Continuing our catechesis on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages, we turn to the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which the Church has consistently upheld as a model of sound theological method. Thomas’ insistence on the harmony of faith and reason respected the autonomy and complementarity of these two ways of knowing the truth which has its ultimate origin in God’s Word. Faith sheds fuller light on the truths which reason is naturally capable of knowing, while drawing from Revelation a supernatural knowledge of the divine mysteries and the Triune God himself. Reason for its part serves to demonstrate faith’s credibility, to defend its teaching, and to show its inner consistency and intelligibility. The complementary relationship between faith and reason reflects the truth that God’s grace builds on, elevates and perfects human nature, which is thus enabled to pursue the felicity which is its deepest desire. Thomas’s conviction that we are naturally able to acknowledge the principles of the natural moral law remains timely, since that law, grounded in the truth of man’s nature, is the basis of respect for human dignity and universal human rights. Saint Thomas is the patron of Catholic schools and universities; let us ask him to obtain for all of us the wisdom and understanding born of a deep and living Christian faith!
I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors present at today’s audience, especially the many parish and student groups. I offer a warm welcome to all who have come from Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!