Pope Francis says " The Word of God, already received in the heart, must reach the intelligence to "renew our way of thinking"..." to Congress on St. Thomas Aquinas - FULL TEXT
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TOMISTIC CONGRESS,
PROMOTED BY THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SAN TOMMASO D'AQUINO
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Off-the-cuff words of the Holy Father
Address of the Holy Father delivered
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
I like this meeting after so many years because it is about reflecting on a teacher. Sometimes, when we reflect on a person who has been the creator of schools, philosophical or theological, we risk exploiting the teacher to say the things that seem to me, and this has happened with Thomism. Many interpretations - I am thinking of one for example - of casuistry, of Thomism, which has been a slave to casuistic thought. I remember that of a Spaniard who wrote so many books, a certain Losada, I think he was called that, I don't remember well, that to explain the "metaphysical continuum" according to St. Thomas, he invented the "puncta inflata". Thus an interpretation of a casuistic type, of an opportunistic type, diminishes and makes the teacher's thought ridiculous.
When we want to explain the thought of a teacher, the first step is contemplation, to be received in that magisterial thought. The second, shyly, is the explanation. And in the end, with a lot of caution, the interpretation, but this with great caution. The teacher is great, the teacher is someone who teaches school and who has created a school. The teacher is one who sets in motion a whole current of thoughts. Never use the teacher for the things I think, but put the things I think in the light of the teacher, let the light of the teacher interpret this.
Allow me to tell you about an experience of a Dominican. In the Synod on the family there were points that were not clear on Catholic doctrine and also interpretations of St. Thomas that were not clear. At that time we were really in question because we could not find the way. It was a Dominican, Cardinal Schönborn, who gave us a lesson in Thomistic theology - but at a height! -, because he understood Thomas and explained it without using it, with greatness. We lived that experience of that great Dominican, who was Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. There would be more…, but I want to mention this. On the one hand, there are many interpretations that reduce the thought of the master and then the experience of one who opened it: "No, this is what Thomas says", and proved by what he said. This is wonderful, this is a very great thing.
This is why I ask you: before talking about St. Thomas, before talking about Thomism, before teaching, we must contemplate: contemplate the teacher, understand beyond intellectual thought what the teacher lived and what the teacher wanted to tell us. The signal is when I reduce the figure of a teacher to the figure of a thinker, I spoil the thought; I take away his strength, I take his life away. And St. Thomas was a light to the thought of the Church, and we must defend him from all these "intellectualistic reductionisms" that imprison the greatness of his magisterial thought.
This is what I wanted to tell you, in addition to the speech that each of you will bring. But I wanted to stop and tell you this: he is a teacher, he is not an intellectual like many others, no, he is different.
Thank you so much. And now I'd like to give you the blessing and then say hello to those who want to say hello. If someone doesn't want to say hello, I don't oblige!
Distinguished Academicians, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am pleased to welcome all of you who have come to Rome from different parts of the world to celebrate the 11th International Thomistic Congress. I thank Cardinal Luis Ladaria for the kind words he addressed to me. I greet Father Serge-Thomas Bonino, President of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, and all the academics present. I also express my gratitude to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi who, as President of the Coordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies, has accompanied the life of the Academy for many years.
Next year will be the seventh centenary of the canonization of St. Thomas Aquinas, which took place in Avignon in 1323. This event reminds us that this great theologian - the "common Doctor" of the Church - is first of all a saint, a faithful disciple of the incarnate Wisdom. For this reason, in the collect prayer of his memory we ask God, "who made him great for the pursuit of holiness of life and the passion for sacred doctrine", to "give us to understand his teachings and to imitate his examples ". And here we also find your spiritual program: to imitate the Saint and let yourselves be enlightened and guided by the Doctor and Master.
 Petrus Calo, Vita s. Thomas Aquinatis, in Fontes vitae s. Thomae Aquinatis, a cura di D. Prümmer e M.-H. Laurent, Toulouse, s. d., p. 19.
 Lett. ap. Lumen Ecclesiae (20 novembre 1974), 8: AAS 66 (1974), 680.
 S.Giovanni Paolo II, Lett. Enc. Fides et ratio (14 settembre 1998), 43-44.
 Lett. Enc. Laudato si’ (24 maggio 2015), 86.