The Summa Teologica By Thomas Aquinas Essay

, Research Paper

The Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas

Born in Italy, Thomas Aquinas was one of the most educated men of his

time. Aquinas, whose family were noble, was educated as a monk and later

continued his education at the University of Naples followed by the University

of Paris where he studied the ancient Greek thought of Aristotle. Educated in

both philosophy and theology,Aquinas is thought to be one of the most important

philosophers of Catholicism. One ofAquinas s most influential writings is the

Summa Theologica. In this document, Aquinas clarifies four questions concerning

the Church: Whether it can be demonstrated t Godexist? Whether it is always

sinfuhatl to wage war? Whether it is lawful for Clerics and Bishops to fight? And whether it is lawful to fight on holy days? He answers each question

thoroughly but indecisively; however, when he answers the second question it

seems his conclusion have been manipulated in ways that can benefit the church

without making them look double sided with their teachings.

The second question is: Whether it is always sinful to wage war? In this

question Aquinas states in his objection (1), It would seem that it is always

sinful to wage war because punishment is not inflicted except for sin. Now

those who wage war are threatened by our Lord with punishment; therefore, all

wars are unlawful. (172)

However, he justifies the act of war by giving three necessities. The first he

mentions is only an authority of the sovereign can order a war to be waged.

This reply in itself is a contradiction to the quotation above in the way that

he states that wars are justified if you have power and authority. He first

states that all wars are sinful, but if it is justified it is not a sin; however, I feel that just because one has authority over others, this shouldn t

mean that he is excused from sin because of his stature; thus his reply is


The second necessity is that a just cause is required in order to wage war.

According to his statement in objection two Further, whatever is contrary to a

divine precept is a sin. But war is contrary to a divine precept; therefor,

war is always sinful. (172) By this statement he claims that war is sinful ,

but if it s for the common good then it is just. Aquinas states it is

justified for a man to wage war if the war is for the common good or for the good of those who he is fighting for. But if the one whom he is fighting

for is not just in his actions of waging the war, then according to Aquinas, he

is still just and lawful, this is a contradiction because he has stated that if

a war is not justified, then it is sinful.

In the third necessity Aquinas states The belligerents should have a rightful

intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of

evil. (173) This is a contradiction in that war is justified if it is for the

advancement of good; however, he states Manly exercise in warlike feats of

arms are not all forbidden, but those which are inordinate and perilous, and

end in slaying or plundering. (174) Aquinas tells that war is not a sin if you fight for the advancement of good, but he also states that the killing of

others is a sin; thus how can a war be justified if the battles ends in the ,

slaying of others therefore his conclusion to me seems indecisive and double

sided. In conclusion, the document Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas is one of

the most highly referenced influences of the Catholic Church; however, I feel

Aquinas contradicted himself in many ways. As I viewed this document I saw

several instances where he posted a double sided view in his conclusion, mainly

in the second question: Whether it is always sinful to wage war? He listed

four objections in this question, but when he replied to each objection he

molds his answer to best fit the standards of the church and himself.


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