Wednesday, April 30, 2014

St. Pius V, Pope

Happy Feast of St. Pius V, Pope!

Pope Pius V was head of the Catholic Church from 1566-1572 and a leader of the Catholic Reformation.  He was born to a poor Italian family and was a shepherd until he joined the Dominicans at he age of 14.  He taught theology and philosophy for 16 years before becoming master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses.  He was named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, but fulfilled his position so well, he was named commissary general of the Inquisition  in 1551.  He quickly rose to bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, grand inquisitor in 1558, and on January 7, 1566 elected Pope.  As Pope, he saw him main objective as continuing to reform the church, specifically full implementation of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal (I think we are ALL grateful for these!).  He declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, commanded a new edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas, ans created a commission to revise the Vulgate.  The decrees of Trent were published throughout all Catholic lands and the Pope insisted on strict adherence.  In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index (what the index iswhat is on itliberal view of what is on it) to give help with the Church's resistance to Protestant and heretical writings and used the Inquisition to keep Protestant ideas from spreading in Italy.  There was a threat beyond the Protestants, the Ottoman Turks were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean.  Pius V organized an alliance between Benice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete triumph over the Turks--the Feast Day for Our Lady of Victory was established on this day to recognizer Our Lady's intercession in answer to the Rosary being said all over Catholic Europe.  Pius led reforms of the Church by example.  For example, he wore his coarse Dominican robed, even underneath his papal vestments and devoted himself wholeheartedly to the religious life.  Only the Inquisition's oppression was left as a blemish on his papacy, often Jews of Rome were brutally treated; and the excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

I am so happy to be learning about a pope and a saint today, just a few days after 2 popes were canonized as saints.  How amazing is our church?  To have a succession of leaders that you can follow all of the way to Jesus' instillation of Peter.  I think that is one of the most amazing things about the Catholic Church.  Maybe I should insert here the reasons I converted to Catholicism, it really has nothing to do with St. Pius V, or maybe it has everything to do with him and his Reformation of the Church.  I was raised Methodist, by a mom who has a long, long line of Methodists in her family.  My dad was Catholic, but disliked the Latin (and later Spanish) that was spoken in his church (from what I understand that was his main grump about the church).  I was blessed to have Catholic God Parents.  They were amazing!  I loved to spend the night at their house, where a small shrine was in their bedroom and we prayed at night.  That moment in the evening felt like home to me.  They were a wonderful example of marriage and family, but also a wonderful example of Christ's light given to others.  Their faith was amazing and I always wanted more of it.  Going to mass with them or with my grandpa (Dad's Dad) was always a highlight.  Granted their mass was still in Spanish, but I was drawn in by the consistency of the service, I didn't know what they said, but when I went often I could follow along and it was comfortable.  You could always feel the Holy Spirit in the room--ALWAYS--even when I was young, it just felt different than church services at my church.  Then I met a Catholic man, and honestly, I was hoping beyond anything he would insist that I become Catholic before our marriage, but he didn't and we were married Methodist and did the church shuffle the first several years of our marriage.  It wasn't until and wonderful Catholic Priest came into our lives, and started praying for us, that everything changed and I converted.  I don't know that I would have wanted it any other way though.  The Holy Spirit was able to come into both of our lives at one time and change our whole family (children included, there were 2 before I converted).  So, thank you Pope Pius V, thank you to all of the Popes before and after who have led and guided our church through both good and bad times.  And thank you to all of the priests, and religious, who guide and have guided the flock constantly and consistently throughout the years.
(note:  I borrowed the images.  The top one is from another blog, source listed under it (the quote and picture together say it all!) and the image of the tomb is from Wikipedia (what can I say, I'm have not been blessed enough to go visit day!)

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