Thursday, December 14, 2006

Origins of the Dominican Third Order

I have finished transcribing Chapter 16 (of 18) of Henri Lacordaire's Life of St. Dominic, which speaks of the creation of the Third Order.

Lacordaire's use of the term "Third Order" is not a relationship of hierarchy, but of time; it was the 3rd distinct "Order" established by St. Dominic!

With all the effort to do away with traditional language, this came as sort of a "duh" moment...


  1. Mark,

    "effort to do away with traditional language."

    I'm a "tertiary" back here in Pennsylvania. My family and I (I'm 44) attend our diocesan indult Mass exclusively. In other words, I'm pretty traditional myself, and thus much disturbed at this effort to suddenly comply with an order from (1987, wasn't it?) to now call ourselves "The Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic" after 700 years of being the "Third Order of St. Dominic." Personally I find it a tad pedantic, especially given the Holy Father's sympathy toward things traditional. It seems to me this is an effort by folks who seem to see the writing on the wall.

    Wasn't it enough to move the feasts of St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Rose of Lima?

    I'm interested - what's your opinion?

    Also, I've read the stories you've posted of your life story. My heart goes out to you, my friend. You'll be remembered in my Rosary when I turn in tonight, not to mention the soul of your dear wife.

    Yours in Dominic and Catherine

  2. Jon,

    Your thoughts are quite similar to mine on the subject of terms, which is the subject of an ongoing debate here it the Western Province as well.

    The Third Order is what we are part of, the substance, if you will, and the accidental is the Lay Fraternity. To confuse the two is to do a disservice to all the Dominican Tertiaries who were not members of "Lay Fraternities," chief among whom were Ss. Catherine of Sienna, Rose of Lima (I'm currently transcribing ch 20 of the 18th century book), Bl. Margaret of Castello, and Pope Pius V, not to mention popes Benedict XV and Pius XII!

    the local form of governance is not the same thing as the branch of the Order to which we all belong. The blurring of distinction, which seems so prized by some, I find hard to understand. You would think that they would appreciate the diversity of ways to live the Dominican charism within the Order.