06/02/2010, 00.00
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Pope: Gaza, violence does not solve disputes, but generates more violence

Benedict XVI’s appeal at the end of the general audience to, "those who have political responsibilities at a local and international level" to seek "just solutions through dialogue." Earlier, the Pope explained the figure of Saint Thomas Aquinas, "master of thought and model of the right way of doing theology."

Vatican City (AsiaNews). With "heavy heart" and " great trepidation " Benedict XVI, spoke of Gaza at the general audience to express his condolences for the "victims of these painful events that concern all who care about peace in the region".  He said "violence does not solve disputes, but increases their tragic consequences and generates more violence" and appealed "to those who have political responsibilities locally and internationally to incessantly seek right solutions through dialogue, so as to ensure the populations of better living conditions, harmony and serenity. "  

Before the appeal, with over 20 thousand people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope traced the figure of one of the greatest thinkers of the Christian Middle Ages: St. Thomas Aquinas, "always proposed by the Church as a master of thought and model of the right way doing theology. " The most often quoted theologian, after St. Augustine, in the catechism of the Catholic Church.

Called "Doctor Angelicus, perhaps for his virtues, particularly sublimity of thought and purity of life," Thomas was born between 1224 and 1225 in the castle that his family, noble and wealthy, had in Roccasecca, near Aquino, close to the Abbey of Monte Cassino, where he was sent by his parents to receive his early education. From here he moved to Naples, in whose university " the young Thomas was introduced to the thought of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, without the limitations that were in vigour elsewhere, immediately sensing his great value. But above all, in those years spent in Naples, his Dominican vocation was born. "

His choice was criticized by his family and Thomas was forced to leave the monastery. But in 1245, now an adult, "he was able to resume his journey." He went to Paris to study theology under the guidance of another saint, Albert the Great. These two formed a deep and genuine friendship and learned to respect and love each other, so much so that Albert wanted his disciple to follow him to Cologne, where he had been sent by his superiors of the Order to establish a school of theology. Thomas then can into contact with all the works of Aristotle and his Arab commentators, whom Albert explained. " At that time the culture of the Latin world was deeply stimulated by its encounter with works of Aristotle, who had remained unknown for a long time.  His writings on the nature of knowledge,  on natural sciences, on metaphysics, ethics and the soul, "rich in information and insights that appeared valid and convincing." Aristotle was welcomed by some with "uncritical enthusiasm", while others feared that the pagan thought of Aristotle was in opposition to Christian faith and refused to study him", also motivated by "the presentation of Aristotle that had been made by Arab commentators Avicenna and Averroes, "according to whom "there is only one universal intellect, a spiritual substance common to all".  Another moot point was that whereby the world is as eternal as God".

Thomas Aquinas "played a role of essential importance for the history of philosophy and theology" thoroughly studying Aristotle and "distinguishing what was true from what was doubtful or to be rejected outright, showing points of consonance with the data of Christian revelation and widely and acutely using Aristotelian thought in the exposition of theological writings he composed. Ultimately Thomas Aquinas showed that there is a natural harmony between Christian faith and reason".

Urban IV commissioned the composition of liturgical texts for the feast of Corpus Christi from the author of "Summa Theologica".

But in addition to studying and teaching, - he noted - Thomas also devoted himself to preaching to the people, who willingly went to hear him. "It's really a great blessing - he commented - when theologians can speak with simplicity and fervour to the faithful. The ministry of preaching, moreover, helps those same scholars of theology with a healthy pastoral realism and is a lively stimulus that enhances their research”.  The last months of the earthly life of Thomas remain surrounded by a special atmosphere. In December of 1273 "he called his friend and secretary Reginald to inform him of his decision to stop all work, because, during the celebration of Mass, he understood, after a mystical revelation, that what he had written until then was ‘but straw’. It is a mysterious incident, which helps us to understand not only the personal humility of Thomas, but also the fact that everything we think and say about faith, however high and pure, is infinitely surpassed by the greatness and beauty of God, who will be fully revealed to us in Paradise. " A few months later, Thomas died while en route to Lyon, where he was going to take part in an ecumenical council called by Pope Gregory X.


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