Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas


The Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas [Pontificia Academia Sancti Thomae Aquinatis] has its roots in the Roman Academy of St Thomas Aquinas, created by Pope Leo XIII in his Apostolic Letter Iampridem ad Em.mum Card. Antoninum De Luca, 15 October 1879). Its purpose was to put into practice his Encyclical Aeterni Patris. The first President was Cardinal Giuseppe Pecci, the brother of Leo XIII. The Statutes of the Academy were established in 1895 (Apost. Brief Quod iam inde, 9 May 1895), and amended by Benedict XV (11 February 1916) and Pius XI. In 1934, Pius XI combined this Academy with the Pontifical Academy of the Catholic Religion (which had been founded in 1801); this connection was later suppressed. It also served as an academic research and teaching institution until 1931, and three future popes Achille Ratti (Pius XI), Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (John XXIII), and Giovanni Battista Montini (Paul VI) obtained their doctorates in Thomistic philosophy there.

In 1999, following his Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio (14 Sept. 1998), Pope John Paul II revised the Statutes of the Academy of St Thomas, so that it might “serve as a central and international forum for studying St Thomas' teaching better and more carefully, so that the metaphysical realism of the actus essendi which pervades all the Angelic Doctor's philosophy and theology can enter into dialogue with the many directions in today's research and doctrine.” (John Paul II, Address to the 3rd plenary session of the Academy) It is under the direction of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

The Academy is limited, at present, to 50 ordinary members, appointed by the Pope, and they are members for life; at the age of 80, however, members become academicians emeriti. There are also many collaborating members (currently numbering about 100). The Academy is directed by a four-person governing board (consilium), elected from the membership to serve five-year terms. Its headquarters is in Headquarters in the Casina Pio IV (or Villa Pia). The Academy publishes the journal, Doctor Communis.

The Academy holds Annual Plenary Assemblies, and schedules International Congresses every 10 years. The last such Congress was held in 2003.

Among its current members are

David Berger

Inos Biffi

Romanus Cessario

Lawrence Dewan

Jude Dougherty

Russell Hittinger

Kevin L. Flannery

Abelardo Lobato

Alejandro Llano

Ralph McInerny

Paul Cardinal Poupard

Martin Rhonheime

Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Secretary Prelate

John Wippel

Lluis Clavell
Battista Mondin
Edward Kaczynski
Serge Bonino 

This article is derived from material in the address by John Paul II in his remarks to the 3rd plenary session of the Academy, and from other sources. – William Sweet <wsweet@stfx.ca>


See also