THE PRIOR Provincial, of the Dominicans, Fr. Edmund Nantes, O.P., urged Thomasians to become agents of change in light of the country’s deteriorating economic and political situation.

“Shine, illumine the darkest corners of the country,” he said in a mass in honor of St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers, last Aug. 5.

Nantes, who is the ex officio vice grand chancellor of UST, lamented that the nation seemed to go downhill despite having a number of Catholic educational institutions.

“The (country’s condition) has not improved despite the production of graduates of Catholic educational institutions,” Nantes said, explaining there was a problem of translating Church teachings and Catholic values in action.

Nantes lauded the University’s firm commitment to community development, citing the various programs of the faculties and colleges. But he pointed out that academic excellence must remain the University’s priority.

Nantes also said that with the prevalence of negative reports in the media today, “good news is what the country is longing for.” The situation could be likened to the 13th century, when St. Dominic battled heresies or “bad news.”

“St. Dominic refused to be conquered by the bad news,” Nantes said. “He preached the Good News to show that God has not abandoned this world.”

Nantes added that St. Dominic refused to resort to violent means to quell heretics, unlike some of his fellows in the Albigensian crusade.

The Church tagged the Albigensian movement a heresy for its pessimism: it taught followers that the human body was evil.

After Pope Innocent III called for crusades to crush the growing number of heretics in Europe, St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers in 1216.

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Since St. Dominic believed that the rise of heresy could be blamed on the illiteracy and the bad lifestyle of the clergy, he sought to form a band of preachers who would devote their life to study of the natural and tehological sciences as well as live the life of simplicity and poverty.

Together with St. Francis of Assisi, who formed the Order of Friar Minors (Franciscans), St. Dominic reformed the Church and contributed to the greatness of the Middle Ages.

Today, there are 6,000 Dominican priests and brothers aside from tens of thousands of Dominican Sisters, nuns, and laymen, the Domincans are considered one of the greatest orders of the Church.

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