Saturday, August 08, 2015

Dominic, an alternative to Francis


Happy St Dominic's Day!

I can't help comparing and contrasting the two great 13th Century founders. Why did Dominic not become a Franciscan or Francis a Dominican?

Both started mendicant penitential orders which would dominate the middle ages. Francis was concerned about going out to the poor and appealing to the emotions, he managed to capture the popular imagination, to the point where he still, today, appeals to the popular imagination. The myths that surrounded him even in his life are with us today. Dramatic gestures seem to have been a speciality, He kissed babies and lepers, he embraced the poor, challenged the rulers of this world. He was suspicious of learning, and intellectualism. His concern was that his disciples embrace the 'spirit' of his reforms and intuit what they were, hence after his death his order split and fragmented, parts of it ended up in heresy.

Dominic, even in his day was much less popular than Francis, his concern was for the abandonment self, but also for a strict unity. Whereas Francis rejected learning Dominic embraced it, though he never dismissed popular piety and preaching simply to ordinary people he understood the need for a deep intellectual underpinning and set up a studium in Rome at Sopra Minerva. 'Preach the Gospel always, and if you must use words' , though it is apocryphally attributed to Francis sums up much that the early Franciscans were about, Dominic on the other hand 'used words either to address God or to speak about him', the preaching of the 'Order of Preachers' was about words, and using them precisely.

I wonder if the next Pope in deference to his predecessor might choose the name Dominic.

14 comments:

Éamonn said...

I love the fact that in our (Dominican) litany we have three Holy Fathers: Augustine, whose rule we live under, Francis, whose sons we love even if we quarrel now and again and of course Dominic himself. The Church needs both Holy Father Francis and Holy Father Dominic: after all even Pope Francis himself still has to wear a Dominican habit!

Ttony said...

I don't really care that much if the next Pope chooses the name Popeye if he also chooses to be a Catholic Pope: who safeguards the Faith; defends it against the Enemy, and the enemy within; and who prays a lot.

Paul said...

How about the next Pope using his own name, for a change?

JARay said...

I wish to echo the comments I read above. I actually had to give a chuckle to the idea of Pope Popeye and I agree most strongly with the sentiment expressed by Ttony.

Jacobi said...

Funny, I have recently gone off St Francis, and earned a bit of stick for doing so. I mean his (very) selective love for animals? As yet no one has responded to my question as to what he might have thought about tarantulas, (or volcanoes), and as for kissing lepers, well I would certainly help them in the right circumstance, but would resort to hands gel immediately afterwards.

Now Dominic, one of my three patron saints, since my best pal at Confirmation was Dominic, so he in turn acquired two patron saints, James + and James -, is different.

I am glad to hear, Father, that St Dominic "used" words, no doubt clearly and unambiguously, something the Church is desperately in need of today!

Independent said...

Perhaps Pope Jeremy?

Charlesdawson said...

Hilaire Belloc wrote:

"He prayeth best who loveth best
All creatures great and small;
The streptococcus is the test -
I love him least* of all."

I think we have to be selective! The poor streptococcus is a normal member of human skin flora, and in fact essential for healthy skin; but let him once get inside, into the mucosa or worse, the bloodstream, and biological warfare breaks out.

As with the little, so with the great.

*or most, according to some versions

Sixupman said...

As reading your 'piece' thoughts were forming in my mind, such confirmed in your denouement in the final sentence. Avery nuanced, tight-rope-walking, 'piece', Father.

Jacobi said...

I wonder what Belloc would have thought of the ebola virus or the Black Death bacilli.

"ebola virus is the test -" or,

"Black Death Bacilli are the test -"

The first is a bit more poetic?

abevec1 said...

If the next Pope would be a precise and holy Dominican it would be a huge relief...it seems that it has been almost 300 years since the last Dominican pope. Maybe some people would be puzzled by having a scholar* and contemplative as pope, but we need it I think. It would be a great help to many of the faithful.

*scholastic

Flower of Lucca said...

Let's hope Pope Dominic cancels papal audiences in August and celebrates mass on the Feast of the Assumption, rather than the other way round...

Thomas said...

There is, of course, a Franciscan tradition of theology, with St. Bonaventure and Bl. John Duns Scotus among its revered doctors. One of the best summaries of the wonderful Franciscan way of thinking about the mysteries of salvation is summed up in the last chapter of The Absolute Primacy of Christ by Fr. Maxilian Mary Dean ( http://absoluteprimacyofchrist.org/conclusion/ )

Independent said...

There is also the Medieval Franciscan Bl.Ramon Lull, who spent his life as a missionary to Islam, and had contact with Muslim theologians. He wrote extensively and was murdered by Muslims in North Africa. He had studied Arabic in Mallorca(at that time one of the most moorish parts of Christendom) and sought out what was common to Islam and Catholicism. Unlike the Thomists he looked back to Plato rather than Aristotle.

Frank Karwatowicz said...

I seem to recall reading in a western and prominent Christian nation that the most popular newborn male name is Mohamed(sic) and thus perhaps the time is fast approaching when we will have a pope named Mohamed Francis or Mohamed Dominic or Popeye or Pluto, etc...
Or maybe it is so already but we don't realize it yet.