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Catena Aurea – Commentary on the Four Gospels
THE CATENA AUREA IS POSSIBLY THE GREATEST SCRIPTURE COMMENTARY THE CHURCH HAS EVER PRODUCED!
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea (“Golden Chain”)
A Four-Volume Commentary on the Gospels
Imagine a round-table discussion of the Gospels among the supreme theologians of the Church. The Catena Aurea is very close! St. Thomas Aquinas compiled this opus from sermons and commentaries on the Gospels written by the early Church Fathers. For each of the four Gospel writers, the Catena Aurea starts by indicating the verses to be analyzed, then taking each verse phrase-by-phrase, provides the early Fathers' insights into the passage.
St. Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea is a masterpiece anthology of Patristic commentary on the Gospels – it includes the work of over 80 Church Fathers. It is, we think, perhaps the best commentary ever done on the four Gospels!
St. Thomas Aquinas’ work demonstrates intimate acquaintance with the Church Fathers and is an excellent complement to the more recent attempts to understand the inner meaning of the Sacred Scriptures. For each of the four Gospel writers, the Catena Aurea starts by indicating the verses to be analyzed, then phrase-by-phrase, provides the early Fathers’ insights into the passage.
The unchanging rule of the Church is that “no one [is] to interpret the Sacred Scripture… contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers” (Vatican I). Just as in our own day there has been renewed interest in the Church Fathers, so in the 13th century, when the Catena Aurea was compiled, the western Church was undergoing a similar revival of interest in the ancient patristic authors – and the works of many Eastern Fathers were translated from Greek to Latin for the first time. During this period there was increasing hunger for the true and authentic interpretation of Scripture, to which the Church Fathers hold the key.
St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor as he is known, was commissioned to write the Catena Aurea by Pope Urban IV, in order that an orthodox Patristic commentary on the Gospels would be readily available to all readers. Blessed John Henry Newman was responsible for its translation into English in 1841. Blessed John hoped that the Catena would become a source of catechesis within the family and the Church. His edition of the Catena Aurea is one of the jewels of the 19th century Catholic Restoration, making the scholarship of the Fathers available to a wider audience. As with many 19th century texts, it employs a sober, dignified style of English, which is eminently suitable to the unsurpassable mysteries of the Catholic Faith.
The Catena Aurea, compiled by one of the Catholic Church’s greatest minds, is of immeasurable use to priests writing homilies, laypeople engaged in private or family study of the Gospels, and religious instructors will find it an invaluable help in preparing lessons. It is the perfect companion to study the Scriptures in detail and receive the wisdom of St. Thomas on particular passages.
Consider the Catena Aurea as a discussion of the Gospels among the supreme theologians of the Church. Their exegesis is astonishing! A worthy recommendation for the serious student of the Bible is a copy of the only work that Aquinas was known to carry around with him.
Volumes not sold individually