MANILA, June 11, 2014—One thing best defines the Order of Preachers (OP): obedience to the Pope and the Church.
And lawyer Marwill N. Llasos, himself a Dominican, could not agree more.
In a formation talk he delivered Sunday, June 8, to the Company of Saint Dominic in Sampaloc, he detailed how the Dominicans’ nearly blind loyalty to what the Lord lived and died for finds expression in various areas of the faith.
‘Hounds of the Lord’
The Dominicans, he said, have always stood by the Bishop of Rome, and their orthodoxy has earned them the nickname “hounds of the Lord”.
Llasos, who is also a renowned Catholic apologist, shared that only members of their community are given the privilege of becoming the “theologian to the papal household”, an honor they have held for centuries.
In this capacity, Dominican priest Mario Luigi Ciappi served five successive pontiffs: Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II.
Dominicans defended the Church against all forms of heresies, most remarkably during the “Albigensian revolt” of the Middle Ages.
They also refined Catholic theology. Llasos takes pride that his Order has produced some of the sharpest minds the world has seen.
They were talented men and women who had selflessly put their intellects at the service of the Church, he noted.
Foremost among these geniuses, he stressed, is St. Thomas Aquinas, the “Angelic Doctor”, who, in his as yet unsurpassed “Summa Theologiae”, harmonized the Judeo-Christian belief in One God with Aristotelian reason, seeing no real discrepancy between the two.
Equally brilliant were the martyr St. Peter of Verona; the stigmatists Sts. Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Ricci; Bl. Alvarez of Córdoba; St. Albert the Great, the “walking encyclopedia” of his day and teacher to the “Dumb Ox” St. Thomas; Bl. Henry Suso; and St. Dominic of Guzman himself, OP’s founding father.
Llasos pointed out that the obedience of Dominicans, which critics may find faulty, often place them at the center of controversy, at least, from a historical standpoint.
He lamented that the reputation of the Holy Office (Inquisition), an institution that had noble intentions, with the Dominicans handpicked to preside over it, had become blackened by anti-Catholic propaganda.
Recent studies, however, reveal that the Inquisition was not as bad as it had been made out to be.
Archival documents prove that Inquisition prisons were ahead of their time compared to secular ones.
Less familiarly, Dominicans introduced devotions many of the faithful mistakenly assume to be non-Dominican in origin like those of the Sacred Heart, the Five Wounds, the Holy Name, the Pierced Heart, the Way of the Cross, and others. (Raymond A. Sebastián)