Back in 2012 the student brothers of St. Dominic Priory launched a preaching project called “Vox Clamantis: Dominican Voices on Social Justice in the Contemporary World.” The project was to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the preaching of our brother Antonio de Montesinos, who preached against the abuse of native peoples on the island of Hispaniola. The friars dealt with topics related to the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
Little did we know that Vox Clamantis would become the most viewed content on Preaching Friars. Over the last few years it has received thousands of hits. Vox Clamantis was meeting a need, but why? Perhaps it is because Catholic Social Teaching is frequently called the Church’s “Best Kept Secret.” Of course we say this in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. Catholic Social Teaching offers a treasure of wisdom regarding how human beings should organize society, provide for the poor and marginalized, and respond to the challenges of our contemporary world.
In 2014 several of the friars took a course at Aquinas Institute of Theology, the center for institutional studies for the provinces of St. Albert the Great (Central) and St. Martin de Porres (Southern). The course, taught by Fr. Leo Almazan, O.P., was called “Catholic Social Teaching,” and dealt with each of these principles in depth. I can honestly say it was one of the best courses that I have taken during my years of initial formation.
As Preaching Friars reflected back on the impact that Vox Clamantis has had, we decided it was time to use some of what we had learned in class to expand the Vox Clamantis project. Over the next several months we will explore the principles of Catholic Social Teaching from numerous perspectives: the scriptures, the Church Fathers, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church’s Tradition, etc. We firmly believe that if Catholics truly understood, believed, and lived the Church’s social teachings, our society and world would be far more just. It is in this spirit that we offer this project to the Universal Church so that Catholic Social Teaching will no longer be a secret, but will help all of us to love God and neighbor better.
Br. Brent Bowen, OP