Thomas Aquinas on the Church and Grace Through its Sacraments

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Daniel Estay Christian History Professor Samuel Holtz 2/28/05 Thomas Aquinas on the Church and Grace Through its Sacraments When one begins to understand history of the high middle ages and the Renaissance one cannot overlook the intellectual achievements of such an age and not attribute much of its spawning and fostering by the diligent work of Saint Thomas Aquinas. According to author Timothy M. Renick, the Director of Religious Studies at Georgia State University, “Thomas Aquinas ranks three among the four most influential thinkers in the history of not merely Christianity but of Western thought in general”. It is a marvel to think that one pudgy little monk who had a large appetite for both food and learning could separate the so called Dark Age of Faith and the Age of The Rebirth of The Renaissance by bringing reason, logic, and philosophy to the understanding of the Medieval Christian faith. Today he can be considered to be the ancestor of the Contemporary Christian intellectual. As student of both Christian History and the European Renaissance I have decided to focus this research paper on Thomas Aquinas’s Views on the Role of the Church as an administer of Grace through the medium of the Sacraments. Of all the many topics dealt by Thomas concerning the Christian faith, none of them could have further solidified the theological authority of Roman Catholic Church than that which dealt with the Role of the Church itself. It would be no more than one century before his rational views on Grace and the Sacraments which seemingly defended the function and the authority of the Church so well would be challenged by reformers such as Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, and Calvin. I believe it is important to note that his views in these areas gave the Catholic church its basis for asserting its dominance over religious and public affairs

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