Feast Day of St Thomas Aquinas

January 28 is the Feast Day of St Thomas Aquinas.  I reflected on a passage to commemorate the day, and came up with this passage that I think sums up much of Aquinas’ basic outlook:

‘To detract from the perfection of creatures is to detract from the perfection of the divine power.  But if no creature has any action in the production of any effect, much is detracted from the perfection of the creature: for it marks the abundance of perfection to be able to communicate to another the perfection which one has oneself.’   ~ Summa Contra Gentiles, III.69

 St Thomas certainly loved God, but he also dearly loved creation (and the study of it).  This is typical of the ‘both/and’ tendency of Catholicism in general.  This both/and love of Creator and creation (of God and man) is the best ground – in fact is the only possible ground for – humanism (and yes, I am intentionally baiting the SHAFT community here).  As Pascal puts it, God gave men the ‘dignity of being causes’.

Author: Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

2 thoughts on “Feast Day of St Thomas Aquinas”

  1. You posted this same issue a few months ago nobody took the bait ha ha.

    But I’ll bite this time…after I marshal my thoughts.


  2. Perhaps instead of taking the bait here, we should just organize a SHAFT/Philosophy Club event sometime this semester. A panel discussion on humanism might be interesting, and I would be more than happy to represent the Christian humanism point of view. It need not be a ‘debate’, but could instead be a discussion fleshing out the various arguments and commitments.


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