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§ 72. St. Dominic and the Dominicans.


Literature.—The earliest Life by Jordanus, Dominic’s successor as head of the order: de principiis ordinis praedicatorum in Quétif-Echard, who gives five other early biographies (Bartholomew of Trent, 1244–1251, Humbert de Romanis, 1250, etc.), and ed. by J. J. Berthier, Freib., i. Schw., 1892.—H. D. Lacordaire, d. 1861: Vie de S. Dominique, Paris, 1840, 8th ed. 1882. Also Hist. Studies of the Order of S. Dom. 1170-1221, Engl. trans., N. Y., 1869.—E. Caro: S. Dom. et les Dominicains, Paris, 1853.—A. T. Drane: Hist. of St. Dom., Founder of the Friar Preachers, London, 1891.—Balme et Lelaidier: Cartulaire ou hist. diplomatique de S. Dom., Paris, 1892.—J. Guiraud: S. Dom., Paris, 2d ed., 1899.—For titles of about thirty lives, see Potthast, II. 1272.—Quétif-Echard: Script. ord. Praedicatorum, 2 vols. Paris, 1719–1721.—Ripoll and Bermond: Bullarium ord. Praed., 8 vols. Rome, 1737 sqq.—Mamachi: Annal. ord. Praed., Rome, 1756.—Monumenta ord. fratrum Praed. hist., ed. by B. M. Reichert, Louvaine and Rome, 10 vols., 1897–1901. Vol. III. gives the acts of the general chapters of the order, 1220–1308.—A. Danzas: Etudes sur les temps primitifs de l’ordre de S. Dom., Paris, 1873–1885.—*Denifle: Die Constitutionen des Predigerordens vom Jahre 1228, and Die Constitutionen des Raymunds von Peñaforte 1238–1241 in Archiv für Lit. und Kirchengesch., 1885, pp. 165–227 and 1889, 530–565.—Helyot: Bel. Orders.—Lea: Hist. of Inquisition, I. 242–304, etc. Wetzer-Welte, art. Dominicus, III. 1931–1945.—W. Lescher: St. Dominic and the Rosary, London, 1902.—H. Holzapfel: S. Dom. und der Rosenkranz, Munich, 1903.


The Spaniard, Dominic, founder of the order of preachers, usually called the Dominicans,859859    Ordo praedicatorum, fratres praedicatores, or simply praedicatores, as in the papal bulls and the constitutions of the order.int of Assisi, and his career has little to correspond to the romantic features of his contemporary’s career. Dominic was of resolute purpose, zealous for propagating the orthodox faith, and devoted to the Church and hierarchy. His influence has been through the organization he created, and not through his personal experiences and contact with the people of his age. This accounts for the small number of biographies of him as compared with the large number of Francis.

Domingo, or Dominic, was born 1170 at Calaroga, Spain, and died Aug. 6, 1121, in Bologna.860860    His descent from the noble family of Guzman has been disputed by the Bollandists. of philosophy and theology, and he is said to have excelled as a student. About 1195, he was made canon at Osma, which gives its name to the episcopal diocese, within whose bounds he was born. In 1203 he accompanied his bishop, Diego d’Azeveda, to France861861    Jordanus says, they went ad Marchias, which probably refers to the domain of Hugo of Lusignan, Count de la Marche, and not to Denmark, as often represented. on a mission to secure a bride for the son of Alfonzo VIII. of Castile. This and subsequent journeys across the Pyrenees brought him into contact with the Albigenses and the legates despatched by Innocent III. to take measures to suppress heresy in Southern France. Dominic threw himself into the movement for suppressing heresy and started upon a tour of preaching. At Prouille in the diocese of Toulouse, he erected an asylum for girls to offset the schools established by the Albigenses, for the training of the daughters of impoverished noblemen. He was on intimate terms with Simon de Montfort, but, so far as is known, he took no active part in the Albigensian crusade except as a spiritual adviser.862862    The bull canonizing Dominic says, haereticos caritative ad poenitentiam et conversionem fidei hortabatur, he affectionately exhorted heretics to return to the faith. heretics received the support of Fulke, bishop of Toulouse, who in 1215 granted him one-sixth of the tithes of his diocese. Among the first to ally themselves to Dominic was Peter Cellani, a citizen of Toulouse, who gave him a house.

