Monday, April 30, 2012

Pope Saint Pius V

Pope Saint Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislieri (from 1518 called Michele Ghislieri, O.P.), was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church. Pius V declared saint Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church and patronized prominent sacred music composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

As Cardinal, Ghislieri gained a reputation for putting orthodoxy before personalities, prosecuting eight French Bishops for heresy. He also stood firm against nepotism, rebuking his predecessor Pope Pius IV to his face when he wanted to make a 13-year old member of his family a cardinal and subsidise a nephew from the Papal treasury.

In affairs of state, Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I of England for schism and persecutions of English Catholics during her reign. He also arranged the formation of the Holy League, an alliance of Catholic states. Although outnumbered, the Holy League famously defeated the Ottomans, who had threatened to overrun Europe, at the Battle of Lepanto. This victory Pius V attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and instituted the feast, Our Lady of Victory.

Before Michele Ghislieri could return to his episcopate, Pope Pius IV died. On 7 January 1566, Ghislieri was elected to the Papal chair as Pope Pius V. He was crowned ten days later, on his 62nd birthday.

Aware of the necessity of restoring discipline and morality at Rome to ensure success without, he at once proceeded to reduce the cost of the papal court after the manner of the Dominican Order to which he belonged, compel residence among the clergy, regulate inns, expel prostitutes, and assert the importance of the ceremonial in general and the liturgy of the Mass in particular. In his wider policy, which was characterised throughout by an effective stringency, the maintenance and increase of the efficacy of the Inquisition and the enforcement of the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent had precedence over other considerations.

Accordingly, in order to implement a decision of that council, he standardised the Holy Mass by promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal. Pope Pius V made this Missal mandatory throughout the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, except where a Mass liturgy dating from before 1370 AD was in use. This form of the Mass remained essentially unchanged for 400 years until Pope Paul VI's revision of the Roman Missal in 1969–70, after which it has become widely known as the Tridentine Mass; use of the last pre-1969 edition of the Missal, that by Pope John XXIII in 1962, is permitted without limitation for private celebration of the Mass and, since July 2007, is allowed also, under certain conditions, for public use, as laid down in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI. Some continue to use even earlier editions, but without authorisation.

St Pius V recognized attacks on papal supremacy in the Catholic Church and was desirous of limiting their advancement. In France, where his influence was stronger, he took several measures to oppose the Protestant Huguenots. He directed the dismissal of Cardinal Odet de Coligny and seven bishops, nullified the royal edict tolerating the extramural services of the Reformers, introduced the Roman catechism, restored papal discipline, and strenuously opposed all compromise with the Huguenot nobility.

In the list of more important bulls issued by him the famous bull "In Coena Domini" (1568) takes a leading place; but amongst others throwing light on Pope Pius V's character and policy there may be mentioned his prohibition of quaestuary (February 1567 and January 1570); the condemnation of Michael Baius, the heretical Professor of Leuven (1567); the reform of the breviary (July 1568); the denunciation of the "dirum nefas" (August 1568); the banishment of the Jews from the ecclesiastical dominions except Rome and Ancona (1569); the injunction of the use of the reformed missal (July 1570); the confirmation of the privileges of the Society of Crusaders for the protection of the Inquisition (October 1570); the dogmatic certainty of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (November 1570); the suppression of the Fratres Humiliati for profligacy (February 1571); the approbation of the new office of the Blessed Virgin (March 1571); the enforcement of the daily recitation of the Canonical Hours (September 1571); and the purchase of assistance against the Turks by offers of plenary pardon (March 1572).

Katherine Rinne says in the book Waters of Rome Pius V also ordered public constructions to improve water supply and sewer of Rome.

His response to the Queen Elizabeth I of England assuming governance of the Church of England included support of the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, and her supporters in their attempts to take over England "ex turpissima muliebris libidinis servitute". A brief English Catholic uprising, the Rising of the North, had just failed. Pius then issued a bull, Regnans in Excelsis, dated April 27, 1570, that declared Elizabeth I a heretic and released her subjects from their allegiance to her. In response, Elizabeth, who had thus far tolerated Catholic worship in private, now actively started persecuting them.

Saint Pius V arranged the forming of the Holy League against the Islamic Turks, as the result of which the Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571) was won by the combined fleet under Don John of Austria. It is attested in his canonisation that he miraculously knew when the battle was over, himself being in Rome at the time. Three national synods were held during his pontificate at Naples under Alfonso Cardinal Caraffa (whose family had, after inquiry, been reinstated by Pius V), at Milan under Saint Charles Borromeo, and at Machim.

Pius V is also often credited with the origin of the Pope's white garments, which supposedly originated because after this election Pius refused to replace his white Dominican habit with the red commonly worn by Popes and Cardinals at the time.

April 30 Feast Days:

* St. Adjutor
* St. Joseph Cottolengo
* St. Ajuture
* St. Aimo
* St. Aphrodisius
* St. Cynwl
* St. Desideratus
* St. Donatus of Evorea
* St. Eutropius
* St. Forannan
* Bl. Francis Dickenson
* St. Gerard Miles
* St. Lawrence of Novara
* St. Louis von Bruck
* St. Marianus
* St. Maximus of Rome
* Bl. Miles Gerard
* St. Pius V, Pope
* St. Pomponius of Naples

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