Updated: May 1
Saint Pius V
30 April 2020 / Ave Maria Parish Live Stream
Romanus Cessario, O.P.
Today’s feast brings to a conclusion a triduum of Dominican saints. On Tuesday, we celebrated Louis Mary Grignion de Montfort, a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, as it was known at the time. His devotion to Mary still enlivens many. Ad Jesum per Mariam. Yesterday, the whole Church observed the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, a valiant woman whose love for Christ inspired her to give wise counsel to others, especially those who struggled with sins and temptations. Today brings the Dominican Pope, Michele Ghislieri, who took the name Pius V. His short reign between 1566 and 1572 witnessed many accomplishments. In a word, Pius V enacted the reforms and inaugurated the institutions that prompted the flourishing of Catholicism after the Council of Trent.
Of his many accomplishments, two seem apt for Ave Maria Parish. The first includes his reform of the Sacred Liturgy. Pius realized that the unity of the Church required that clerics throughout the world uniformly celebrate the Sacred Liturgy. The many local practices that had developed over centuries would not ensure the Church’s unity at the beginning of the modern period. The Church still honors this intuition of Pius V. She instructs her priests to follow the rubrics and the words set down in the Roman Missal and requires the lay faithful to participate according to the norms set down by the Church.
The second reform develops from the publication, ordered by Pope Pius V, of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. This intuition ensured a unity not only of practice but also of doctrine. He wanted the whole Church to learn from a single, organized source book. The present Catechism of the Catholic Church stands in continuity with its sixteenth–century predecessor, but with the addition of those things that a living Tradition has since brought to the fore. Much that the Church relies on today and builds on today owes its foundation to Pope Pius’ Catechism.
There are many other things that this saintly man accomplished during his short reign. The battle of Lepanto occupies a place in history books. The Ottoman prince, Selim II, famously and presciently remarked that he feared the prayers of the holy Pontiff more than his fleet. Thanks to Our Lady’s protection, the armies of Catholic Europe under the Pope’s encouragement saved an expansion of Ottoman rule that would have proven disastrous for the Christian West.
Today then invoke Pope Saint Pius V and ask for the grace to observe carefully what pertains to the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, to return to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a refresher course on what the Church holds as a norm of faith, and lastly, ask Our Blessed Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, to protect us from the invisible enemy that today threatens wide swaths of the Catholic world.