St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas (27K GIF)
His Holiness, Pope John Paul II

The Centre for Thomistic Studies, Inc.
Sydney, Australia

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The Centre for Thomistic Studies was founded in 1985 for the purpose of providing a sound and profound education in philosophy and kindred subjects for the people of Sydney, continuing the work begun by the late Dr. A.M. Woodbury, S.M., Ph. D., S.T.D., a Marist priest and a leading Australian proponent of Thomism.

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As its name suggests, the Centre is inspired by the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth century philosopher acknowledged as perhaps the greatest of all those who have attempted to answer the most profound and yet the most common questions of human life and reality. Such questions are as old as time and as new as today. Similarly the answers must be essentially the same, in whatever age we may be living.

St. Thomas stands midway between ourselves and the masters of philosophical thought of ancient Greece and early Christianity. He gathered together their insights and summarised their wisdom for the benefit of future generations. At no time did he pretend to answer, nor could he, all the questions that perplex and puzzle the human mind. What he did do, however, was to provide the principles and methods for their true resolution.

The Church has recognised this and has adopted him as the surest guide for us in our search to understand not only the things of the natural world, but also the truths of our Faith, as far as human reason can take us. There have been numerous expressions of this confidence by all the popes of recent times, such as this recent statement of the present Holy Father to Catholic young people:

"The philosophy of St. Thomas deserves to be attentively studied and accepted with conviction by the youth of our day by reason of its spirit of openness and universalism: characteristics which are hard to find in many trends of contemporary thought." ... "As a Catholic, you are heir to mankind's supreme intellectual tradition."

Such praise of St. Thomas' philosophy, however, is not confined to Catholic circles. Many recognise the greatness of his thought and work. He is by common consent acknowledged to be one of the greatest minds in the history of mankind.

It is to be noted that Thomism, the name given to the system of thought developed by St. Thomas and his followers, is by no means a closed system. It is able to accommodate all of what is true in the "systems" of other great philosophers. With the help of such an intellectual tradition we are able to resolve many apparent contradictions and better direct our thinking about the nature of reality and the object of human life.


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