What future?

Cover design for Did the Saviour see the Father? by Simon Francis Gaine OP

Image reproduced by kind permission of Bloomsbury Continuum

The ‘Fundamental Constitutions’ of the Dominican Order call on it to renew and ‘adapt itself courageously’ in times of ‘accelerating change’ for its ‘fundamental purpose and the way of life which follows from it retain their worth in every age’. What might this mean for the future of Dominican books?

Friars have continued to write theological books produced by mainstream publishers. Bloomsbury brought out in 2015 Did the Saviour see the Father? Christ, salvation, and the vision of God by Fr Simon Gaine, Regent of Blackfriars, Oxford. Yet this is now available as an ‘ebook’ to be read on a tablet or computer. Books generally are becoming more widely available through ‘print on demand’ rather than simply going out of print.

Where the artists and craftsmen of St Dominic’s Press at Ditchling once printed liturgical books for guild members and friars, the friars themselves can now produce their own simple booklets such as liturgical calendars and kyriales using on-line publishing.

In recent years, the Dominican Order has begun to exploit the preaching and teaching opportunities offered by the internet. It offers hundreds of distance learning courses in theology through the International Dominican University (http://www.domuni.eu/en/). The English Province offers weekly sermons on its torch website (http://english.op.org/torch), and its student-friars post blogs on their Godzdogz site (http://godzdogz.op.org/).

In the thirteenth-century the friars’ envisaged a good library as a ‘pipeline’ of divine wisdom coming down from heaven. Whatever the future of publishing, it seems certain that there will be Dominican books to continue the pipeline for the foreseeable future.

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