Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Perche' Tommaso

St. Thomas stands midway between ourselves and the masters of philosophical thought of ancient Greece and early Christianity. He gathered together their insights and summarised their wisdom for the benefit of future generations. At no time did he pretend to answer, nor could he, all the questions that perplex and puzzle the human mind. What he did do, however, was to provide the principles and methods for their true resolution.

The Church has recognised this and has adopted him as the surest guide for us in our search to understand not only the things of the natural world, but also the truths of our Faith, as far as human reason can take us. There have been numerous expressions of this confidence by all the popes of recent times, such as this recent statement of the present Holy Father to Catholic young people:

"The philosophy of St. Thomas deserves to be attentively studied and accepted with conviction by the youth of our day by reason of its spirit of openness and universalism: characteristics which are hard to find in many trends of contemporary thought." ... "As a Catholic, you are heir to mankind's supreme intellectual tradition."

Such praise of St. Thomas' philosophy, however, is not confined to Catholic circles. Many recognise the greatness of his thought and work. He is by common consent acknowledged to be one of the greatest minds in the history of mankind.

It is to be noted that Thomism, the name given to the system of thought developed by St. Thomas and his followers, is by no means a closed system. It is able to accommodate all of what is true in the "systems" of other great philosophers. With the help of such an intellectual tradition we are able to resolve many apparent contradictions and better direct our thinking about the nature of reality and the object of human life.

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