leary
Letters: BEC success stories (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: BECs not new (letter) - John Barich
Letters: Radical feminists (letter) - Dr T.R. White
Letters: Statement of Conclusions (letter) - Mark Power
Letters: Orthodox seminary (letter) - Paul Chigwidden
Letters: Finding more priests (letter) - Theo Silvas
Letters: Evolution/Original Sin (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Vatican II 'ambiguities' (letter) - George F. Simpson
Letters: Choosing life (letter) - Mark Whybrow
Letters: St Thomas Aquinas (letter) - Valentine Gallagher
Letters: Generous response (letter) - Fr Stephen B. Muchemwa
Letters: Mass leaflet (letter) - Stephanie McClarty
Letters: Correct statement (letter) - Elizabeth Carr
Books: Genetic Turning Points, by James Peterson - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: The Cross of Anzac, by Tom Johnstone - Mark Posa (reviewer)
Books: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, by Scott Hahn - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: Learning to Pray, by Julie Keleman - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: The DNA of God: Newly Discovered Secrets of the Shroud of Turin, Garza-Valdez - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: The Christian Travellers' Guides: France, Britain, Italy, Germany - F.T. Long (reviewer)
Events: Victorian Thomas More Winter School 2001 in Ballarat, 3 - 5 August 2001
Events: Cardinal Lustiger to visit Australia, 6 August 2001
Events: Second National Chesterton Conference, 30 Sept - 1 Oct 2001
Reflection: Clerical celibacy: Giving ourselves up completely to God and the people He loves - Fr Dennis W. Byrnes PP

In his essay "Faith, Reason and Humility", published in The Priest (May 2001), Professor Peter Forrest quotes John Paul II's Fides et Ratio in which the Pope states: "The Church has no philosophy of her own, nor does she canonise any one particular philosophy in preference to others."

Professor Forrest comments that Thomism was taken by several generations "as 'canonised' in preference to other philosophical systems," after the publication of Leo XIII's Aeterni Patris.

In an address delivered at the Angelicum University and reproduced in L'Osservatore Romano (17 December 1979), Pope John Paul II asserted: "The immortal Pontiff [Leo XIII] recalled that the method, the principles and the teaching of Aquinas had, down the centuries, been especially favoured not only by learned men but by the supreme teaching authority of the Church."

In the same address, Pope John Paul cites Pope Pius XI's Studiorum Ducem: "In honouring St Thomas something greater is involved than the validation of St Thomas and that is the authority of the teaching Church" (id est Ecclesiae docentis auctoritas).

His Holiness observes that the reason why St Thomas' philosophy is pre-eminent is to be found in its realism and its objectivity; it is a philosophy of "what is, not of what appears." What makes the philosophy of the Angelic Doctor so wonderfully apt to be the "handmaid of faith" (ancilla fidei) is that it has gained possession of truths of the natural order which have their origin in God the Creator just as truths of the divine order have their source in God as revealing.

Father Robert O'Connell writes: "In 1879 Leo XIII 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. This endorsement was reinforced when, in 1918, Thomas' name was inserted in the Church's Code of Canon Law. Canon 1366, paragraph 2, legislates that candidates for the priesthood be trained 'according to the method, doctrine and principles of the Angelic Doctor'" (Hooked on Philosophy, page 91).

Fr O'Donnell CSP holds a doctorate from the University of Louvain and is Professor of Philosophy at the New York Archdiocesan seminary.

Arncliffe, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 14 No 7 (August 2001), p. 15

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