Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas - History - Modern History: 1577 Collegium Divi Thomae

Modern History: 1577 Collegium Divi Thomae

The late sixteenth century saw the studium at Santa Maria sopra Minerva undergo further transformation. Aquinas, who had been canonized in 1323 by Pope John XXII, was proclaimed fifth Latin Doctor of the Church by Pius V in 1567. To honor this great doctor, in 1577 the Dominican Juan Solano, O.P., former bishop of Cusco, Peru, generously funded the reorganization of the studium at the convent of the Minerva on the model of the College of St. Gregory at Valladolid in his native Spain. The features of this Spanish model included a fixed number of Dominican students admitted on the basis of intellectual merit, dedicated exclusively to study in virtue of numerous dispensations from other duties, and governed by an elected Rector.

The result of Solano's initiative, which underwent further structural change shortly before Solano's death in 1580, was the Collegium Divi Thomae or College of St. Thomas. The College occupied several existing convent structures as well as new construction. A detail from the Nolli Map of 1748 gives some idea of the disposition of buildings when the Minerva convent housed the College.

The College cultivated the doctrines of St. Thomas Aquinas as a means of carrying out the Church's mission in the New World, where Solano had shown "much zeal in defending the rights of the Indians," and where Dominicans like Bartolomé de las Casas, "Protector of the Indians," Pedro de Cordova, critic of the Encomienda system, and Francisco de Vitoria, theorist of international law, were already engaged.

In 1589 Vincenzo Bonardi completed his theology studies at the College and was made Master of the Sacred Palace by Sixtus V. Bonardi was appointed Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of the Index in 1583 by Pope Gregory XIII

Gregorio Servantio (1563-1608), author of the Difesa della potestà, et immunità ecclesiastica was appointed baccalaureus at the College in 1600. Isidoro Aliaga (1565–1648) was lector at the College in the early 17th century.

Dominic Gravina, the most celebrated theologian of his day in Italy, was professor of theology at the College in 1610. Gravina was made master of sacred theology by the General Chapter of the Order at Rome in 1608. He wrote Vox turturis seu de florenti usque ad nostra tempora ... sacrarum Religionum statu (1625) in polemic with Robert Bellarmine whose De gemitu columbae (1620) criticized the decadence of religious orders. Gravina, wrote concerning Papal infallibility: "To the Pontiff, as one (person) and alone, it was given to be te head;" and again, "The Roman Pontiff for the time beingis one, therefore he alone has infallibility."

During this period several regents of the College of St. Thomas were involved in controversies over the nature of divine grace. Diego Alvarez (1550 c.-1635), author of the De auxiliis divinae gratiae et humani arbitrii viribus and famous apologist for the Thomistic doctrines of grace and predestination, was professor of theology at the College from 1596 to 1606. Tomas de Lemos (Ribadavia 1540 - Rome 1629). was professor of theology at the College in 1610. In the Molinist controversy between Dominicans and Jesuits the papal commission or Congregatio de Auxiliis summoned Lemos and Diego Alvarez to represtn the Dominican Order in debates before Pope Clement VIII and Pope Paul V. Lemos was editor of the Acta omnium congregationum ac disputationum, etc. and author of the much discussed Panoplia gratiae (1676). In 1608 Juan Gonzalez de Albelda, author of the Commentariorum & disputationum in primam partem Summa S. Thome de Aquino (1621) was regent of studies at the College. In the 1620s Juan Gonzales de Leon was regent Concerning the dispute on the nature of divine grace he took up an alternative doctrine within the Thomist school, that of Juan Gonzalez d'Albeda regent at the College in 1608, that "sufficient grace not only prepares the will for a perfect act, but also gives the will an impulse towards that act. Yet due to man's defectability that impulse is always resisted."

Tommaso Caccini (1574-1648), one of the principal critics of Galileo Galilei, was baccalaureaus at the College in 1615.

