What Weight Should Be Given to St. Thomas Aquinas’s Arguments Against Equality?

July 21, 2014

St. Thomas Aquinas pictured with a flaming sword pointed at the devil who lays defeated under St. Thomas' feet.

St. Thomas Aquinas pictured with a flaming sword pointed at the devil who lays defeated under St. Thomas’ feet.

A hierarchical and anti-egalitarian spirit is part and parcel of being a Catholic, as is evidenced in the writings of many popes and theologians, with special mention of St. Thomas Aquinas—upon whom Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira bases much of his argumentation. It is not without good reason that he does so:

1. St. Thomas Aquinas was solemnly praised in official documents by at least 70 popes throughout the centuries.

2. Pope Pius XI, in the encyclical Studiorum ducem (June 29, 1923), recalls that at the Council of Trent—convened to dispute Protestant errors—there were only two books on the altar available for consultation: The Holy Bible and the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI

3. The Code of Canon Law promulgated by Benedict XV recommended that all teaching in seminaries be done according to the method and doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas.

4. St. Thomas, along with other saints, has the authority of a Doctor of the Church, having been made a Doctor by another saint: Pope St. Pius V.

Following are some of the examples of popes praising St. Thomas Aquinas:

John XXII, in the XIVth century, declared: “His doctrine is miraculous because it exceeds human capacity to take things as far as he did.” He further declared: “St. Thomas Aquinas, by himself, illuminated the Church more than all the other doctors combined.”

Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Aternae Patris (1789), compared St. Thomas Aquinas to a sun. “It (the Summa) warms the world with the splendors of its virtues and fills it with the irradiation of its doctrine.”

Pope St. Pius X

St. Ignatius of Loyola establishes that one love and profess St. Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine as one of his litmus tests of “being in consonance with the Church.”

Pope Pius XI did more than all the others by making St. Thomas Aquinas a Universal Doctor of the Church.

Pope Pius XII’s writings have innumerable references to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Pope Paul VI, in a Discourse given at Fossanova on September 14, 1974, the occasion of the seventh centenary of St. Thomas’s death, asked himself: “Thomas, our Teacher, what lesson can you give us?” He answered with these words: “Trust in the truth of Catholic religious thought, as defended, expounded, and offered by him to the capacities of the human mind.”

Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII

Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Fides et Ratio (September 14, 1998), stated that “the Church has been justified in consistently proposing St. Thomas as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology.”

Finally, Pope Benedict XVI extolled St. Thomas Aquinas in three General Audiences in June 2010 and called the Summa Theologica a masterpiece.

To base one’s arguments, therefore, on St. Thomas Aquinas is indisputably to argue with great authority.

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Tradition, Family Property Association, ed., Egalitarianism: The Metaphysical Value and Religion of Our Days – Social Leveling…Total Leveling (Glasgow: Tradition, Family, Property Association, 2011), xvii-xix.

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