Our Religious Family understands the importance, especially in the times which we live in, of good intellectual formation. We see so much confusion around us, both inside and outside the Church! By means of a good theological and philosophical formation, we seek to learn the principles by which we can understand the nature of mankind and his relationship with God—thus making it possible to refute modern misconceptions, defend the value of human life and explain the social doctrine of the Church. In a word, to be able to proclaim the Gospel to a world that thirsts for the truth.
As St. Pope John Paul II said, “seeking the truth, discovering it and rejoicing in it… is one of the most compelling adventures of life.” Fortunately, we are not alone in our search for the truth. For 2000 years, God has led His Church and brings her ever closer to the truth. Thus, over the years, the Church Fathers and theologians, always confirmed by the Church’s Magisterium, have accumulated a wealth of knowledge.
There is one scholar who stands out head and shoulders above the rest and is proudly called by the Popes the “Prince of philosophy and theology”—St. Thomas Aquinas. This Dominican lived in Italy in the 13th century. His best-known work is the Summa Theologiae, an extensive work that clearly summarizes the entire theological basis of our faith. He also wrote several commentaries on biblical and numerous other books in which he summarizes and completes the theological line of thought of the Church Fathers. An important starting point of St. Thomas Aquinas is that we can come to the truth in two ways: through Divine Revelation or through human reason (ratio). Because there is only one truth, there can never be a contradiction between faith and reason.
Pope John XXII confirms, “a man could profit more in one year from the study of St. Thomas Aquinas, than if he studies the doctrine of others for his whole life.” For this reason, we also feel called by the words that St. John Paul II addressed to the Dominicans, “I encourage the preachers of today…to become true disciples of St. Thomas who are able to cope with quaestiones disputatae and engage in a dialogue with all who are far from faith and the Church. Without this capacity, theology, the preeminent science, would be replaced by secular science. Thanks to the diligent study of the monumental work of the Angelical Doctor [nickname of St. Thomas due to his angelic knowledge, ed.], Christian thinking is given a rigorous method and conceptual instruments that allow it to penetrate to the depths of Holy Doctrine.”
Confirmed and encouraged by the teaching authority of the Church from the Middle Ages to the present day, we, too, want to continue to study, deepen and make the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas known. In our formation houses, we teach directly from the original texts as well as from modern commentators, such as the Italian priest Cornelio Fabro (1911-1995). In the mission, many of our religious continue their study, based on St. Thomas. In many places, we also offer philosophy courses.
We ask through the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas for the grace of never straying from the true Doctrine of the Church.