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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Art of the Redemption 4: Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Christ of Saint John of the Cross was painted by the Spanish Surrealist painter, Salvador Dali in 1951 at a time when he was emerging from the strong anti-religious atheism of his youth and was re-embracing the Catholic faith. In my view it contains a lot of religious depth, but space will confine me to offer just a few reflections on how it explores and articulates the redemption. Read more

Preaching in the market place ...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Graham Greene Anniversary 1: The Power and the Glory

Saturday, May 14, 2011
The English novelist Graham Greene died on 3 April 1991. Godzdogz is marking the 20th anniversary of his death with a series of reflections on his novels. Greene was a Catholic, and many of his greatest works deal with 'Catholic' issues. Br Nicholas Crowe opens the series with an account of what many regard as Greene's greatest work. Read more

From the the Field to the Altar...

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Once I had been accepted by the Order, one of the last preparations I made before taking the habit was to retire from international football. Now I imagine both the FAI and FA were slightly surprised by my letter as I have very limited footballing ability and have never even come close to making a school second XI, never mind a nation's. I suppose on one side my actions were self-indulgent cheekiness but on the other hand they were putting aside childish dreams and ambitions. Read more

Saints this Month - 10th May: St Antoninus

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
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'Great houses make not men holy'

Monday, May 09, 2011
See here for an interesting account of the pre-Reformation foundations of Dominicans and Franciscans at Oxford. Read more

Art of the Redemption 3:Josef Žáček, Resurrection

Saturday, May 07, 2011
No artistic representation of the resurrection will ever display the depth and vastness of this central mystery of the faith. As it is impossible to reproduce an illusion of the visible reality of the resurrection, many artists have turned towards an abstract portrayal of Jesus’ victory. Some have argued that the freedom found in abstract art allows them to more fully display the message of the resurrection. Read more

The English Martyrs

Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Today we celebrate the feast of the English Martyrs, and call to mind not only the forty priests, religious and lay men and women canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970, but the further two hundred and forty-two declared ‘blessed’ and those many unknown Catholics who died defending the faith in a period of around 150 years following the Reformation.

Martyrs' Shrine in Leicester
Shrine of the English Martyrs, Holy Cross, Leicester
For most of us practising our faith in this country today, the idea of laying down our lives for the supremacy of the Pope, the unity of the Church, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is a remote concept. True the Church here has its struggles - where does it not - but few of us would worry about persecution unto death and it is for this very reason that today’s feast is of such importance. It reminds us of the selfless sacrifice made by so many that the faith might live in England through the shedding of their blood, and of the continuing sacrifice made by so many in others in less tolerant areas of the world today.

Much has been written on the sufferings of these martyrs; they often endured trials that are difficult for us to dwell upon today and yet their sacrifice was not in vain. Quoting Tertullian, Pope Paul VI in his homily at the canonisation of the forty martyrs wrote; “‘The blood of Christians is the seed that is sown.’ As it was with the shedding of Christ’s own blood, so it is with the sacrificial offering of her Martyrs in union with His: a source of life and of spiritual fecundity for the Church and the entire world.”

As it was then, so it is today; the sacrifice of the martyrs, united to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, goes far beyond the geographical constraints of nation states and the limits of their own time, to provide a rich source of spiritual life and nourishment upon which the Church can draw in times of peace and travail.
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The Beatification of John Paul II

Sunday, May 01, 2011
Cardinal Karol Wojtyła was very much an outside candidate in the October conclave of 1978, so the news of his election as pope was met with great surprise by the world. As it turned out, he was a truly inspirational choice. Being the first non-Italian pope in over 450 years, his style was to be markedly different from what had gone before. Within the first hour of his election, he broke with Vatican protocol by making a speech to the Italian crowds rather than just giving a blessing, despite a member of the Roman Curia beckoning him to bring his speech to an end. In that opening speech he said: Read more
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