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  /    /  History 8: Dominicans in the 21st Century

History 8: Dominicans in the 21st Century

New directions

The 21st century has so far been a time of renewal for the Dominicans. A clearer sense has emerged of our identity and purpose, and indeed the particular purpose of each priory.

Through communications technology, our outreach has become more global: starting with the Torch weekly homily service and the blog of the student brothers, Godzdogz, the friars are now becoming more skilled in audio and video output, as well as in livestreaming liturgies and talks.

Today’s Mission

Today, the Dominicans in Britain:

Serve the local church

  • In 5 parish churches or public chapels, serving London, Oxford, Cambridge, Leicester, and Edinburgh.
  • In 8 UK universities through their chaplaincy work, developing the adult faith of students to sustain their future life.
  • In 3 UK prisons and 3 hospitals.

Preach with faith and reason

  • By publishing books, giving public talks, lectures and debates. The Friars have a considerable output, promoting an intelligent engagement with the Catholic faith at all levels.
  • Through the Las Casas Institute and the Aquinas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, which promote critical reflection on contemporary questions relating to human dignity in the light of Catholic Social Teaching and theology, and perennial questions of human identity and how we relate to God and each other.

Educate and train the next generation

  • Through Blackfriars Hall, a Permanent Private Hall within Oxford University. This brings excellence in teaching and research on Catholic theology and philosophy into the heart of this renowned university.
  • Through the teaching offered at Blackfriars Studium to priests-in-training and members of religious orders from all over the world.

The Future

The eve of our 2021 Jubilee Year saw one of the most unprecedented peacetime disruptions to the modern world as we know it, the Covid-19 crisis, providing a timely reminder of the precariousness of all things. This is of course a lesson that we have learnt repeatedly across the centuries of its existence: prosperity and properties have come and gone, security has been found and then lost, eager novices have joined us and old men have faded away. Nonetheless, the mission has endured and will endure from generation to generation: founded on the Dominican ethos, and formed by the Spirit to respond to the challenges of each age.

In the coming years, new moral and philosophical problems will surely arise, as the world grapples with the latest fruits of our fallen nature, be they in the areas of biosecurity, or digital identities, or ‘upgrading’ the human genome. And as always, the Dominicans will respond, with one eye on our intellectual heritage, and the other on the people we care for – committed to upholding human dignity, to caring for the vulnerable, and above all to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.