The twelfthcentury was a time of a spiritual, cultural and political rebirth in the West.Theology, for its part, became more conscious of its own nature and method,faced new problems and paved the way for the great theological masterpieces ofthe thirteenth century, the age of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure.
Twobasic "models" of theology emerged, associated respectively with themonasteries and the schools which were the forerunners of the medievaluniversities. Monastic theology grew out of the prayerful contemplation of theScriptures and the texts of the Church Fathers, stressing their interior unityand spiritual meaning, centred on the mystery of Christ.
Scholastic theologysought to clarify the understanding of the faith by study of the sources and theuse of logic, and led to the great works of synthesis known as the Summae.Even today this confidence in the harmony of faith and reason inspires us toaccount for the hope within us and to show that faithliberates reason, enabling the human spirit to rise to the loving contemplationof that fullness of truth which is God himself.I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors present at today’sAudience, especially those from England, Ireland, Sweden, Nigeria, India and theUnited States. My particular greeting goes to the priests attending a course atthe Pontifical North American College and to the seminarians of the PontificalScots College. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!