Due to the fact that so many young people seem more drawn to questions regarding happiness and personal fulfillment, he noted that he often orients his talks in this direction. In other words, perhaps one could say that such an approach to teaching is an attempt to be more Augustinian (happiness-based) than Thomistic (truth-based).
Without commenting on the entire article quoted, (in fact I didn't read it all-these lines got me thinking and I never got back to it) some obvious questions come to (my) mind:
1. Is Augustine more about happiness than truth?
2. Is Aquinas more about truth than happiness?
3. Are truth and happiness so inter-related that it doesn't matter?
I am presently reading God or Nothing an interview with Cardinal Sarah. Cardinal Sarah contends (I am paraphrasing) that Christianity is not a set of (moral) norms, but an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ. Moral laws are more of a consequence than a prerequisite of Christianity. In other words, the encounter with the Son of Man calls us to follow him, which then makes us want to live a certain way. This seems (to me) very Augustinian, if the premise above is true.
However, doesn't Aquinas explore who is God and the Trinity? And doesn't this truth of the nature of the Trinity helps us make an authentic encounter with and learn how to follow Jesus?
I once knew an atheist who was one of the most moral men I knew. He believed living a moral life was the only way to have an orderly society.
Now, many would argue that equating Aquinas with "the Law" in not the same as saying Aquinas is 'truth-based" (as opposed to "happiness-based"). I would agree; but still there is a perception, but (I would argue) a perception from ignorance of Aquinas.
Oremus pro invicem!