In connection with the recent feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas (March 7), I was perusing Pope Pius XI's Encyclical Letter Studiorum Ducem (On St. Thomas Aquinas), promulgated on June 29, 1923. I found this sentence, in which the Pope gives St. Thomas the title of Doctor Communis, to be especially interesting:
11... We so heartily approve the magnificent tribute of praise bestowed upon this most divine genius that We consider that Thomas should be called not only the Angelic, but also the Common or Universal Doctor of the Church; for the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own, as innumerable documents of every kind attest.
Contrast this to Pope John Paul II's Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason), promulgated on September 14, 1998.
49. The Church has no philosophy of her own nor does she canonize any one particular philosophy in preference to others [footnote 54 reads: Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis (12 August 1950): AAS 42 (1950), 566].
But, as Thomas G. Guarino rightly points out in footnote 11 (p. 64) of his Foundations of Systematic Theology: "At this point the encyclical, in note 54, cites "Humani generis," Acta apostolicae sedis 42 (1950): 566, as a supporting document. But one is hard pressed to read anything quite like the sentence indicated here. The theme of that passage is that although the terminology used in the schools is capable of further perfection and refinement, it is clearly the case that such philosophy provides a sturdy foundation for church teaching."
Very interesting. Very interesting indeed.