Who was Saint Thomas Aquinas, the famous theologian?

Who was Saint Thomas Aquinas, the famous theologian?

Saint Thomas Aquinas is an Italian theologian celebrated on January 28. Doctor of the Church and patron saint of Catholic schools, his work still resonates with current affairs today.

The boss of Catholic schools

Thomas Aquinas was canonized on July 18, 1323 by Pope John XXII, then proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1567. He was recognized as patron of Catholic schools, universities and academies in the 19th century by Pope Leo XIII. He is also the patron saint of booksellers. His literary work is monumental and testifies to the university pedagogy of his time. He infused the Church with an innovative doctrinal synthesis with his questions on the abusive tutelage of theology, notably by holding to the principle of the autonomy of reason. The brilliant theologian draws on the scholastic teaching booming in the Middle Ages which establishes that faith and reason are not opposed but harmonious. Thomas Aquinas offers a rational approach to understanding the existence of God. A philosophy that is built in the reading, commentary and criticism of fundamental texts like that of the Bible.

A youth under the sign of vocation

Thomas Aquinas was born around 1225, in the small Italian town of Aquino, halfway between Naples and Rome. Son of a count and countess, he grew up at the castle of Roccasecca before joining the neighboring abbey of Monte Cassino. At nineteen, the young man rejected monastic teaching and joined the Preaching Brothers, better known as the Dominican order. A religious community with a simple way of life built on knowledge to understand Christian thought.

A great intellectual

He studied theology at the University of Paris, the most important university institution of the time. He then returned to Italy to teach his Dominican brothers, before being sent to the Vatican where he worked with the papal court. In the meantime, he published several works which marked the beginnings of scholastic philosophy. Thus, in his work, Thomas Aquinas strives to reconcile the heritage of ancient thought – that of Aristotle – with Christian theology.

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