|Doctrines|| ||Dominican belief and
practice are based upon the statutes of the order's founder Dominic de
Guzman (ca. 1171-1221). Like other orders, the Dominicans commit
themselves to a life of poverty and chastity. Dominic taught that his
followers should adopt a life of total poverty in imitation of the early
Christian apostles and place themselves on the same level as the poorest
classes of society. Originally their income derived from living as
beggars. Today they are supported by charitable contributions and money
acquired through work.|
The Dominicans are friars rather than monks. Unlike monks, who belongs to a single house or monastery, a friar can be transferred to any house in any part of the world. Dominicans do not isolate themselves from the world but go out into the world in order to spread the Gospel. This is reflected in their mottoes: "To share with others the fruits of our contemplation" and "Preaching and the salvation of people".
|History|| ||The Dominicans were
founded in 1216 by Dominic de Guzman with the purpose of preaching
Christian doctrine in the new cities of Europe and to those who had moved
away from the church. |
In 1233 Pope Gregory IX entrusted the Dominicans with the responsibility of discovering and suppressing heresy. The organ for this was the Inquisition which developed into a vicious instrument for the persecution of heretics, Jews and Muslims.
The rigorous theological training undertaken by the Dominicans enabled them to acquire enormous influence in the new European universities. Within forty years of the founding of the order, its members were established among the universities of Paris, Bolgne, Cologne and Oxford. The most distinguished Dominican scholar, Thomas Aquinas, sought to integrate philosophy and theology through incorporating Aristotle into Christian doctrine. In 1278 the Aristotelian system was officially adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Dominicans have played a major role in the church's missionary work. Dominican preachers were sent out throughout Europe and were among the earliest missionaries in the Spanish and Portuguese colonisation of Latin America. Dominicans continue to be active today, particularly as preachers and educators.
|Symbols|| ||Dominicans are identified
by their distinctive habits. The Dominican habit consists of a white
woollen gown with a white belt around the waist. Over this is a white
scapular (a long strip of cloth worn over the shoulders). Covering these
is a black cloak with a hood. The white part of the habit denotes purity
of life; the black denotes mortification and penance. Dominicans are also
known as 'Blackfriars' after the black cloak and hood that is worn over
the white habits.|
|Adherents|| ||Dominican communities
continue to be active today. There are now 7000 Dominican friars, 4500
Dominican nuns, and 40,000 sisters (Harris et al. 1994, 75).|