03 February 2010

BXVI on St Dominic

At yesterday's general audience, BXVI spoke about Saint Dominic Guzmán, the founder of the Order of Preachers:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I wish to speak of the great contribution made by Saint Dominic to the renewal of the Church in the Middle Ages. As a priest of the Spanish diocese of Osma, he was sent on missions throughout Europe, which drew his attention to the need for sound and zealous preachers to bring the Gospel to the people. He was entrusted with the task of refuting the heresy of the Albigensians, who denied the incarnation of Christ, the resurrection of the body and the value of marriage and the sacraments. Embracing a life of poverty, Dominic dedicated himself to the task of preaching the Gospel, and with a band of followers he established the Order of Preachers, also known as Dominican Friars. Adapting the rule of Saint Augustine to the needs of the apostolic life, Dominic placed emphasis on theological study, prayer and community life for his friars. Thus fortified, they would be sent out on missions as itinerant, mendicant preachers. Hence the Dominican motto, contemplata aliis tradere – to hand on to others the fruits of contemplation. One important way in which the Dominicans did this was by promoting the prayer of the rosary, a beautiful means of contemplating, through the eyes of Mary, the truth revealed in the mysteries of the life, death and Resurrection of her son

Some interesting facts about the OP's. . .

The Holy Father's household theologian is always a Dominican (there were a few Franciscans thrown in there Way Back When).  The current household theologian is from Poland, fra.Wojciech Giertych, O.P.  Fr. Giertych is also a professor of moral theology here at the Angelicum.

The Holy Father's distinctive white cassock is an adapted Dominican habit.  Pope Pius V, an O.P., wore his habit while pope and his successors adapted it for daily use.  It is traditional for O.P. friars to wear the full habit--including black cape and hood--while out in the city of Rome as a sign of respect for the Holy Father's distinctive garb.  Papal protocol does not allow those in private audience with the Pope to wear white.  Only heads of state are exempted.

The leaders of the friars--from the Master right on down to the priory's lector--are elected for limited terms.  There are no "until death" offices in the Order.  There is evidence that Thomas Jefferson was familiar with the Order's constitution and used some of its principles in drafting our nation's founding documents. 

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  1. "Papal protocol does not allow those in private audience with the Pope to wear white. Only heads of state are exempted."

    Out of curiosity, then - what would a Dominican, or other religious with a primarily white habit, wear in a private audience?

  2. Mandrivnyk, I should have been more precise...we wear the full habit not just the white parts of the habit.

  3. Take time to read the full text in Italian! IF you find someone has translated it let us know! thankfully, He mentions the role of the Nuns in the Order in his talk!

  4. Full text on www.dominicanfriars.org!
    See last 3 sentences of the 2nd to last paragraph!

  5. Father, what would you recommend as a good and faithful book on the life of St. Dominic? I understand that some of them out there are a little on the questionable side, or at least of less than great use. In the past several months I have developed a great affinity for the Order of Preachers and would love to learn more.

  6. I really like Saint Dominic: The Grace of the Word, by Fr. Guy Bedouelle, OP, which gives you a good idea of what St. Dominic was up to, charism-wise.

    And if you're really interested, Saint Dominic and His Times, by M.-H. Vicaire, which gives you pretty much everything.

  7. Tom, thanks for suggesting these...

    Frival, my apologies...I started looking for a few good suggestions and got sidetracked. I would also add to Tom's list Fr. Simon Tugwell's Ways of Imperfection.