St. Thomas Aquinas: Examine faith and reason with the Doctor of the Church

Neutral color depiction of man sitting on bench with halo around head, reading book, outdoors

St. Thomas Aquinas by Gentile da Fabriano, c.1400 CE. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28: Today, the Catholic Church honors the 13th century priest, philosopher and theologian who so greatly influenced religious thought that he has been named Doctor of the Church. Thomas Aquinas defended the authenticity of reason, particularly within the works of Aristotle, while examining metaphysics, the human mind and ethics. (America Magazine and this website further examine the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas.)

In what has become known as Thomistic Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas used specific principles and methods to prove the existence of God and explain faith.

An Italian born in 1225 CE, Thomas Aquinas was the son of a nobleman and was educated from an early age. Aquinas’s progress earned great respect, but at age 17, he turned from his expected path and joined the Order of St. Dominic. (Wikipedia has details.)

Aquinas continued his studies at the university level and began publishing works. Kings valued his opinions and popes asked him to hold esteemed positions, yet the philosopher refused such requests. Aquinas wrote extensively on natural law, political theory and metaphysics. (Learn more from Catholic.org.) En route to the Council of Lyons, his presence there ordered by Gregory X, Aquinas fell ill and died. St. Thomas Aquinas was canonized in 1323 CE.

High regard for human reason, and insight into natural order, has led to a profound reverence for Thomas Aquinas that has continued through the centuries. St. Thomas Aquinas is considered the model teacher for those studying the priesthood and the Church’s greatest theologian.

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