Godzdogz

Godzdogz

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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Scorsese's Silence and the example of St Paul Miki and Companions

Monday, February 06, 2017

Today we celebrate the martyrdom of St Paul Miki and Companions, twenty-six among the thousands of Japanese martyrs. Their courage, fidelity, and unrelenting love of Christ even to the point of death are an example to us all. On the Feast of these martyrs, my usual feelings, of concern for what I would do in the same position and admiration for what these martyrs did in fact do, have been made particularly acute by Martin Scorsese's film Silence, and all the conversation it has generated. Read more

Book launch

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

News Yesterday, Blackfriars Hall hosted the book launch of two publications by Dominican friars of the Province of England. Read more

Confessing to Bond: a Review of Spectre

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

There are some powerful themes that touch upon religious ideas in the 24th James Bond movie Spectre. In this review I would like to explore three themes that struck me while watching the movie the other day with my some of my Dominican brothers. Read more

Book Review: Radical Discipleship by Francis Cardinal Arinze

Monday, July 13, 2015
In our Consecrated Life series we have been looking at numerous aspects of this way of life through a Dominican lens. It is always helpful, however, to have another perspective and in his excellent book, Radical Discipleship – Consecrated Life and the Call to Holiness, Francis Cardinal Arinze distils the fruits of decades of experience as Bishop, Archbishop and Cardinal, in which time he has visited and encountered countless religious and their communities from a multitude of congregations and orders. Drawing upon this experience he seeks to give us something of what is fundamental to all modes of the life and thus to examine the very heart of what it means to live the consecrated life. Read more

Book Review: Aquinas at Prayer, by Paul Murray OP

Thursday, March 05, 2015

St Thomas Aquinas: Doctor of the Church, scholastic theologian and philosopher, piercing intellect, synthesiser of Aristotle and Christianity . . . so far, so good . . . but the addition of the descriptions mystic, poet, and contemplative might cause some to raise an eyebrow. In his survey of Aquinas both at prayer and on prayer, Paul Murray seeks to show us that the latter descriptions of Aquinas are just as applicable as the first set. Read more

Recommended books for Lent 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Here are some books which the Godzdogz Team has found nourishing spiritual reading. Do share your own ideas with us, and let us know if you found any of these helpful this Lent! Read more

Las Casas Lecture by Jean-Jacques Perennes OP - "the message of the martyrs of Algeria", and a reflection on the film Of Gods and Men

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Witness of the Gospel in a world of violence: the message of the martyrs of Algeria Read more

What would St Thomas make of Pleasantville?

Monday, January 30, 2012
I recently saw the film Pleasantville for the first time. It's about two 1990's teenagers, David and Jennifer, who are magically transported into a 1950's sitcom called Pleasantville where they are forced to play the characters Bud and Mary Sue. In Pleasantville, everyone is pleasant to each other, it never rains, and the school basketball team never lose a game. But there's a catch. Pleasantville is very dull. It's literally in black and white. There's no art, no books, no sex, no creativity. That is, until David (Bud) and Jennifer (Mary Sue) are transported into this world.

Now the film has some very positive aspects. The film is beautifully made; as colour, joy and passion comes into this world, it really draws our attention to the beauty of creation, and to how we so often fail to recognise this beauty. Surely St Thomas would appreciate this aspect of the film. But what I think St Thomas would strongly object to is the attempt to retell the Adam and Eve story. Before David (Bud) and Jennifer (Mary Sue) were transported into Pleasantville, it was an ordered world of innocence, dull but nice. There are enough hints to suggest that this is how we are to think of the Garden of Eden.


At one point, a beautiful girl offers Bud (David) a nice red apple, and it is at this moment he realises that all this beauty and colour that is beginning to come into this world cannot coexist without evil. What is happening is a kind of felix culpa, a happy fault. Now for St Thomas, this retelling of the Genesis story just wouldn't hang together. St Thomas believed that before the Fall, the garden would have been very beautiful, Adam and Eve would have had passions, they would have had sex, and in fact, their joy and appreciation of creation would have been much more intense than it is now:
sensible delight would have been the greater in proportion to the greater purity of nature and the greater sensibility of the body (ST 1a,q98 a.2)
When this foreign element of sin came into their world, it dulled their senses, they became repressed and the world became a less delightful place. The Fall of Man wasn't a happy fault because it brought colour into our world, but because it merited such and so great a Redeemer. Read more

Film Review: Black Swan

Saturday, February 26, 2011
With the Academy Awards coming up, Godzdogz will be having a look at some of films that have been nominated. Read more

Film Review: True Grit (2010)

Thursday, February 24, 2011
With the Academy Awards coming up, Godzdogz will be having a look at some of films that have been nominated. Read more
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