A renowned scholar, Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224-1275) is often referred to as the Third Entry of Aristotle into the world. As a Dominican friar, he basically took much of the philosophical method of Aristotle and “Christianized” it, thus preparing the way for a “Natural Theology” to be based upon deductive reasoning.
His inquiry begins in the phenomena of the world, and illustrates that the knowledge of God is based on natural processes of reasoning. In his “Summa Theologica,” he sets forth seven proofs for the existence of God, all rooted in human experience. His works were the standard resources of study for those preparing for Holy Orders in seminaries until the mid-20th century and remain an important resource for ministry today.
The concept of “Natural Law” is derived from his writings and Thomas was a great proponent of this concept when dealing with ethics and morality in day-to-day life.
Today, St. Thomas Aquinas is honored as the Patron of Catholic Schools, and the last week of January, which incorporates his feast day, is celebrated as Catholic Schools Week in all Catholic dioceses in the United States. The legacy of his impact upon Catholic social teaching is significant too. His defense of the poor and exhortations to charity are some of the most eloquent in the church. In fact, it is fair to say that, as a theologian, he has had the most significant impact on Christian theology since the Middle Ages.
Cross Catholic Outreach is rooted in this long tradition of theology and ministry exemplified by St. Thomas Aquinas, by serving the poorest of the poor and exhorting all to compassionately care for the poorest of the poor in our world. If we seek to see the face of Jesus, all we need to do is look into the faces of the poor and there we find the face of Jesus Christ Crucified.
In honor of Catholic Schools Week, let’s especially remember the Church’s efforts in the developing world to educate and empower the children of the poor. One example is St. Joseph Freinademetz Primary School, a Cross Catholic Outreach partner that relies on our support to bless Kenyan children with a basic education and daily nutritious meals. Read all about them in our project catalog!
-Father Ron M.