St. Thomas Aquinas and the Renewal of Catechesis

Authored by R. Jared Staudt in Issue #32.1 of The Sower

Thomas Aquinas is not generally thought of in relation to catechesis. In fact, he is not referred to in the General Directory for Catechesis. However, Aquinas can render a valuable service to catechesis today as a model of pedagogy and a doctrinal resource for catechists.

In his essay entitled “Thomistic Theology and Religious Education,” Fr. Mark Heath provides a great service in bringing Aquinas into modern catechetical discourse. He lays out three main points, which he claims define Thomas’ contribution to catechesis: synthesis (systematic), theocentricity, and doctrine. Thomistic theology integrates all true insights (as seen especially in Thomas’ Aristotelianism), treats all things through and in relation to God, and is ordered toward a deeper understanding of the faith. These three points stand in stark contrast to current trends in catechesis, which focus on experience and praxis, as well as theories that emphasize whole-community catechesis. Therefore, Heath’s essay provides a helpful service in addressing the current crisis of catechesis, particularly by bringing Aquinas back into the discussion.

However, Heath’s essay can only be viewed as a preliminary effort. While he effectively brings forth key elements of Thomistic thought, the full catechetical significance needs further exploration. The content of Aquinas’ theology is actually tightly knit into a methodology intended to order one’s mind and heart to God. By focusing on the content of Thomas’ catechetical sermons (as well as of the Summa Theologiae) one can grasp how Aquinas’ presentation of doctrine is meant to draw the listener/reader into a deeper engagement with the realities that he presents.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: St. Thomas More and the Struggle for Virtue
By Dr. James Pauley
Free Sitting alone in his prison cell in the Tower of London, awaiting his execution, Sir Thomas More wrote a prayer in the margins of his prayer book. “Give me thy grace, good Lord, to set the world at naught; to set my mind fast upon thee, and not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths.” [1] In the minds of many throughout Europe in 1535, Sir Thomas... Read more
Catholic Social Teachings and the Virtue of Mercy: Living the Social Dimension of Christian Discipleship
By Dr. Donald Asci
Last year while preparing to speak at a diocesan event on Catholic Social Teachings (henceforth CST) I came across a link on the USCCB website that offered a series of quotes from Pope Francis on the CST. Thinking I might find a pithy quote to use in my address, I opened the file only to find that it contained an overwhelming 378 pages of... Read more
From the Shepherds: Love, Whatever the Cost
By Pope Francis
Free As we reflect in this issue of The Catechetical Review on “living the virtues,” we recall St. Paul’s words that faith, hope, and love remain, “but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). For the benefit of our catechetical readers, we are reprinting here the homily of his Holiness for the meeting of reflection and spirituality, “... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now