Thomistic studies in The Philippines


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Dear all,

With great joy we make you part of our third Thomistic Studies. This year, following the established cyclical program, we have had as topic “Ens – esse: the return to the fundament”

As usual we started with the historical section in which we study the notion of ens and esse in Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle and in the Neo-Platonism, especially with Pseudo-Dionysius. Also we analyzed the scholastic and modern formalism. In the doctrinal section we ran through the notion of ens and esse in St. Thomas’ philosophy  in accordance with the essential Thomism of Fr. Cornelio Fabro. In the last section, that is, the theological section, we presented works about the esse gratiae and the name of God—“Ego sum Qui sum”.


In our Institute the Thomistic Studies have already several years of existence, but, for those things of the Providence, in these oriental lands they take different characteristics which presents new challenges… rather, a unique challenge—the language.

The expositions alternated between the Chinese and the English, and the questions with their polemics crossed from one language to another… For those who do not know the Chinese was available a simultaneous translation done with no little difficulty. Likewise happens with the ones who do not know the English—a simultaneous translation was also accessible.


Is truly incredible the effort done by the Chinese speakers since the material is scarce and the topics complex. The few things that exist have formalistic features and, for the majority of them, Fabro is only accessible in English, in which there is not too much material either. Some of Fabro’s principal works, or more metaphysical, are not translated into English. Nevertheless, thanks God, Fr. Pablo Trollano, who organized and carried out these Thomistic Studies, facilitated us with the doctoral thesis of Fr. Jason Mitchell, LC, where many of Fabro’s most important texts are translated into English together with a very clear explanation.


Added to this was also the fact of the small number of seminarians, from whom no one have already coursed universa philosophia and, most of them have not yet had metaphysis. But this was not taken into account; we put our best and God blessed abundantly!

Therefore, it was that, in front of the immense number of difficulties which appeared, we remembered ourselves how the study of St. Thomas is intrinsic to our charism. It is not something accidental or that can be avoided. We must follow the essential Thomism because the fourth non-negotiable elements says, and will say us all along the centuries, that we must have “A clear intention of following St. Thomas Aquinas, as mandated by the Church, and in this context, following the best Thomists, such as Fr. Cornelio Fabro”. “St. Thomas is of central importance in our formation”.

Consequently, it does not matter the few materials, the scarcity of sources, etc., etc. It is necessary to exert our effort with all what is at our hand in order to study St. Thomas, even though we may not comprehend the immensity of his doctrine… at least we will know that to him we must follow in our formation and that his doctrine is the same as the Church´s, as our Constitutions highlights in the #227.


And…why also Fr. Fabro? Because he is the best Thomistic.

Fr. Meinvielle has already said it: «Is it possible, is it possible that after seven centuries of Thomism only Fr. Fabro has understood again the act of being? Is it possible» Yes… it is possible!

So, why would we not follow Fr. Fabro who has found, as honey in the mouth of the lion, the intensive esse that emerges formally and actually emerges as the act of all acts and which all the others perfection participates of, and to which we arrive through a passage to the limit which goes from act to act secundum rem and secundum rationem until it reachs the Ipsum Esse Subsistens?…

And when we understand the extraordinariness of Fr. Fabro, we realize that we must be totally thankful towards God, who, in His infinite wisdom, has permitted the forgetfulness of the thomistic esse during seven centuries, and has revealed it to our religious family with all its splendour.  Thing that is not for boasting but for receiving in a humble way.

Whence, we thank God for the immense benefit of studying St. Thomas who illumined the Church more than all the other doctors. In his books, one profits more in only one year than in the study of all the others during his whole life» (Pope John XXII),  and by whom «…All the heresies and error that would follow will be driven away, confounded and condemned» (St. Pius V)

As a conclusion to the activities we thanked God with the Holy Mass because in His infinite mercy He has allowed us to study Him in his most precise name, namely, as the Same Subsistent Being.

Sem. Bernardo M. Ibarra


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