Thomas Aquinas can materialize fish?


I was wondering whether or not this miracle is recognized by the Catholic Church.

Supposedly, it’s a miracle that involves Thomas hungry for herring, so he just goes ahead and materializes a whole basket of it. And supposedly the Church used this miracle to canonize him. I see this miracle talked about a lot on “pro evolution” and “pro science” sites, because it’s so “laughably ridiculous” as one commenter put it. Is this a straw man used by atheists to show how silly the Church is or is it an actual miracle?


It really doesn’t matter whether it’s an actual miracle or not, of course it’s a straw man-- to simply **call **it “laughable” is not an argument.

they could choose any miracle and call it “silly”. I don’t really understand what your question is.


I don’t know myself–but I bet if you went to Taylor Marshall’s Facebook page, you can ask him there. He has studied Aquinas, written a book about him, etc. etc.

(his blog says he only takes questions through his FB page, which I why I directed you there)


I was just wondering whether or not this is a real miracle that Aquinas performed, because I have never heard of it before. I always believed that Aquinas was canonized for his intellectual contributions which are miraculous in and of themselves.


The Church does not use miracles performed by the saints during their lifetime to canonize them; she uses miracles performed at the request of their intersession after they have died. It doesn’t matter if the story is true (I doubt it), it would not have considered in the canonization process. BTW, if these skeptics think it is so funny, let’s see them do it!


This story seems to come from the book: The life of Saint Thomas Aquinas: biographical documents; by Kenelm Foster; Longmans, Green, 1959

In the book is a translation of St. Thomas’ First Canonization Enquiry the Archbishop of Naples held in 1319. It says a lot about different miracles. About this, it says:

*Asked about miracles - whether he knew of any worked through the merits of Thomas either before or after death - the witness said that when Thomas died his body was buried at first before the high altar, but then the monks, fearing it might be taken from them, transferred it secretly to St. Stephen’s Chapel in the same abbey-church. But about seven months later Thomas appeared in a dream to a brother James, who was prior at the time, and said:‘Take me back where I was at first.’ So they took him back, with due solemnity. (This dream was and still is commonly talked about in the monastery.) And when the tomb was opened a delicious fragrance came out, filling all the chapel and cloister: whereupon the community sang the Mass Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, etc., in honour of Thomas as of a saint; they thought the Mass Pro defunctis hardly suitable for such a man.

All this the witness knew because he was there and saw it for himself; it happened about seven months after Thomas’s death; but he could not be sure of the month or the day. Asked who were present, he said ‘the whole community’… Asked who had called him to the place where the fragrance was smelt, he said he himself smelled it; it drew him to where the tomb was.
Asked if he knew of other miracles attributed to brother Thomas, the witness said that he had heard of many; and in particular that when Thomas lay sick in the castle of Maenza and was urged to eat something, he answered, ‘I would eat fresh herrings, if I had some.’ Now it happened that a pedlar called just then with salted fish. He was asked to open his baskets, and one was found full of fresh herrings, though it had contained only salted fish. But when the herrings were brought to Thomas, he would not eat them.
The witness spoke too of a Master Reginald, a cripple, who was cured at the tomb of brother Thomas.

Asked how he knew of these two miracles, he replied that that about the fish he had from brother William of Tocco, prior of the Friar Preachers at Benevento, who himself had it from several people at Maenza, where the event occurred. The other story he had from brother Octavian (mentioned above) who averred that he had seen it happen. And in the monastery these miracles were common knowledge.
As mentioned, of the miracles reported here, the ones after St. Thomas’ death would have been of more importance.


I’ve never understood the bolded sort of argument.

Miracles of this sort are a setting aside of the normal laws of nature. That is why we call them miracles. That is why we say they point to God (in a different way then the laws of nature themselves do). We know that they are ordinarily impossible. We also know that God can accomplish them easier than we can take a breath. Whether or not this particular miracle could happen, there is no reason why it couldn’t have.

So when you run into a someone saying that a miracle is “ridiculous” in the sense of “obviously not possible according to the laws of nature,” the answer is something like “duh, that’s why we call it a miracle.”

It’s not that Christians are so stupid as to believe that miracles are ordinarily possible, it’s that we know they aren’t and so we are amazed when they happen anyway.


What it actually is is Team Atheist’s routine of wrapping up a straw man, a red herring and an ad hominem all into one package. The first because we are not required to believe such an apocryphal account, the second because that’s not why Aquinas is a saint, and the third is to discredit Aquinas’ Five Ways, which is something Richard Dawkins straw-attacked and failed.

Have nothing to do with these people. They are simply taking whatever Joe Atheist says on that blog and accepting it uncritically because it fits their worldview.


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