Universidad Santo Tomás in Chile held the IV International Conference on Thomistic Philosophy
The event, which was set within the framework of the celebrations of ICUSTA’s 25 years, had the opening lecture delivered by Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P., President of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Vatican.
As part of the celebrations of ICUSTA’s 25 years, the Universidad Santo Tomás in Chile held the IV International Conference on Thomistic Philosophy from July 17 to 19, which was focused on the subject “Operari Sequitur Esse” (operation follows being), which refers to the relations between nature and action from theological, cosmological, ethical and anthropological perspectives.
The opening day began with the Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Monsignor Ricardo Ezzati, Archbishop of Santiago. Afterwards, the UST´s Vice Rector of Academics, Sebastián Rodríguez, addressed the audience, highlighting the importance it has for the University to organize this type of event inspired by the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
“One of our fundamental objectives is not only to form highly qualified professionals in their discipline, but also, virtuous and competent people, who are strengthened by Saint Thomas of Aquinas´ vision, which serves as an implicit base for our educational project, centered both in the professor who teaches and in the student who learns,” assured Rodríguez.
Further, Ignacio Serrano, Director of the Center for Thomistic Studies UST, commented that the objective of this event has always been to grant a meeting place for Thomistic traditions. “The conference is directed to think about the relation between the order of being and the order of action with the end of understanding the being of things as a guiding criterium of action. We are moved by the conviction that the important questions only can be taken by the root, even though many times they leave more questions than answers or solutions,” he added.
Thomistic Thought in Society Today
Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P., President of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Vatican, gave the opening lecture entitled “Being and Action in Angels.” The lecture was divided into two main parts: first, Bonino presented the principal theses of Saint Thomas on the relation between being and action in angels. He also delved into the depth of the metaphysical structure of the angelic subject of operation. In the second part, he showed how the angelic operations are a way in which creatures overcome their ontological finitude by being integrated into the order of the universe and by being united to God.
“Action for creatures is a remedy for ontological finitude, as Saint Thomas explicitly states about knowledge in question 2 of De Veritate. By means of the superceeding achieved by action, which widens its being towards totality, the subject promotes itself towards its perfection and becomes good in an absolute sense”, Bonino explained.
On the other hand, in order to analyze the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the present world, Mauro Mantovani, S.D.B., President of the Conference of Rectors of Pontifical Universities in Rome, presented the second day’s opening lecture entitled, “Agere sequitur esse: How should ‘sequitur’ be understood in the relation between metaphysics and anthropology?”
He said, “How people live and relate with others realizing the common good is that which above all else we are interested in manifesting, as a contribution that Thomistic thought can offer to the problems and challenges of our society’s contemporary life. I am a Salesian, for this reason, it is also a challenge for me to re-think this issue from the viewpoint of the education of the youth.”
Moreover, Michael Sherwin, O.P., Professor of Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, referred to the concept of social animal in the contemporary period. He remarked in his lecture he gave on the last day of the event, “We have forgotten too much our animality, we are rational animals and this influences our life. We must study the Christian virtues: are they animal virtues and in what sense?”
During the three-day conference, prominent national and international academics participated, among them, Thomas M. Osborne, Director of the Center for Thomistic Studies at the University Saint Thomas in the United States, who delivered his lecture entitled, “Operative Habits and Rational Nature.”
Further, lectures were given by the following speakers: Steve A. Long, Professor of Ethics of Ave Maria University in the United States; Mauro Ronco, Professor of Law of the University of Padova, Italy, and Antonio Amado, Professor of Metaphysics at the University of Los Andes, Chile.
On this occasion, moreover, four books edited by the UST´s Center for Thomistic Studies were presented. And, a posthumous homage to Professor Germain Grisez was given, who participated as a lecturer in the 2014 conference and who recently died. In this recognition, the life of the distinguished philosopher was celebrated as was the encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose 50th anniversary was marked this month and whose doctrine had been defended by Grisez since 1964, before the issuing of the document.
The Conferences on Thomistic Philosophy
The biannual International Conferences on Thomistic Philosophy are coordinated by the UST’s Center for Thomistic Studies and sponsored by the Società Internazionale Tommaso d’Aquino (SITA) in Chile. Their mission is to create a space for conversation, to be a platform for the diffusion of the thought of Thomas Aquinas and Catholic doctrine, and also to assemble the main authorities of the Thomistic Studies Societies with the end of establishing friendships and of organizing networks of work between various countries.