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.
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Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul

Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Councils of Faith: Lateran V (1512-17)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517) happened in the sixteenth century before another important council, Trent. However, there is a considerable difference between the two councils as the second came to answer to an important matter: Protestantism. However, Lateran V also addressed issues that were very sensitive in the Church.

Before Lateran V, there had been the Great Schism or the Western Schism (1378-1417)  to avoid confusion with the East-West Schism in 1054. The Western Schism (also 'Papal Schism') consisted in a split that occurred in the Catholic Church when two popes, one in Avignon and another in Rome, claimed both to be the successors of Saint Peter. The Council of Constance (1414-1417) put an end to the disagreement but the division among Christian princes and among church leaders had left lasting marks. Another event had happened: a strong and divisive argument had erupted in the Church about the role of the Pope compared to that of the General Council that used to choose him. Some believed that the Council that chooses a pope is greater than him. It was called Conciliarism. Others however maintained the view that the Pope came first and his authority was greater than that of the General Council. This gives one a hint about the climate in the Church before Lateran V.

Pope Julius II
When Giuliano della Rovere became Pope Julius II he promised to his cardinals to convoke a general council. However, Pope Julius II, being pre-occupied by many other matters, especially wars, did honour his promise. The Emperor Maximilian and the king of France Louis XII convoked a council at Pisa in 1511. A small number of cardinals attended with a few bishops. The Conciliabulum of Pisa, as it is know, decided to suspend Pope Julius II, as they believed in Conciliarism. The same year, Pope Julius convoked a council and many cardinals and bishops joined him in condemning the conclusions of the Conciliabulum of Pisa. Even the Roman Emperor and the French king ended up rejecting the conclusions of the council they had convoked. The cardinals and bishops who met at Pisa were condemned as heretics and schismatics. When Pope Julius II died in 1513, Pope Leo X succeeded him and the council, which had been interrupted, resumed.

Lateran V condemned many other things including a 1438 document called Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges which limited the powers of the pope, especially when it came to the nomination of bishops and other religious leaders. However, it did not only condemn aspects that could have been seen as threats to the papacy; it also addressed other issues that were calling for a reform. It addressed concubinage, simony, church property issues, blasphemy, etc. It mostly addressed cardinals and other church authorities’ behaviours. It also required that books were to be given permission by the local bishop before they were printed.

Pope Leo XII
The Fifth Lateran Council came in a time when people were calling for radical changes. It came after many church leaders had given up hope on Pope Julius II to convoke a council as he had promised. It all ended in condemnations that could have been avoided. It intensified a climate that would in the end result into a big and sad change in the Church: the Protestant Reformation. Indeed, by the time the year 1517 ended, the same year during which the Fifth Lateran Council had been concluded, Martin Luther had started a movement that would not only split the church, but also strengthen the divisions among Christian nations.
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Sr Helen Prejean & the Call to Work for Justice

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

End of year events at Blackfriars

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The end of the academic year is always greeted with a panoply of parties at Blackfriars. Here are some of the highlights. Read more

Councils of Faith: Constance (1414-18)

Sunday, June 16, 2013
There have been a number of times when there have been two or more people claiming to be the valid pope. These times were difficult for the Church for obvious reasons, especially when it was not immediately clear who was the validly chosen pope. The most troubling of these periods resulted in what is called the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) and the Council of Constance resolved it. Read more

Councils of Faith: Vienne (1311-12)

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Pope Francis’ decision to gather an advisory body of Cardinals from all over the world has prompted much discussion in recent months and reopened a debate over the authority of the Papacy relative to the college of Bishops. It is important to remember that ecclesiological questions of this kind cannot be asked in a vacuum. The juridical structure that the Church arrives at in any epoch is historically conditioned: in other words, how the Church is governed is to a certain extent structured by the kind or quality of freedom that secular rulers are prepared to give to the Church.  Read more

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Friday, June 07, 2013

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Solemnity of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

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Councils of Faith - Lyon I and II

Saturday, June 01, 2013
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