The College maintained the Dominican tradition of textual and linguistic activities as part of the Order's missionary dimension. Like Moerbeke's translations of Aristotle in the 1260s and the editio piana of 1570 (see above), editorial and translation projects were undertaken by the College's professors, the most notable of which would be the leonine edition of Aquinas' works (see below). Vincenzo Candido presided over the translation of the Bible into Arabic. Candido had entered the Order at the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva completing there his novitiate and studies and becoming a doctor of theology, and later rector of the College in 1630. Candido also was part of the commission that concemned Jansenism. His own Disquisitionibus moralibus (1643) was later accused of laxims. Giuseppe Ciante (d. 1670), a leading Hebrew expert of his day and author of works such as the De sanctissima trinitate ex antiquorum Hebraeorum testimonijs euidenter comprobata (1667) and De Sanctissima incarnatione clarissimis Hebraeorum doctrinis...defensa (1667), completed his studies at the college was professor of theology and philosophy there before 1640. "In 1640 Ciantes was appointed by Pope Urban VIII to the mission of preaching to the Jews of Rome (Predicatore degli Ebrei) in order to promote their conversion." In the mid-1650s Ciantes wrote a "monumental bilingual edition of the first three Parts of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles, which includes the original Latin text and a Hebrew translation prepared by Ciantes, assisted by Jewish apostates, the Summa divi Thomae Aquinatis ordinis praedicatorum Contra Gentiles quam Hebraicè eloquitur…. Until the present this remains the only significant translation of a major Latin scholastic work in modern Hebrew."

Vicente Ferre (+1682), author of the Commentaria scholastica in Div. Thomam (1691) as well as of several commentaries on the Summa Theologica was Regent of College from 1654 to 1672. Ferre was recognized by his contemporaries as one of the leading Thomists of his day. In his De Fide Ferre writes in defense of Papal infallibility that Christ said "I have prayed for thee, Peter; sufficiently showing that the infallibility was not promised to the CHurch as apart from (seorsum) the head, but promised to the head, that from him it should be derived to the Church."

Vincenzo Maria Fontana, author of Syllabus magistrorum S. Palatii apostolici (1663), and of Sacrum theatrum Dominicanum (1666) completed his studies under Vincenzo Candido at the college, was ordained in 1637, and became a master of theology in 1644. Giovanni Battista de Marinis (1650–69) was lector at the College of Saint Thomas after 1624

Niccolò Ridolfi (1557–1650), author of the Apologia perfectionis vitae spiritualis (1632), was a student at the College of St. Thomas, and became rector there in 1630.

Michele Mazzarino, who had entered the order at Santa Maria sopra Minerva in 1620, was assigned to teach theology at the College after his ordination in 1628. Mazzarino was appointed Master of the Sacred Palace under Pope Urban VIII in 1642, and Archbishop of Aix-en-Provence in 1645 by Pope Innocent X. He was brother of Cardinal Giulio Mazzarino, known as "Jules Mazarin", chief minister under Louis XIV of France.

Giovanni Battista Galvani was baccalaureaus at the College of Saint Thomas in 1646, and was appointed regent in 1662.

In 1677 Gregorio Selleri completed his studies in theology and philosophy at the College and was made lector there. Selleri later fostered the condemnation of Jansenism through contributions to the papal bull Unigenitus of Pope Clement XI in 1713. In 1681 Juan Melendez (+1690), author of Теsoros verdaderos de las Yndias, en la Historia de la gran Provincia del Peru was regent at the College.

Vincenzo Ludovico Gotti (1664-1742) was professor of philosophy at the College of Saint Thomas in 1688. Gotti was perhaps the leading Thomist of his time. His writings include several polemics against Luther and Calvin as well as commentaries on the works of Thomas Aquinas. Cardinal Lambertini, who was later elected Pope Benedict XIV said to the College of Cardinals of Gotti at the Papal conclave of 1740 "If you wish to elect a saint, choose Gotti; a statesman, Aldrovandi; an honest man, me".

At the general chapter of Rome in 1694 Fr. Antonin Cloche, Master General of the Dominican Order, reaffirmed the College of St. Thomas as the studium generale of the Roman province of the Order.

We institute as a studium generale of this province...the Roman College of St. Thomas at our convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

At this time the College became an international centre of Thomistic specialization open to members of various provinces of the Dominican Order and to other ecclesiastical students, local and foreign.

In 1698, Cardinal Girolamo Casanata, Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, established the Biblioteca Casanatense at the Convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. This library was independent of the College, sponsoring its own Chairs in Thomistic theology. After the Church's loss of the temporal power in 1870 the Italian government declared the library national property but left the Dominicans in charge until 1884. Today the Library's collection of approximately 400 000 volumes, about 6 000 manuscripts, 2 200 incunabula including 64 Greek codices, and 230 Hebrew texts including 5 Samaritan codices is open to the scholarly community.

In 1701 Agostino Pipia (1660–1730) was regent of the College.

May 26, 1727, Pope Benedict XIII granted to all Dominicans major houses of study the right of conferring academic degrees in theology to students outside the Order.

Giuseppe Agostino Orsi (1692–1761) was professor of theology at the College in 1732. Theologian and archaelologist Casto Innocenzio Ansaldi studied at the College in 1733. Servant of God Francesco Albertini (1770–1819) completed his theological studies at the College in 1795.