An epoch in Dominic’s career was his visit in Rome during the sessions of the Fourth Lateran Council, when he received encouragement from Innocent III. who declined to assent to the proposal of a new order and bade him adopt one of the existing monastic constitutions.863863    Potthast, I. 436.c chose the rule of the canons regular of St. Augustine,864864    See Denifle, Archiv, 1885, p. 169, who says that Dominic took as the basis of his rule the rule of the Premonstrants and insists that his followers were canons regular. Denifle was a Dominican, and in his able article gives too much credit to Dominic for originality.ation, and confirmed it in the possession of goods and houses. An unreliable tradition states that Honorius also conferred upon Dominic the important office of Master of the Palace, magister palatii. The office cannot be traced far beyond Gregory IX.865865    This important office according to Echard at first gave to the incumbent the right to fix the meaning of Scripture at the Pontifical court. It has since come to have the duty of comparing all matters with the catholic doctrine before they are presented to the pope, selecting preachers for certain occasions, conferring the doctors’degree, etc. Wetzer-Welte avoids giving offence to the Dominicans by making the ambiguous statement, III. 1934, that Dominicgewissermassen der erste Mag. palatii wurde.

The legendary accounts of his life represent the saint at this time as engaged in endless scourgings and other most rigorous asceticisms. Miracles, even to the raising of the dead, were ascribed to him.

In 1217 Dominic sent out monks to start colonies. The order took quick root in large cities,—Paris, Bologna, and Rome,—the famous professor of canon law at Paris, Reginald, taking its vows. Dominic himself in 1218 established two convents in Spain, one for women in Madrid and one for men at Seville. The first Dominican house in Paris, the convent of St. Jacques, gave the name Jacobins to the Dominicans in France and Jacobites to the party in the French Revolution which held its meetings there. In 1224 St. Jacques had one hundred and twenty inmates. The order had a strong French element and included in its prayers a prayer for the French king. From France, the Dominicans went into Germany. Jordanus and other inmates of St. Jacques were Germans. They quickly established themselves, in spite of episcopal prohibitions and opposition from other orders, in Cologne, Worms, Strassburg, Basel, and other German cities.866866    Hauck, IV. 391-394.867867    At the suppression of the monasteries under Henry VIII., the Dominicans had 68 houses in England (Gasquet, p. 237), or 57 according to Addis and Scannell, Dict., p. 301. great friary in that city.

The first General Chapter was held 1220 in Bologna. Dominic preached with much zeal in Northern Italy. He died, lying on ashes, at Bologna, Aug. 6, 1221, and lies buried there in the convent of St. Nicholas, which has been adorned by the art of Nicholas of Pisa and Michael Angelo. As compared with the speedy papal recognition of Francis and Anthony of Padua, the canonization of the Spanish saint followed tardily, thirteen years after his death, July 13, 1234.868868    Potthast, I. 810.

At the time of Dominic’s death, the preaching friars had sixty convents scattered in the provinces of Provence, Northern France, Spain, Lombardy, Italy, England, Germany, and Hungary, each of which held its own chapter yearly. To these eight provinces, by 1228, four others had been added, Poland, Denmark, Greece, and Jerusalem.869869    See the Constitution of 1228, Denifle, pp. 212, 215. not assumed. At the head of the whole body stands a grand-master.870870    Magister generalis. In 1862 Pius IX. limited his tenure of office to twelve years. Since 1272 he has lived at St. Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.871871    May 16, 1227. See Potthast, I. 684. Denifle makes much of this point, pp. 176-180.ey are not the oldest. They were revised under Raymund de Peñaforte, the third general.872872    Denifle gives the best edition in Archiv for 1885, pp. 193-227.

Mendicancy was made the rule of the order at the first General Chapter, 1220.873873    Denifle, pp. 181 sqq., states that the idea of poverty was in Dominic’s mind before Honorius sanctioned the order, and that it was thoroughly as original with him as it was with Francis. This view seems to be contradicted by the bull of Honorius, 1216, which confirms Dominic and his followers in the possession of goods. Jordanus, c. 27, states that the principle of poverty was adopted that the preachers might be freed from the care of earthly goods, ne predicationis impediretur officium sollicitudine terrenorum. Francis adopted this principle as a means of personal sanctification; Dominic, in order that he and his followers might give themselves up unreservedly to the work of saving souls.nk, renounced all right to possess property. The mendicant feature was, however, never emphasized as among the Franciscans. It was not a matter of conscience with the Dominicans, and the order was never involved in divisions over the question of holding property. The obligation of corporate poverty was wholly removed by Sixtus IV., 1477. Dominic’s last exhortation to his followers was that, they should have love, do humble service, and live in voluntary poverty."874874    Caritatem habete, humilitatem servite, pauperitatem voluntariam possidete. taken much to heart by them.

Unlike the man of Assisi, Dominic did not combine manual labor with the other employments of his monks. For work with their hands he substituted study and preaching. The Dominicans were the first monastics to adopt definite rules of study. When Dominic founded St. Jacques in Paris, and sent seventeen of his order to man that convent, he instructed them to "study and preach." Cells were constructed at Toulouse for study.875875    Denifle, pp. 185 sqq.ology was required before a license was given to preach,876876    Nullus fiat publicus doctor, nisi per 4 annos ad minus theologiam audierit. Const., 1228, II. 30.

