mission & purpose
The general mission of the Theological Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas (aka "Thomisticum") – as an apostolate of the lay Christian faithful – is to help transmit the treasury of the “Golden Age” of Scholastic Theology to the faithful at parishes or lay Catholic communities, whose circumstances preclude them from engaging in a formal degree program in Thomistic theology, yet have a strong desire to learn the truths of the Catholic Faith in a deeper way, than what secondary school catechesis – and in most cases, university-level studies – can or will provide.
The most proximate goal of the Institute is to help foster an appreciation and deep respect for the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose hope was to provide a method of pursuing Christian theology in a clear and concise manner, in order to lead the faithful toward a better understanding of God and man, so that, by grace, a closer and less esoteric relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ might be had.
The Institute’s remote goal is to help lead its students through a careful reading of the entire Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. Upon accomplishing this task, it is hoped that those who began as beginners in theology, will then progress into more advanced studies of the Catholic Faith, and by utilizing the broad corpus of Aquinas’ works, may become teachers of Catholic truth in their own right, whether within their domestic church, everyday encounters, parish ministries, or as professional theologians.
why choose us?
First and foremost, if you are willing and able, we will help you accomplish an incredible task: to do a full reading of the entire Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas!
And while there are many reasons an individual would choose to study the truths of the Catholic Faith with our Institute, here are the TOP FIVE reasons which we believe to be most important, from both formational and practical aspects.
REASON #1: Unlike nearly every university curriculum, our pedagogical method in teaching the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas is to read the actual text of Aquinas, and have him teach you himself. The purpose of our tutors is to ensure the truths of the Faith are actually being discovered and understood by our students, and NOT by imposing a tutor's interpretational opinions of Aquinas.
REASON #2: We are extremely affordable. In fact, our disinterest in profit is measured by the fact that we are currently in the process of becoming a tax-exempt, non-profit charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America. This means that, upon our receiving 501(c)(3) status, any contributions you provide to our Institute will be tax-deductible for YOU. Plus, you will have assurance that the purpose of our Institute is not to benefit ourselves, but only YOU.
REASON #3: We are highly qualified tutors who have advanced degrees in Catholic Sacred Theology and Philosophy from both civil and pontifical universities, along with many years of teaching experience.
REASON #4: We are 100% Catholic, and swear complete fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. This is a non-negotiable for us.
REASON #5: Given our very specific mission and pedagogy of teaching the primary texts of Aquinas' Summa Theologiae (and other works of his), there is not another institute like us in existence within the United States.
** BONUS REASON **
Upon completion of any given course of the Institute, you will receive a Certificate of Completion similar to the one below, indicating the course title, and the part of the Summa Theologiae that was studied. Given that many colleges and universities give credit for experiential learning, including private workshops and mini-courses taken, upon individual request, we will gladly issue you a transcript of all courses you have completed through the Institute, and provide a grade for you, if needed. Based on the length of the course (normally 1 or 2 weeks of 17 - 34 hours of classroom time), each course represents the equivalent of a 1 to 2 credit university semester course. Please consult your college or university regarding the possible acceptance of your coursework from the Institute.
For those of you who are, or are in training to become a parish Catechist, please know that we are in the process of seeking respective diocesan approvals toward having our courses count as continuing education credits for you, or even as foundational coursework toward a diocesan Catechist Certificate or Credential, if your diocese offers such a certificate. Whenever we receive such approvals, we will update this page accordingly. Stay tuned!
** BONUS REASON #2 **
At the conclusion of the program, you will have the option to enroll in an officially recognized association of the Catholic Church known as the "Angelic Warfare Confraternity", which is a supernatural fellowship of men and women bound to one another in love and dedicated to pursuing and promoting chastity together under the powerful patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
accreditation & MANDATUM
Because we are not a degree-granting institution, there is no recourse for the Theological Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas to seek out an accreditation process with a regional accrediting organization. However, because we remain unwavering in our fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and remain committed to hiring only the most qualified tutors - especially in regard to our Thomistic mission - in addition to the Institute’s seeking of Mandatum’s for every hired tutor, we are also in the process of requesting official episcopal approval for our program, as another assurance to our students that the education received is both quantitatively sufficient and qualitatively excellent. Juridically, this means that our Institute is seeking to become a "private association of the Christian faithful" according to such definitions and regulations in canons 298 - 311 and canons 321 - 329 of the Church's Code of Canon Law (CIC). In seeking such status, our Institute, although remaining private in nature, wishes to place itself as both subject to and governed by ecclesiastical authority.
As these official declarations are received, we will post them to our site immediately.
MANDATUM OF FIDELITY TO THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
As a policy of the Theological Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas, all tutors of the Institute are required to teach in full communion with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. In order to further manifest this solidarity with the Catholic Church, the Institute is currently in the process of formalizing this promise of fidelity by requesting a Mandatum from the Archbishop of Seattle, as well as any and all ordinaries of the jurisdictions in which the Institute intends to instruct in.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the nature of a Mandatum is that it is:
fundamentally an acknowledgment by church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is teaching within the full communion of the Catholic Church;
a recognition of the professor's commitment and responsibility to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church's magisterium.
Once this Mandatum is issued, we will joyfully place a copy of it on our website.
It is also important to note, however, those tutors who have received pontifical degrees (given by authority of the Holy See) have already professed an oath in maintaining fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
For further information regarding the details of a Mandatum, please refer to the USCCB’s website by clicking here.
Why are St. Thomas Aquinas' Teachings Important to Us?
The beauty of St. Thomas Aquinas’ teachings is that they form a coherent whole, drawing from the rich theological treasures as found in the teachings of the Church Fathers and Sacred Scripture. They draw from a principle of St. Paul who stated that God’s “eternal power and deity has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Rom 1:20). Thus, by providing us with a foundation of principles found in nature, Aquinas helps us to come to conclusions about God, man, and Christ, which must be necessary, or at least fittingly in accord with divinely revealed truth. From Aquinas’ Prologue of his Summa Theologiae, he stated:
we have considered how newcomers to this teaching [of Catholic truth] are greatly hindered by various writings on the subject, partly because of the swarm of pointless questions, articles, and arguments, partly because essential information is given according to the requirements of textual commentary or the occasions of academic debate, [and] not to a sound educational method, partly because repetitiousness has bred boredom and muddle in their thinking.
This helps us to see the main issue at hand. For no matter the quality of instruction we have received in our primary and secondary schooling, or at sacramental preparation classes, or RCIA, or even at the university-level, it is doubtful, and indeed extremely rare, that any of us can admit of a systematic approach to Catholic theology as St. Thomas Aquinas offers us in his Summa Theologiae, as well as in the plethora of his more advanced and detailed work.
Therefore, in moving from the known to the unknown, and from first principles to valid conclusions, St. Thomas Aquinas paves the way toward an understanding of, not mainly what we are to believe as faithful Catholics, but more importantly, why we are to believe such things, and how it is we can argue, from reason, that the truths of the Catholic faith are wholly reasonable, and how it is that faith should never, nor could ever contradict reason nor any science firmly grounded in reality.
Finally, for a more detailed reason why every Catholic should learn the Faith through the writings and methodology of Aquinas, we urge you to read these two encyclicals:
1. Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical, Aeterni Patris (clickable).
2. Pope Pius XI's Encyclical, Studiorum Ducem, (clickable).
The following Motu Proprio is also a great encouragement regarding the study of Aquinas' philosophy:
1. Pope St. Pius X's Motu Proprio, Doctoris Angelici (clickable).