By the late eighteenth century professors of the College had begun to follow the Wolffianism and Eclecticism of Austrian Jesuit, Sigismund von Storchenau and Jaime Balmes with the aim of engaging modern thought. In response to this trend the General Chapter of 1838 again ordered the revival of Thomism and the use of the Summa Theologica at the College of St. Thomas. However, the suppression of religious orders soon hampered the mission of the College. During the French occupation of Rome from 1797 to 1814 the College was in declined and briefly closed its doors from 1810 to 1815. The Order gained control of the convent once again in 1815 only to be expropriated by the Italian government in 1871, and in 1873 the Collegium Divi Thomae de Urbe was forced to leave the Minerva.

Giacinto Achilli (1803–1860), author of Dealings with the inquisition: or, Papal Rome, her priests, and her Jesuits... (1851), became Master of Sacred Theology at the College in 1833 Alberto Guglielmotti (1812–1892) completed his studies in philosophy and theology at the College in 1837 and was made professor of physics and mathematics. In 1849 Guglielmotti became Master of Theology and Regent of Studies.

Vincenzo Maria Gatti, author of Indipendenza d'Italia e religione (1854), Principio protestante e principio cattolico (1854), and Institutiones apologetico-polemicae de veritate ac divinitate religionis et Ecclesiae catholicae (I-III, 1866–67), entered the novitiate at Santa Sabina in 1828 and completed his theological and philosophical studies at the College. Gatti served as lector there from 1838 to 1847. In 1872 Pope Pius IX appointed Gatti Master of the Sacred Palace. Gatti defended papal infallibility says of Christ's words "I have prayed for thee," etc., that "indefectibity is promised to Peter apart from (seorsum) the Church, or from the Apostles; but it is not promised to the Apostles, or to the Church. apart (seorsum) the head, or with the head," adding "Therefore Peter, even apart from (seorsum) the Church, is infallible." Gatti was also instrumental in rehabilitating the works of Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, author of The Constitution of Social Justice and Of the five wounds of the Holy Church, after they had been opposed especially among the Jesuits and were placed on the Index in 1849.

Joseph Sadoc Alemany (3 July 1814 – 14 April 1888), missionary to California, completed his licentiate in sacred theology at the College in 1840. Alemany was the first Archbishop of Monterey, California (1850–1853) and first Archbishop of San Francisco (1853 -1884). In 1833 when religious order were suppressed in his native Spain Emanuele Alemany (1817- ), Joseph's brother, studied at the College under Francesco Xarrie' becoming lector in theology there in 1844 and Master of theology at Florence.

Thomas Nicholas Burke (1830–1882) studied philosophy and theology at the College in 1848 and became lector there in 1854 Joseph Mullooly (1812–1880), initiator of the excavations at the Roman Basilica of San Clemente became lector in Sacred Theology at the College in 1849. Hermann Ernst Plassmann (1817–1864) became a Master of Sacred Theology at the College in 1856.

"Other important professors were Mariano Spada, Narciso Puig (d. 1865),... Francisco Xarrie (d. 1866),... Gian Battista Embriaco..." Narciso Puig (1792 - 1865) and Francisco Xarrié ( -1866) were co-authors of the Institutiones Theologicæ ad mentem D. Thomæ Aquinatis, and the Opusculum in quo plurimi errores refelluntur nostris temporibus granssantes as well as other works.

Gian Battista Embriaco (Ceriana 1829 - Rome 1903) was the inventor in 1867 of the hydrochronometer, examples of which were built in Rome, first in the College's courtyard at the Minerva, and later on the Pincian Hill and in the Villa Borghese gardens. Embriaco had presented two prototypes of his invention at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1867 winning prizes and acclaim. Mariano Spada (1796 - 1872), later Master of the Sacred Palace and author of the influential works on the Immaculate Conception preceding it dogmatic definition in 1854 by Pope Pius IX], was professor at the College in mid-century. Spada also wrote Esame Critico sulla dottrina dell’ Angelico Dottore S. Tommaso di Aquino circa il Peccato originale, relativamente alla Beatissima Vergine Maria (1839)

Vincenzo Nardini (d. 1913) completed his theological and philosophical studies at the College and became lector there in 1855 teaching mathematics, experimental physics, chemistry and astronomy. Nardini reorganized the institute of science founded at the College in 1840 by Albert Gugliemotti. He believed the doctrines of Aquinas to be the only means to reconcile science and faith. Nardini cofounded with Tommaso Maria Zigliara the Academia Romano di San Tommaso in 1870. Between 1901 and 1902 he also founded an astronomical observatory on via di Pie’ di Marmo in Rome. In 1904 as Provincial of the Order's Roman province he proposed that the College be transformed into an international university. This was accomplished in 1908 by his successors.

