In the post-Conciliar years bumptious readers of the Council documents have declared that the hegemony of Thomas Aquinas is over, that Thomism no longer plays a favored role for the Catholic philosopher and theologian. Nothing in the documents supports this claim, nor do the repeated endorsements of the popes, but that scarcely matters to a certain kind of Catholic. . .
The Church’s centuries old and reiterated preference for Thomas Aquinas is sometimes looked upon as an untested hypothesis, a promissory note that might or might not be redeemable. That is why the concrete efforts of those who followed the Church’s advice and produced work of lasting interest is important. Here is variegated proof of the fruitfulness of turning to Thomas Aquinas as one’s principal guide in philosophy and theology. . .
It would not be too much to say that the passion for originality begins with modern philosophy. Each thinker is intent on developing his own system and contrasting it with previous efforts. One wants a personal stamp on what one proposes: the Bullwinkle theory of knowledge, the Basil Faulty account of moral evil. There is indeed a lot of originality in modern philosophy, a lot of novelty. Most of it has a very short shelf life, pushed aside by the new and improved. In philosophy, as in the arts, novelty is all too easily come by, but truth is neither new nor old.
Try to imagine a Thomas Aquinas regarding his own efforts as the attempt to produce Thomism. This would be suggestive of something true for him and not for others – in short, not true at all in any serious sense.