Leading Dominican Theologian Sees ‘Increased Interest in Aquinas’ Among Young Catholics| National Catholic Register

Father Thomas Joseph White saw both a new scholarly emphasis on historical accuracy regarding the 13th-century saint and an interest in his potential contemporary relevance.

According to Father Thomas Joseph White, a new generation of young people is attending St. He is deeply invested in the work of Thomas Aquinas.

The Dominican theologian and rector of the Angelicum in Rome said he had witnessed both a new academic emphasis on historical accuracy and attention to potential contemporary relevance regarding the 13th-century saint.

“We are seeing a modest renaissance of Thomism in the church, especially in the English-speaking world,” Father White told CNA on Sept. 22.

“And that’s something people are paying more attention to in the academic world now because we’re seeing an increase in interest in Aquinas that is unrelated to the prevailing ideas of homogeneity in the past. It really is more about grassroots people trying to think through the doctrine of faith and bring theology into their local community and the wider Church through rigorous research and responsible thinking.”

Father White spoke at the 11th International Thomistic Congress, which will take place in Rome on September 19-24.

“I think this is the most important Thomistic conference to be held internationally in decades,” he said.

More than 130 speakers, including Father Simon Gaine, Father Wojciech Giertych and Father Gilles Emery, attended the congress. A wide variety of topics were covered, from the historical reflections of Thomas Aquinas to current philosophical issues in metaphysics and ethics.

“The last few days have been incredible because we had a healthy representative from all over the world, the Far East, the United States, Central and South America, Africa, India and of course Europe. “It shows what kind of Catholicism the involvement with Aquinas as a co-doctor for Catholic thought,” Father White said.

Pope Francis received participants from the International Thomistic Congress in an audience in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on September 22.

Speaking completely closed, the Pope underlined the importance of contemplation in intellectual life.

Pope Francis greets participants of the 11th International Thomistic Congress on September 22, 2022. | Vatican Media

Pope Francis told the Thomists, “Before we talk about St. Thomas, before we talk about Thomism, before we teach, we must contemplate.”

In a written statement distributed to congress attendees, Pope Francis said in St. He wrote that Thomas Aquinas’ “search for the truth about God is guided and permeated by love.”

In front of Papal audiences, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, governor of the Doctrine of Faith Dicastery, offered the Mass for congress participants at St. Peter’s Basilica. A school of students from the papal university sang for the service.

Thomistic Institute and St. Co-organized by the Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, the 11th International Thomistic Congress is the first of its kind hosted by the papal university in Rome for nearly 20 years.

Father Dominic Holtz, vice dean of philosophy at the university, told CNA that the convention was “tackling new questions about the Thomist relationship and transhumanism with neo-Confucian philosophers – things we probably wouldn’t have thought to ask 20 years ago.” ”

Father Dominic Holtz.  Photo credit: Courtney Mares

Father Dominic Holtz | Courtney Mares/CNA

Father Holtz added, “The hallmark of Thomism is that it can both enter new situations and make a living in the classic perennial questions that each generation must grapple with.”

“For example,” he continued, “there was a talk yesterday about how we understand Revelation. What does Revelation mean and how does it work when we consider the scriptures? … And philosophical questions, what is the condition of the human soul after death?”

“These kinds of questions will always remain with us, and they are asked from new and interesting perspectives in light of what has been looked at before.”

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