DSPT Events

Papal Theologian's Talk

"Virtuous human action-- an icon of God. Aquinas's vision of Christian morality."

Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, Theologian to the Papal Household

September 20, 2011

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If we seek the image of God then, in the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, we must seek it in a human face, according to Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, Theologian to the Papal Household. Not a young face in which human character is not yet fully written, but in an aged face, in the face of one who has been transformed by grace and virtuous action. We must seek the divine image in the care-worn face of Mother Theresa or in the loving and suffering face of the aged John Paul II.

Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, is a Dominican friar of the Polish Province who has been serving as the Theologian to the Papal Household since 2005. Fr. Giertych offered his lecture, “Virtuous Human Action - An Icon of God: Aquinas' Vision of Christian Morality” on September 20. The Theologian to the Papal Household, formerly called “The Master of the Sacred Palace” is the personal theologian to the Pope. Dominicans, traditionally known as the theologians of the Church, have filled the office of Papal theologian since the foundation of the Order in the 13th Century.

Fr. Giertych emphasized that, for St. Thomas, the moral life is not, in the first instance, a matter of moral obligation, of obedience to divine precepts whereby we avoid evil and do what is good. Instead it is a life-long process of openness to grace whereby we are transformed from within and therefore become capable of judging for ourselves what is to be done and what is to be avoided. “He who avoids evil because of divine precepts is not free. Only the one who avoids evil because it is evil is truly free. He who has chosen the good because he has been told to is not free. Only he who does the good because it is good and because he has seen it and personally desires it is free.”