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Saint Pius V, Pope

Saint Pius V, Pope
  • Century: 16th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: April 30th

St. Pius V, was born Antonio Ghislieri in 1504, in Italy.  He was Pope from 1566 to 1572.  He is most notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman Rite within the Latin Church.  He also declared St. Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church.   As a Cardinal, he gained a reputation for putting Orthodoxy before personalities, and for prosecuting eight French Bishops for heresy.  He also stood firm against wrong doings, even 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 subsidized another nephew from the Papal treasury.  As a Cardinal he knew it was wrong, and didn’t hesitate to let it be known. 

As Pope Pius V, he excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I of England for schism and persecutions of Catholics during her reign.  He formed the Holy League, an alliance of Catholic States, and they defeated the Ottoman Empire.  He attributed this to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and instituting the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  Being born in Milan, he entered the Dominican Order at the age of fourteen.  He was ordained a Priest in 1528, and was sent to Pavia where he lectured for sixteen years.  He was Prior of more than one Dominican Priory during a time of great moral laxity, and insisted on discipline.  He became Bishop and then became a Cardinal.  Under Pope Pius IV, he became Bishop of Mondovi in Piedmont, but his opposition to that Pontiff procured his dismissal.  Before he was allowed to return to Rome, Pope Pius IV died.  On January 7, 1566, he 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, he started to reduce the cost of the Papal court, and put it more in line with the Dominica Order.  He tightened the reigns on all the Churches properties, expelling many immoral practices.  In his wider policy, he was characterized throughout as being effective in cutting wasteful Church spending, enforced the Canons, and decrees of the Council of Trent.  He is remembered for standardizing the Holy Mass by promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal.  He made his Missal mandatory throughout the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, except where a Mass Liturgy dating from before 1370 was in use.  This was done to eradicate the liberal, anti-orthodox movement of his time.   This form of the Mass essentially remained unchanged for over 400 years, until Pope Paul VI’s revision of the Roman Missal in 1969 – 1970, after which it became widely known as the Tridentine Mass. 

Pope Pius V died on May 1, 1572.  A tomb was immediately commissioned from the Sculptor Pierre Le Gros the Younger, to be erected in the Sistine Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.  The Pope’s body was place in it in 1698.  Pope Clement X beatified him in 1672, and was later canonized by Pope Clement XI on May 24, 1712.  His feast day is celebrated on April 30th, the day before the anniversary of his death. 

Practical Take Away

St. Pius V, was born Antonio Ghislieri in 1504, in Italy.  He was Pope from 1566 to 1572.  He is most notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman Rite within the Latin Church.  He also declared St. Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church.   As a Cardinal, he gained a reputation for putting Orthodoxy before personalities, and for prosecuting eight French Bishops for heresy.  He also stood firm against wrong doings, even 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 subsidize another nephew from the Papal treasury.  As a Cardinal he knew it was wrong, and didn’t hesitate to let it be known.  He standardized the Roman Missal, which was used for over 400 years, until 1969 when Pope Paul VI revised it, becoming known as the Tridentine Mass.