A Tour of the Summa

Resources to increase our understanding of the Faith

We cannot love what we do not know. Deepen the understanding and love can grow. When we strive to know the Ultimate Good, we will be drawn to a deeper love.

The study of God and his revelation is the object of theology. So what better study could we undertake if we wish to come to know God and inflame our love for Him?

For making quick progress, there is no better overview of Catholic theology than the Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas. He is a sure guide. However, the Summa is a large work written in the 12th century.

Fortunately for us, Monsignor Paul Glenn, a teacher of philosphy and theology, wrote a precis of the famous work which will allow a thirsting soul to savour the wisdom of St Thomas is as short a time as possible. It is a work that will amply repay repeated readings and in a format that is easily accessible for the modern catholic always in a hurry.

The "Summa" is Christian doctrine in scientific form; it is human reason rendering its highest service in defence and explanation of the truths of the Christian religion. It is the answer of the matured and saintly doctor to the question of his youth: What is God? Revelation, made known in the Scriptures and by tradition; reason and its best results; soundness and fulness of doctrine, order, conciseness and clearness of expression, effacement of self, the love of truth alone, hence a remarkable fairness towards adversaries and calmness in combating their errors; soberness and soundness of judgment, together with a charmingly tender and enlightened piety -- these are all found in this "Summa" more than in his other writings, more than in the writings of his contemporaries, for "among the Scholastic doctors, the chief and master of all, towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes (In 2am 2ae, Q. 148, a. 4) 'because he most venerated the ancient doctors of the Church in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all'" (Encyclical, "Aeterni Patris", of Leo XIII).
- Catholic Encyclopedia

From the encyclical STUDIOREM DUCEM - Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on St Thomas Aquinas: