The academy was founded with thirty members: ten from Rome, ten from the rest of Italy, and ten from other countries. PAST was one of several Thomist foundations in places such as Bologna, Fribourg (Switzerland), Paris, and Lowden. The Academy was confirmed by Pius X with his apostolic letter of 23 January 1904 and enlarged by Benedict XV on 31 December 1914. John Paul II reformed the Academy on 28 January 1999 with his apostolic letter Inter munera Academiarium, issued shortly after his encyclicalFides et Ratio.
The Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas is temporarily headquartered in the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican City. Its objectives, as stated in the Academy's Yearbook 2007, are the following:
Carry out research, explain, and disseminate the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas
Explain, in as much as this is possible, the mystery of faith and the analogical connections between articles of faith according to the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas, thereby also honouring his title, Doctor Communis
Amicable cooperation with members of other academies to promote Christian philosophy and theology
Stimulate international interaction between scholars of St. Thomas Aquinas and his work
Further the role of Thomistic thought in society
Promote education in Thomistic studies and the public's understanding of the ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas
Encourage research into the work and thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The current president of the PAST is Msgr. Lluís Clavell Ortiz-Repiso from Opus Dei, who replaced in June 2009 Fr. Edward Kaczyński, O.P. The current secretary is Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo. Until 1965 the presidency of the PAST was held by a group of cardinals. Pope Paul VI appointed the first single cardinal as president, Cardinal Michael Browne, O.P. After his death in 1971, the presidency remained vacant until the appointment of Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, O.P., in 1979. After his death in 1996, the PAST was reformed. The office of president would no longer be bestowed on a cardinal and its appointment would be for a five-year period. Abelardo Lobato, O.P., professor of philosophy at the College of Saint Thomas, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, served as president from 1999 to 2005.
^Elie Blanc, Dictionnaire de philosophie ancienne, moderne et contemporaine, art. Scholastique, t. 3, p. 559. For criticism of the Accademia Romana see C. Besse, Deux centres du mouvement thomiste, Paris, 1902, which compares Roman Thomists unfavorably with those of Louvain.