Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Faculty Advisor

Marc A. LePain


Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctrines of the Catholic Church, Charity, Religious aspects, Christianity


The Angelic Doctor of the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, is among the greatest minds to contribute to the Catholic tradition. What this important Doctor of the Church teaches about charity, however, has not been widely received in the seven centuries since Aquinas’ career. Charity is not only the highest theological virtue, as compared to faith and hope, but charity is also that virtue on which all other virtues depend; St. Paul writes: “Without charity, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13). The height and summit of the Catholic faith is the Holy Eucharist, which is often referred to as the Sacrament of Charity. According to Thomas Aquinas, the essence of charity is friendship with God. Though he is not the first one to think of charity as friendship, he is the first to employ Aristotle’s qualifications of friendship in explaining the love that God has for man and how man ought to love God in return. This project seeks to elucidate Aquinas’ thought on charity and to help current students of theology understand the importance of this virtue in light of God’s salvific plan for humanity.