Faculty of Sacred Theology (1611)
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Doctor of Sacred Theology
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The revered Angelic Doctor of the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, is famous for his magnum opus, the Summa Theologica.
His legacy has left such a profound impact that educational institutions have been named after him, including the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, Manila, the Catholic University of the Philippines.
Thomas was born into a noble family who hailed from Aquino between 1224/1225 in Castello di Roccasecca in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.
Educated under the Benedictine Rule from 1230-1239, he studied in the Abbazia di Montecassino. Inspired by the religious life, he had his Vestition in Covento di s. Domenico Maggiore, Naples, on May 24, 1244. He took his novitiate two years after in the Couvent de St.-Jacques or the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Paris, some time between 1247-1248.
Finally, he was ordained into the Order of Preachers in Dominikanerkloster Heilig Kreuz, Cologne, around 1251.
Thomas’ scholarship was staggering. Apart from the Summa Theologica, he wrote nine exegeses of Scriptural books, two famous prayers, five expert opinions or responsa, nine treatises in the form of academic disputations, eight philosophical treatises, and five polemical works, among others.
Thomas died on March 7, 1274 due to severe brain hemorrhage. His death represented a profound loss to the Catholic Church. No less than his teacher, the would-be Saint Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus) expressed sorrow at the loss of a profound theologian.
In recognition of his contributions and unwavering faith, Thomas was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323. He is the patron saint of Catholic academies, schools, colleges, and universities.
Aureada, J.A.E. (2009). An Angelic Mina in a Human Face: St. Thomas Aquinas, His Life in Visuals. Manila, Philippines: UST Publishing House.
The Ecclesiastical Faculties of Sacred Theology, Philosophy, and Canon Law have always been considered as integral components of the University of Santo Tomas, which Pope Leo XII proclaimed a Pontifical University on September 17, 1902 through the Constitution Quae Mari Sinico. Pope Pius XII, meanwhile, declared UST as “the Catholic University of the Philippines” in 1947.
The Faculties of Sacred Theology and Philosophy are as old as the University itself. The Foundation Act of the University, dated on April 28, 1611, attests to this as it mentions the establishment of a colegio-seminario (seminary college). The first graduates were granted their academic degrees either in 1629 or 1630. The degrees conferred in UST were ordered to be recognized as valid in any part of the globe after the Brief In Supereminenti, given on November 20, 1645, during the Pontificate of Innocent X, elevated the Colegio into a University. This recognition also made UST open even to those who are not pursuing an ecclesiastical career.
To further widen its service to the local and Asian Churches, the Faculty of Sacred Theology has taken the initiative to empower other theological institutes, schools, or seminaries to confer, through Affiliation, the Baccalaurate degree in Theology; and to confer, through Incorporation, the Licentiate and Doctorate degrees in Theology. The Faculty of Sacred Theology assists these institutes, schools, and seminaries to become affiliated with, or incorporated to, it by helping them meet the requirements of the Holy See for this purpose.
Currently, there is one institute incorporated to the Faculty of Sacred Theology: the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia founded by the Claretian Missionaries; and four schools / seminaries affiliated to it, namely: the Holy Rosary Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Caceres, the Immaculate Conception School of Theology of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, the Recoletos School of Theology of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, and the Dominican Center of Studies of the Province of Martyrs in Vietnam.
The Faculty of Sacred Theology, along with the Faculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Canon Law, has also contributed in the intellectual formation of modern-day Catholic hierarchy and clergy in local Church of the Philippines and other Asian countries, particularly Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some countries from Africa (those from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe and Oceania (particularly Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu) also send their seminarians and priests to complete their degree in Asia’s oldest existing Ecclesiastical Faculties.
Adapted from: Fr. Rodel E. Aligan, O.P. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., and Fr. Jose Ma. B. Tinoko, O.P. in 400 @ 800: A Tribute to the 8th Centenary of the Dominican Order (1216-2016), published by the University of Santo Tomas
REV. FR. RODEL E. ALIGAN, O.P., SThD
ASST. PROF. JOEL C. SAGUT, PhD