Pope Saint Pius V

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POPE SAINT PIUS V
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POPE SAINT PIUS V STATS
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Name: Antonio (later Michele) Ghislieri
Born: 17 January 1504
Home town: Bosco, Near Alessandria
Died: 1 May 1572
Position: Held Papacy from 7 January 1566 until 1 May 1572
House of: Ghislieri
Nickname:
Personality type: Pious and spiritual.
Hobbies:
Strength(s): Anti-nepotism
Weakness(es):
Quirks: Excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I of England.




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POPE SAINT PIUS V BIO
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At the nineteen day conclave following Pope Pius IV's death the rigorist party led by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo (1538-84) achieved the surprise election of Michele Ghislieri. Born of poor parents on 17 January 1504 at Bosco, Near Alessandria, Antonio Ghislieri was a shepherd until he became a Dominican at fourteen, adopting the name Michele. After studying at Bologna, being ordained (1528), and lecturing for sixteen years at Pavia, he was made Inquisitor for Como and Bergamo. His zeal brought him to the attention of Cardinal Giampietro Carafa, on whose recommendation Pope Julius III appointed him commissary general of the Roman Inquisition in 1551. When Carafa became Pope Paul IV, named his protege Bishop of Nepi and Sutri (1556), Cardinal (1557), and finally Inquisitor General (1558). With Pius IV his intimacy with the Carafa family and severity as Inquisitor brought him into disfavour, but as protector of the Barnabites and Bishop of Mondovi (Piedmont: both since 1560) he devoted himself wholehearted to reforms. His earnestness, asceticism, and evangelical poverty suggested even to the Spanish Ambassador that he was the pope called for by the times.

Pius made it his avowed objective to put into effect, in every sphere, the decrees of the Council of Trent. A man who always thought and acted from a spiritual viewpoint, he made no change in his mortified style of life, continuing to wear a monk's rough undergarments beneath his papal robes. He imposed the strictest standards on his greatly reduced court, and in a series of decrees sought to stamp out blasphemy, profanation of Holy Days, and public immorality in Rome. To contemporaries he seemed to want to turn the city into a monastery. Although prevailed on to make a grand-nephew, the Dominican Michele Bonelli, a cardinal and use him as a Secretary of State, he set his face against nepotism and gave is relatives the minimum support. He forbade (20 March 1567), the reinvestiture of fiefs reverting to the Holy See; any future alienation of land in the Papal State was banned with the severest penalties. More positively, he enforced clerical residence, and conducted a systematic review of religious orders, abolishing some, like the Humiliati (1571), which had become degenerate . The cardinals he named were all conscientiously chosen, and he appointed a commission (3 May 1567) to examine episcopal appointments. In compliance with Trent he published the Roman Catechism (1566), the revised Roman Breviary (1568), and the Roman Missal (1570); he also set up a commission (1569) to revise the Vulgate. He restricted the use of indulgences and dispensations, remodelled the penitential system and in an effort to promote the Tridentine reforms in Italy personally visited the Roman basilicas, arranged for a commission to visit the parishes, and appointed apostolic visitors for the papal states and Naples. He also took steps to have the decrees of the Council of Trent circulated throughout the world as far as Mexico, Goa, and the Congo.

In his eagerness to extirpate heresy Pius relied heavily on the Inquisition, building a new palace for it, sharpening its rules and practice, and personally attending its sessions. Under hm the number of persons accused and sentenced, often men of culture and distinction, soared, and as a result he could congratulate himself on having kept Italy free from any trace of Protestantism. Even so, he blamed himself for his leniency. He was no less harsh on the Jews, permitting some for commercial reasons to live in ghettos in Rome and Ancona, but otherwise expelling them from the papal state. In March 1571 he established the Congregation of the Index as a new administrative department with executive powers, with the result that hundreds of printers fled to Germany and Switzerland. In October 1576 he condemned seventy-nine theses of Michael Baius (1513-89), the Flemish precursor of Jansenism who had pessimistic views on the Fall and the need for grace, but in the same year (11 April) declared the great Dominican thinker Thomas Aquinas (c1225-74), a doctor of the church who had a new edition of his writing published (1570).

Pius's interventions on the international stage often lacked political realism. His rehabilitation of the disgraced Carafa family and his uncompromising stand against state control of the church (expressed in his reissue in a stricter form in 1568 of the bull In coena Domini, read aloud on Maundy Thursday and listing ecclesiastical censures reserved to the pope) alienated the Catholic rulers whose support he needed. Even before his stiffening of its terms, and still more after, the bull was a constant irritant to secular sovereigns, because if its exalted claims for the papacy. His excommunication and purported deposition of Queen Elizabeth I of England (25 February 1570), the last such sentence on a reigning monarch by a pope, was an ineffective anachronism and made matters worse for her Catholic subjects: it also antagonised Spain, France, and the Empire. In France he assisted the regent Catherine de Medici financially and militarily against the Huguenots, only to be disillusioned when they where granted freedom of religion by the Peace of Saint-Germain (8 August 1570). His relations with Maximilian II (1564-76), strained because of his equivocal stance towards Protestantism, reached breaking point when Pius trespassed on the emperor's sphere by nominating Cosimo I as Grand Duke of Tuscany (5 March 1570). With Phillip II of Spain (1556-98), his most natural ally, he continually clashed because of the control exercised over the church by the crown in Spain; complete rupture was avoided only by the tireless efforts of his nuncio, Archbishop Giambattista Castagna (Pope Urban VII). His most ambitious and successful enterprise was the formation, with Venice and Spain, of a Holy League against the Turks; a combined naval force met the Turkish fleet in the Gulf of Corinth on 7 October 1571 and inflicted on it at Lepanto a defeat which shattered Turkish superiority in the Mediterranean. Attributing the victory to the intercession of the BVM, he declared 7 October, the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, later to be changed by Pope Gregory XIII to the Feast of the Rosary.

Single-minded, devout to the point of intolerance, relentless in his persecution of heresy, Pius did not long survive the victory. A great reform pope whose work was to bear fruit for decades and who left a distinctive Tridentine impress on the church, he was beatified on 1 May 1672 by Pope Clement X, canonised on 22 May 1712 by Pope Clement XI. Feast 30 April (formerly 5 May).


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CONTEMPORARY VOICES
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POPE SAINT PIUS V QUOTES
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POPE SAINT PIUS V TRIVIA
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  • 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. However, the veracity of this explanation has been questioned. In Fact, it was his predecessor and the first Dominican friar elected pope, Innocent V, who began to wear white.
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
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BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS WEBSITES & MEDIA

  • The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by JND Kelly
  • St Pius V by Robin Anderson
  • The Popes by John Julius Norwich
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