Preaching and the saving of souls were defined as the chief aim of the order.877877    Ordo noster specialiter ob praedicationem et animarum salutem ab initio institutus. Prol. to Constitution of 1228. of the order was not study, but that study was most necessary for preaching and the salvation of souls. Study, said another, is ordained for preaching, and preaching for the salvation of men, and this is the final end.878878    Quoted by Denifle, p. 190.tside the cloister until he was twenty-five.879879    Const. II. 31-33.t renowned orator in the nineteenth century. The mission of the Dominicans was predominantly with the upper classes. They represented the patrician element among the orders.

The annals of the Inquisition give to the Dominican order large space. The Dominicans were the most prominent and zealous, "inquisitors of heretical depravity." Dante had this in mind when he characterized Dominic as "Good to his friends, dreadful, to his enemies," "Benigno ai suoi ed ai nimici crudo."880880    Paradiso, XII.

In 1232 the conduct of the Inquisition was largely committed to their care. Northern France, Spain, and Germany fell to their lot.881881    See Potthast, II. 9386, 9388 (Gregory IX., 1284), etc. The Franciscans were made inquisitors in Italy and Southern France. See chapter on the Inquisition.n indelible blot upon the name of the order. The student of history must regard those efforts to maintain the orthodox faith as heartless, even though it may not have occurred to the participants to so consider them. The order’s device, given by Honorius, was a dog bearing a lighted torch in his mouth, the dog to watch, the torch to illuminate the world. The picture in their convent S. Maria Novella, at Florence, represents the place the order came to occupy as hunters of heretics. It portrays dogs dressed in the Dominican colors, black and white, chasing away foxes, which stand for heretics, while pope and emperor, enthroned and surrounded by counsellors, look on with satisfaction at the scene. It was in connection with his effort to exterminate heresy that Dominic founded, in 1220, the "soldiery of Christ," composed of men and women, married and unmarried. Later, the order called itself the Brothers and Sisters of Penitence, or the Third Order, or Tertiaries of St. Dominic. As was the case with the Franciscan Tertiaries, some of them lived a conventual life.

The rosary also had a prominent place in the history of the Dominicans. An untrustworthy tradition assigns to Dominic its first use. During the crusades against the Albigenses, Mary, so the story runs, appeared to Dominic, and bade him use the rosary as a means for the conversion of the heretics. It consists of fifteen pater nosters and one hundred and fifty ave Marias, told off in beads. The Dominicans early became devotees of the rosary, but soon had rivals in the Carmelites for the honor of being the first to introduce it. The notorious Dominican inquisitor and hunter of witches, Jacob Sprenger, founded the first confraternity of the rosary. Pius V. ascribed the victory of Lepanto, 157l, to its use. In recent times Pius IX. and Leo XIII. have been ardent devotees of the rosary. Leo, in his encyclical of Sept. 1, 1883, ascribed its introduction to the great Dominic, as a balm for the wounds of his contemporaries." This encyclical represents Mary as "placed on the highest summit of power and glory in heaven … who is to be besought that, by her intercession, her devout Son may be appeased and softened as to the evils which afflict us."882882    Leo commended the rosary in repeated encyclicals, Aug. 30, 1884, 1891, etc., coupling plenary indulgence for sin with its use. He also ordered the title regina sanctissimi rosarii, "queen of the most holy rosary," inserted into the liturgy of Loreto. On the history of the rosary, see Lea, Hist. of Auric. Conf., III. 484 sqq., and especially the dissertation St. Dominikus und der Rosenkranz, by the Franciscan, Heribert Holzapfel. This writer declares, point blank, that the rosary was not invented nor propagated by Dominic. There is no reference to it in the original Constitution of 1228, which contains detailed prescriptions concerning prayer and the worship of the Virgin, nor in any of the eighteen biographical notices of the thirteenth century. Holzapfel makes the statement, p. 12, that the entire thirteenth and fourteenth centuries know nothing of any association whatsoever of St. Dominic with the rosary. Sixtus IV., 1478, was the first pope to commend the rosary; but Sixtus does not associate it with the name of Dominic. Such association began with Leo X. What has become of the author of this bold denial of the distinct statement of Leo XIII. in his encyclical of ten years before, September, 1883, I do not know. Holzapfel distinctly asserts his opposition to the papal deliverances on the rosary, when he says, p. 37, "High as the regard is in which the Catholic holds the authority of Peter’s successors in religious things, he must be equally on his guard against extending that authority to every possible question." Perhaps Father Holzapfel’s pamphlet points to the existence of a remainder of the hot feeling which used to exist between the Thomists and Scotists.

Leo XIII. paid highest honor to the Dominicans when he pronounced Thomas Aquinas the authoritative teacher of Catholic theology and morals, and the patron of Catholic schools.




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