Home/Stay Informed/All Diocesan Articles

All Diocesan Articles

What Would Thomas Aquinas Make of AI?

Posted on February 19, 2024 in: News

What Would Thomas Aquinas Make of AI?

What would Thomas Aquinas think of artificial intelligence (AI), and what does a large language model think of Thomas Aquinas? According to one German theologian, the Catholic saint and doctor of the Church can contribute to contemporary discussions about AI’s risks and its role in society. 

In an interview with CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, Thomas Marschler, who holds the Chair of Dogmatics at the University of Augsburg, said: “Of course, Thomas could not have foreseen how the world’s technology would develop in the 800 years since his birth. No one in his time could have imagined that machines would one day be invented that would use computer technology to solve problems in a similar way to intelligent human beings or even surpass them.”

But while St. Thomas’ work contains no direct pronouncements on AI — nor on space travel or quantum physics, for that matter — the work of Aquinas sheds a light on AI’s profound philosophical and ethical aspects, the German theologian said.

“For instance, when the phenomenon of artificial intelligence is used as a strong argument in favor of a naturalistic view of humans — here Thomas can save us from erroneous conclusions with his insights into the nature of the spirit-soul and its abilities, into the uniqueness of spiritual consciousness and its personal carrier,” Marschler told CNA Deutsch.

St. Thomas also encourages Catholics “to think about whether what is technically feasible is always what we should implement in our actions,” he added.

“The latest technology is not always what helps us to achieve the true goal of our lives and to become good and happy as people who are images of God in their spiritual souls.”

After all, Thomas Aquinas is known as the “Angelic Doctor” due to his virtues, particularly his purity and profound intellectual work, and his comprehensive theological writings on angels.

Marschler noted there were already chatbots on the internet that used AI to answer questions in the role of Thomas Aquinas. “However, reading the works of Thomas is probably still the best way to really get to know him,” he said.

‘A pretty forward-thinking guy’

When asking ChatGPT what it makes of Thomas Aquinas, the answer is to the point: “I view Aquinas as a seminal figure in Western philosophy and theology, particularly known for his integration of Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrine, which was groundbreaking for his time,” adding he “remains influential in Christian theology and philosophy.”

The chatbot Grok on X, when in fun mode, has a different take on Aquinas: “I think he made some significant contributions to the fields of philosophy and theology,” Grok said. “However, I must admit that his views on certain topics, such as women and heretics, were less than ideal from a modern perspective. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right? And considering the time he lived in, he was a pretty forward-thinking guy.”

For anyone interested in encountering the actual thought of Aquinas, Marschler suggests the YouTube channel and work of the Thomistic Institute in Washington, D.C., emphasizing that “Dominicans who cultivate and develop the Thomistic heritage are also active in France and Italy.”

“The resurgence of interest in Thomistic thought, particularly in the English-speaking world, indicates the enduring relevance of Aquinas’ teachings,” Marschler added.

Reflecting on the broader impact of Aquinas’ work, Marschler highlighted the eventual recognition of Aquinas as a doctor of the Church. 

“His canonization in 1323 and designation as a Church teacher in 1567 recognized his authority as a ‘universal teacher.’ Despite some resistance from other theological schools, Aquinas’ thought has profoundly shaped Catholic theology to the extent that understanding contemporary theologians like Yves Congar or Karl Rahner is almost impossible without reference to Aquinas.”

By CNA Staff

 

This article was originally published by the Catholic News Agency on February 20, 2024. 


Most Viewed Articles of the Last 30 Days

The Shroud of Turin - The Most Holy Cloth

Posted on March 19, 2024 in: News

1261

The Shroud of Turin - The Most Holy Cloth
It is said to have been brought from the Mideast to Europe by the Knights Templar, and it is purportedly the most studied artifact in history. But the greatest claim made for this cloth is that it is the actual burial cloth of Christ, the Shroud of Turin. On the cloth can be seen a faint image of the corpse of a tortured man, with blood stains indicating wounds around the head, chest, arms, hands, and feet. The first photograph of the cloth was taken in 1898, and to everyone’s amazement, it revealed that the image was something akin to a photographic negative, whic...

Read More

Here’s When Easter Officially Ends

Posted on April 04, 2024 in: News

1175

Here’s When Easter Officially Ends
Catholics recognize Easter — when Jesus Christ rose from the dead after sacrificing his life for all of humanity — as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox. But, as it turns out, they can continue saying “Happy Easter” into May or, in some years, into June. Easter lasts for a total of 50 days, from Easter Sunday until the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, Mary, and the first followers of Christ.  This year, 2024, Easter was on March 31 and runs until Pentecost Sunday, ...

Read More

Sacred Oils, Sacred Vows - Chrism Mass 2024
"May your holy oil, O Lord, be blessed by You, for our sake" The annual Chrism Mass took place Tuesday morning, March 26th, at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, continuing the celebration of Holy Week leading up to Easter.  The Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Norwich, blessed the sacramental oils that will be used by parishes throughout the diocese in the coming year for baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick and the ordination of priests.  In his homily, the Bishop remarked, "It is the c...

Read More

St. Joseph - Husband of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church
St. Joseph is honored with feast days throughout the Liturgical Year. This feast encourages us to look at Joseph's role as husband and head of the Holy Family. Most of what we know about the life of St. Joseph comes to us from Scripture and legends that have sprung up regarding his life. Though Joseph is only mentioned by two of the evangelists, he is paid the compliment of being a "just" man. This is a way of saying that Joseph was such a good and holy man that he shares in God's own holiness. In addition, Joseph gives us an example of h...

Read More

A Glowing Celebration of Faith- Candlelit Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick
A sea of candlelight cast a comforting glow over those gathered in the darkened Cathedral of Saint Patrick for the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, March 30th. The Liturgy of Light (Lucernarium) commenced as Bishop Michael R. Cote and ministers proceeded in silence and darkness to the rear of the Cathedral. There, the Bishop spoke to the faithful about the significance of the vigil before bestowing a blessing upon the new fire, which would be used to light the Paschal candle. Father Brian Romanowski then carried the lit candle down the main aisle into the dimly lit Cath...

Read More

Bishop Cote Discusses Faith and Redemption in Palm Sunday Homily
"We celebrate this Palm Sunday with the eyes of faith,"   On Sunday, March 24th, the Cathedral of Saint Patrick was filled with the faithful, gathered to commemorate Palm Sunday, marking the beginning of Holy Week. The Most Reverend Michael R. Cote presided over the Mass, delivering a homily that captured the profound significance of the sacred day. He drew parallels between the disciples' initial inability to grasp the full significance of Christ's entry into Jerusalem and our celebration of Palm Sunday. He emphasized...

Read More

Annual Catholic Appeal

ACA DONATE

English

Español

 

 
Signup for Weekly Newsletter


    Recently Added Galleries
    Click to view album: Nativity photos
    Click to view album: Archbishop Kevin S. Randall - Episcopal Ordination, Nov. 4, 2023
    Click to view album: Rite of Election
    Click to view album: Mass of Ordination  for Fr. Jacob Ramos
    Latest Articles
    Love for God - Our Lady Queen of Hope Award
    'This is a Gift for You' - Hope & Faith Video Series
    Paths to the Cross- Journeys into the Heart of Catholicism
    The Secret Weapon to a Stronger Marriage
    A Question of Faith- What is Papal Infallibility?
    Sharing in Our Humanity
    Family and Community Are Key to Overcoming Secularism, Pope Says
    Calendar of Events

    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294