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St. Thomas Aquinas Alok Kumar Gupta MAPSIR
St. Thomas Aquinas (1227 -1274) His Works: Summa Theologica (Summa Theologiea) [Theory of Law] De-Regmine Principum (Rule of Princes) Summa Contra Gentiles—(A Summary against the Gentiles) [on problems like the classification of government, laws, state and also relationship of State with Church]. A clan or a tribe that commonly means non-Jew.
Born in Sicily in a noble family with strong imperial traditions. He died comparatively at a young age of 47. During his days Roman Church had become a gigantic spiritual organization. Feudalism which supported the organization of the Church was on the wane, and nationalism was striking its roots. He struggled to establish the supremacy of the Church over the State. He was a follower of Christian religion. He was influenced by Aristotle
Born in Sicily in a noble family with strong imperial traditions. He died comparatively at a young age of 47. During his days Roman Church had become a gigantic spiritual organization. Feudalism which supported the organization of the Church was on the wane, and nationalism was striking its roots. He struggled to establish the supremacy of the Church over the State. He was a follower of Christian religion. He was influenced by Aristotle It is often said Aquinas is Aristotle renamed. Christianized Aristotle [Borrowed from his Method, Man was a social animal, State was natural to man, General theory of Law ] He agreed with Aristotle that State was the only social organization covering all aspects of human life, but to Aquinas Church was superior to state. He was also influenced by Stoics, and Cicero.
In subordinating State to Church he followed St. Augustine and from John of Salisbury he borrowed the idea of supremacy of Law and also that of executing a monarch who was tyrant.
Thomas Aquinas was the most prominent and brilliant papal-cause champion of the Middle-Ages. According to Aquinas highest goal for everything in the world should be deep faith supplemented with reason. He believed that not reason but soul was the loftiest and that salvation could only be possible through deep faith and by the Grace of God. (Aristotle’s Teleology aimed that in this Universe everything was moving towards a particular object and under subordination to an end. Even Human life had and end—which was rational contemplation).
State according to Aquinas was not a result of sins committed by men. State is a natural growth and stands to promote the welfare of the people. He tried to combine reason with salvation. State according to him was natural because none can be self-sufficient and aid and advice of others is always necessary for meeting our social requirements. The society was exchange of services and hence essential for human nature. He had a preference for nation-state. State had a great educative value which was likely to be seriously jeopardized without state. State should aim at making the citizens virtuous and moral.
He favored Monarchy. It promoted unity. Monarch was a public person ruling for common good. It was inevitable law of nature that superior should rule over the inferior. It is in the interest of inferiors that they be governed by superiors. (For Aristotle slavery was justified on grounds of inequalities, for Aquinas it was ‘divine expedient’. Sovereignty is derived from the people from political viewpoint; for God from theological viewpoint. The sovereignty is indivisible. It is the only source of positive law.
A secular state should always work under the guidance of Church because without that it shall neither be in a position to give salvation to the people nor shall it be in a position to promote virtuous life, for which the state stood. Church had authority to ex-communicate a ruler. Pope should be obeyed both in secular and religious affairs. For harmonious working it was essential that both the Church and the State should work in close cooperation with each other. Church should not keep feudal vassal, as it was the privilege of the King. Authority of the Church over the state was indirect rather being direct and as such interference of Church in the State affairs should be minimum. He also favored the institution of private property.