Aquinas’ gift to the world

From the English Jesuit Fr Martindale who wrote on Catholic theology and issues through the 1930s to the 1950s:


Aquinas made a new gift to the world, which has assisted human thought ever since and could assist in the present moment far more even than it does, were it better used. The great Greek thinker Aristotle had reached our thirteenth century in small fragments only of his works, ill-translated, and mostly by way of Arab and Jewish authors, who had made current very distorted versions of Aristotle’s meaning, so much so, that the very name of that philosopher was suspected and disliked. St. Thomas, practically singlehandedly, turned the whole of this situation once and for all upside down. He caused, with the help of the Holy See, a complete and proper translation to be made; he explained the whole system of Aristotle more perfectly than ever yet it had been set forth; and he displayed that, far from being of necessity, or at all, hostile to the Christian Faith, the tremendous treasures of antiquity could be brought into glad and free cooperation with the teachings of Christ. This in itself is an enormous benefit, because it can preserve religion from the miasma of sentimentalism that infects so much of it today. Do not imagine it is easy to think properly. It is far harder than learning about airplanes, or hunting, or making films. It is an art. And, it is very tiring. People seize every chance of not thinking, and end by half arguing you ought not to think, anyway in religion, but just to feel or be what they dub “mystical.”


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