Dominican Life | USA

Dominic reading

Being Dominican

Preaching Resources

Justice and Peace

Faith and Film

Links to Groups

Latin America

Can't open PDF format files? Click on the link below and download the latest Adobe Reader. It is safe and secure and free. Really.

Preaching Justice: Dominican Contributions to Social Ethics in the Twentieth Century

Charles W. Dahm, OP (St. Albert)
North American Co-Promoter of Peace and Justice

Preaching JusticeThis book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the concrete application of Catholic social doctrine in different periods and situations in the twentieth century. And for those interested in Dominican history, the book is truly a treasure.  The editors selected seventeen Dominican men mostly from Europe as well as four national Dominican groups, namely Brazilians, British, Germans and Croatians, who have provided intellectual and pastoral leadership in developing social ethics and prophetic preaching of the Gospel in word and action in the unique circumstances of their time and place. While some were more theoreticians than practitioners and others just the reverse, all reflect the Dominican commitment to theological reflection upon action in the world.   

Because each chapter is written by a different contributor, the chapters represent different styles and preferences for the subjects studied.  While this diversity of approach might provide some unevenness in quality, it does offer interesting differences of perspective. 

In each chapter, the reader benefits from a brief review of the historical conditions in which the Dominican was active as well as a short biography of the Friar.  Many will undoubtedly wonder why certain notable Dominicans are missing.  Unfortunately, not all the articles commissioned were received.  Thus, the significant contributions of Marie Dominique Chenu and other French Dominicans, especially those involved in the workers’ movement, are missing. 

The book would have benefited greatly from the inclusion of some Dominican women, but the editors believe that a separate volume, which they plan for the future, will address the sisters’ unique contributions and better do them justice. The book’s focus is primarily on European Dominican Friars (included are only two from the United States, and one each from Canada and South Africa); undoubtedly, the collection would have been enriched with representatives from other areas of the world.  Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian and a more recent Dominican, is thankfully present in his valuable preface to the work. However, the volume already is 501 pages and adding more Dominicans may have made the text exceeding long and significantly more expensive.

Throughout the book, certain traditional themes of Catholic social teaching are emphasized, such as peace, solidarity, work, humanized economics, and structural sin – all topics of great importance for today’s church and world.  Reading about the courageous and enlightened contributions of these Dominicans should instill pride in all Dominicans as well as motivate us to speak the prophetic truth of the Gospel in our own day.

Charles W. Dahm, OP (St. Albert)
North American Co-Promoter of Peace and Justice

Interview With Dominican Sister Helen Alford, OP

link to publisher

Preaching Justice: Dominican Contributions to Social Ethics in the Twentieth
Century, edited by Francesco Companoni, O.P. and Helen Alford, OP Dublin: Dominican Publictions, 2007.

Since the time of St Dominic, more than 800 years ago, Dominicans have been living and sharing the message of the Gospel. Today thousands of sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity serve in more than 100 countries around the globe.
subscribe to Dominican Life | USA and receive a free email update every two weeks. unsubscribe