Società Internazionale Tommaso d'Aquino
San Thomas and l'Encyclical "Fides et Ratio"

From: Padre Lobato OP
Date: 20.01.99
Language: english - italian

Pope John Paul II has given us a nice present with his last Enc. " Fides et Ratio ", an invitation to flying towards the whole of truth with the two wings of reason and faith. This document, together with "Veritatis Splendor ", is a high quality testimonial on " deacony of truth " practised at present time by the Church. We are all invited to recover the parressia of faith, to be daring in reason and to have courage for truth.

We, the disciples of Thomas Aquinas, have special reasons for intensifying our gaudium de veritate. Thomas occupies a preferential place in the pontifical document, with the highest number of quotations, with references to previous documents, as Aeterni Patris by Leon XIII, Vatican II, letter Lumen Ecclesiae by Paul VI, and is furthermore proposed as exemplar ideal of the capacity of human reason in searching and possessing truth and of intellectus fidei for elaboration of theology. Thomas Aquinas, proclaimed Doctor Humanitatis in 1980, is now proposed as a model for those called to developing and conquering the three wisdoms, philosophical, theological and mystical. The Pope points out " the perennial novelty of Thomas Aquinas thought ". Future of theology will be conditioned to using a philosophy with the three characteristics of Thomas- philosophy, that is sapiential, true, open to transcendence. The Council theologians formed at Thomas- school are laudatorily mentioned.

We stand in front of an important historical and doctrinal fact. We don't have to close our ears, nor our eyes, and neither have we to let this occasion of cultural promotion escape. I suggest a few questions with regard to the interpretation of the Encyclical and its carrying out :
  1. The comparison with the Enc. Aeterni Patris, in which the " wings " of Thomas and the meeting with reason and faith are also mentioned, is inevitable. What are the differences between the two encyclicals and due to what causes?
  2. Proposing Thomas as exemplar model for doing theology without inculcating method, principles and doctrine - as in the past even CJC did - are we on the same wawe-lenght or has there been a turn in orientation?
  3. To make the Encyclical " Fides et Ratio " efficacious, and not merely a proposition, it has to dare the jump to the cultural reality of present time, reaching schools and mentality. What practical measures do you think have to be adopted as to ensure to philosophy and theology the hoped future?

The dialogue is left open. With kind regards.

Abelardo Lobato, OP.

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