The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
Read more.

Saints This Month - 30 April St Pius V

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pius V was Pope during one of the most turbulent and unstable times in the history of Christendom. Europe had been torn apart by the reformation and by the time of Pius’s election in 1556, Protestantism was strongly established in many regions of Europe. Pius V was the right man to lead and accelerate the Catholic reformation.

He joined the Order of Preachers in 1518, a year after Martin Luther had published the 95 Theses. His Dominican life, from the beginning, was very much concerned with defending the Church against the heresies of the time. After teaching in Pavia, where he had published many apologetic works, he was sent on an inquisitorial mission in Como.

His virtuous defence of the Church was also complemented by a zeal for reform within the Church. Many of the criticisms of the Church stemmed from the moral laxity of certain clerics, especially the Popes. As a Prior, Pius insisted on discipline and simplicity within his houses. His example and reforming nature led to his elevation to the episcopate. He was held in such high regard that he was made a Cardinal and given the honour of the Supreme Inquisitorship.

He was elected Pope in 1566 at the age of 62. He immediately began to create an atmosphere of discipline in the Church of Rome. He reduced the cost and excesses of the Papal court and compelled residence amongst the clergy. Within the city of Rome he expelled prostitutes and regulated the inns. His most important work however was the enforcement of the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent. In 1570 he promulgated a new edition of the Roman Missal. He also excommunicated Elizabeth I of England in an attempt to win England back to the Church.

He was pivotal in forming a Holy League to defend Europe from the Turks, culminating in the victorious Battle of Lepanto. Pius was made aware of the triumph in a vision, attributed the victory to Our Lady's intercession and instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory, now celebrated as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Pius V was the right Pope for the right time. His leadership consolidated and strengthened the Church in the most turbulent of times. He united the Catholic Princes of Europe when they were under threat from foes both spiritual and military. His reforms and reinforcement of discipline were a shot-in the-arm for the Catholic reformation and provided a base for renewal and resurgence in the Church.

 Read more

Spiritual notes from a small island...... The Cloud of Unknowing

Friday, April 24, 2009
The Cloud of Unknowing is a fourteenth century work by an anonymous English author. Over the years, there has been much speculation about the identity of the author, and it has often been said that he was a Carthusian monk. One thing that is clear from the text is that its author was certainly learned, well versed in scholastic theology. There is also a very clear influence of Pseudo-Dionysius, whom the author quotes directly in chapter seventy: 'The most Godlike knowledge of God is that which is known by unknowing’. Pseudo-Dionysius, who was then widely thought to be a follower of Paul (see Acts 17), is used as source and authority for the ideas that The Cloud proposes. The author asserts that we can know more about what God is not than about what God is. This theology informs his approach to the contemplative life, and in this he stands among many influential writers, including St John of Cross, who wrote some two centuries later.
 Read more

Spiritual notes from a small island..... Mother Julian of Norwich: Showings of God's Love

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
 Read more

Bearly tall enough...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Exsultet Read more

A Dominican Vocation

Friday, April 17, 2009

My first year at university, however, which was also my first year as a Catholic, led me to conclude that this was not the case. The university chaplaincy provided a place where I could deepen my knowledge of the Faith, and also taught me the joy of belonging to a vibrant Christian community: indeed, some of us spent so much time there, it was almost like a religious community! And during this time, rather than going away, that sense of some sort of vocation to the priesthood became stronger, and, in a context where there were other people thinking about the same thing, it came to seem more realistic too.

So I decided to go and speak to my chaplain, and his first suggestion was to go and take a look at the Dominicans: this was very convenient, because there happens to be a Dominican priory in Cambridge, where I was studying, and a couple of the friars, as well as some Dominican sisters were involved in the chaplaincy. All the Dominicans I met seemed like very interesting people, and at the same time, what I came to learn of the Order appealed to me: the focus on preaching and apostolic work, nourished by a religious life in community, seemed to me like the best of both worlds (an opinion which I, unwittingly at the time, shared with St Thomas Aquinas).

The next step, then, was to get in touch with the Vocations Director, who gave me various things to read about the Order, as well as encouraging me to visit some of the other houses of the province: this only confirmed the impression that I was on to something here. Then, as part of my degree (in modern languages), I had to spend a year in Russia, where I was able to see the Faith being lived in very different surroundings and also, during the time I spent in St Petersburg, to get to know the only Dominican community in Russia. Read more

Spiritual notes from a small island..... St. Aelred of Rievaulx - 'Spiritual Friendship'

Thursday, April 16, 2009
 Read more

Easter Sunday - O Happy Fault!

Sunday, April 12, 2009
Readings: Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 117; Colossians 3:1-4 [or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8]; John 20:1-9 Read more

Gaudium Paschale!

Sunday, April 12, 2009
The Dominican brothers at Blackfriars Oxford wish all Godzdogz readers Read more

Holy Saturday - The Stillness of the Tomb

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oratio Ieremiae

Saturday, April 11, 2009
Oratio Ieremiae Read more
Follow us
Meet the Student Brothers

Meet the Student Brothers



Featured Series

Featured Series

Recent posts


Liturgical index

All tags & authors


Upcoming events

View the full calendar