Girolamo Maria Mancini, author of Elementa philosophiae ad mentem D. Thomae Aquinatis doctoris angelici (1898), taught at the Collegium Divi Thomae de Urbe from 1878 for twenty years. In his early masterpiece Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce makes reference to Aquinas' doctrines through his knowledge of Mancini's Elementa

Innocenzo Taurisano (1877–1960), paleographer and historian completed his novitiate and theology and philosophy studies at the college before ordination in 1903.

Henri Didon (1840–1900), famed French preacher and coiner of the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius, complete his theological studies at the College in 1862.

Filippo Maria Guidi (1815–1879) became a Master of Sacred Theology at the College and was professor of philosophy and theology there in the mid-1800s. After his ordination in Graz in 1866 Henry Denifle (1844–1905), Austrian philosopher, paleographer, and historian, studied with neo-Thomist Tommaso Maria Zigliara at the College. In 1877 Denifle stood the examination "ad gradum" in Rome and was created a Master of Sacred Theology.

In 1873 the College and Dominicans of Santa Maria sopra Minerva were evicted due to the 1871 law of suppression of religious orders by the Italian government. The College continued its work at various locations in Rome. Rector Tommaso Maria Zigliara, who taught at the College from 1870 to 1879, with his professors and students took refuge with the Fathers of the Holy Ghost at the French College in Rome, where lectures continued until a house near the Minerva was procured for the College. Zigliara was a member of seven Roman congregations, including the Congregation of Studies and was a co-founder of the Academia Romano di San Tommaso in 1870. Zigliara's fame as a scholar at the forefront of the Neo-Thomist revival was widespread in Rome and abroad. "French, Italian, German, English, and American bishops were eager to put some of their most promising students and young professors under his tuition."

Thomas Esser (1850–1926), author of Die Lehre des hl. Thomas von Aquino über die Möglichkeit einer anfanglosen Schöpfung (Munster, 1895), studied theology at the College in 1874 with Tommaso Maria Zigliara, Raffaele Pierotti, and Giacinto Frati. Adolphe Tanquerey, OP, (+1932), one of the greatest and most famous authors in the tradition of scholastic manual theology, received his doctorate in theology at the college in 1878.

The mid-19th Century revival of Thomism, sometimes called "Neo-Scholasticism" or "Neo-Thomism," finds its origin in figures such as Zigliara, as well as Jesuits Josef Kleutgen, and Giovanni Cornoldi, and secular priest Gaetano Sanseverino. The revival emphasizes the interpretative tradition of Aquinas' great commentators such as Capréolus, Cajetan, and John of St. Thomas. Its focus, however, is less exegetical and more concerned with carrying out the program of deploying a rigorously worked out system of Thomistic metaphysics in a wholesale critique of modern philosophy. Zigliara was instrumental in recovering the authentic tradition of Thomism from the influence of a tradition of the Jesuits' that was "strongly colored by the interpretation of their own great master Francisco Suárez (d. 1617), who had attempted to reconcile the Aristotelianism of Thomas with the Platonism of Scotus"

In response to the disarray of religious educational institutions Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Aeterni Patris of 4 August 1879 called for the renewal of Christian philosophy and particularly the doctrines of Aquinas:

We exhort you, venerable brethren, in all earnestness to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it far and wide for the defense and beauty of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, and for the advantage of all the sciences.

Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Aeterni Patris of 1879 was a great impetus to the revival of neo scholastic Thomism. On October 15, 1879 Leo created the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and ordered publication of a critical edition of the complete works of the doctor angelicus. Superintendence of the "leonine edition" was entrusted to Zigliara. Leo also founded the Angelicum's Faculty of Philosophy in 1882 and its Faculty of Canon Law in 1896. The College began once again to gain status and influence. Under Pope Leo XIII Zigliara contributed to the encyclicals Aeterni Patris and Rerum novarum.

In the first half of the twentieth century Angelicum professors Edouard Hugon, Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange and others carried on Leo's call for a Thomist revival. The core philosophical commitments of the revival, which after Zigliara traditionally are those of the Angelicum, were later summarized in “Twenty-Four Thomistic Theses” approved by Pope Pius X. Due to its rejection of attempts to synthesize Thomism with non-Thomistic categories and assumptions neo-scholastic Thomism has sometimes been called “Strict Observance Thomism.”

Read more about this topic:  Pontifical University Of Saint Thomas Aquinas, History

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