Pius V (Pope) (Antonio Ghislieri; 1504–1572; Reigned 1566–1572)

views updated May 21 2018

PIUS V (POPE) (Antonio Ghislieri; 15041572; reigned 15661572)

PIUS V (POPE) (Antonio Ghislieri; 15041572; reigned 15661572), born 17 January 1504 at Bosco Marengo, near Alessandria; elected pope 7 January 1566; died 1 May 1572; beatified 10 May 1672; canonized 22 May 1712. From poor circumstances, Antonio Ghislieri entered the Dominican Order at age fourteen at Voghera and changed his name to Michele. He studied at Bologna and Genoa, was ordained a priest in 1528, and taught philosophy and theology at Pavia until 1544, when he was made inquisitor for Como, and later Bergamo. Noted for austerity, intelligence, independence, incorruptibility, and rigorous fidelity to Roman Catholic orthodoxy, he was appointed to many offices within his order and soon found favor among cardinals urging strong measures to combat the Lutheran heresy in Italy. Appointed high commissioner of the Inquisition in 1551 by Julius III (reigned 15501555), Ghislieri would zealously promote its work until his death, prosecuting persons without respecting social or clerical status or privileges to ensure an Italy purified of heresy. Elected bishop of Sutri and Nepi in 1556 and made prefect of the Palace of the Inquisition, he was made cardinal and appointed Inquisitor General (Grand Inquisitor) of the Roman Church the following year (1557), but removed himself from Rome to the diocese of Mondovi upon the election of Pope Pius IV (reigned 15591565).

Elected pope in 1566 by the faction led by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo (nephew of Pope Pius IV), he set about implementing the decrees of the Council of Trent, demanding that bishops reside in their dioceses and clerics in their ministries and that nuns and regular clergy be cloistered. He reformed many religious orders, and in the Papal States, he rigorously enforced the prohibition against the alienation of ecclesiastical properties. Responding to the Council of Trent's call for a catechism and standard liturgical texts, he had published the Roman Catechism (1566), the revised Roman Breviary (1568), and the Roman Missal (1570), and he set up the Congregation of the Index (1571) to examine books published in Italy. An extreme reformer of morality, he sought to cleanse Rome of blasphemy, cursing, adultery, witchcraft, sodomy, and all vestiges of paganism; he banished prostitution and outlawed bullfighting (without success in Spain). At the same time, he promoted constant preaching, the cult of Mary and the Rosary, and eucharistic devotion. Zealous to maintain a purified religion in the Papal States, Pius restricted Jewish merchants to their quarters at Rome and Ancona, expelling all others. Uncompromising with heretics and championing orthodoxy, he condemned seventy-six theses of Michael Baius (1567), and canonized Thomas Aquinas as the fifth doctor of the Latin Church, also seeing to the publication of his works.

Pius's rigor carried over into foreign affairs. He strongly supported Catherine de Médicis in France against the Huguenots in the Wars of Religion (15621598), but was angered at the tolerance later extended to Huguenots in the Peace of Saint-Germain (1570). He urged Emperor Maximilian II (ruled 15641576) to prosecute heretics vigorously in the empire, but was irate after receiving little satisfaction. He supported the Duke of Alba's efforts in the Netherlands to suppress heresy, but vigorously challenged King Philip II's efforts to exert control over the church in Spain. Other monarchs felt his fury. He ill-advisedly excommunicated and deposed Queen Elizabeth I with the bull Regnans in Excelsis (1570), demanding that Catholic subjects withdraw obedience from her under pain of excommunication; he received little support for this. Pius's unilateral, often counterproductive, actions in foreign affairs seemed to take little account of political realities. Yet he attained success on 7 October 1571: joining his naval forces with Venice and Spain under the command of Don John ofAustria, he brought about the defeat of the Turkish fleet at Lepanto. Pius is said to have had a vision that Christian forces were victorious there. The failure to follow up this victory, however, would later prove a strategic mistake. Pius's remains lie in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

See also Borromeo, Carlo ; Elizabeth I (England) ; Inquisition, Roman ; Lepanto, Battle of ; Papacy and Papal States ; Religious Piety ; Trent, Council of ; Wars of Religion, French .


Lemaître, Nicole. Saint Pie. Paris, 1994.

Pastor, Ludwig von. The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages. Vol. XVII. St. Louis, 1929.

Frederick J. McGinness

Pius V

views updated May 18 2018

Pius V

Pius V (1504-1572) was pope from 1566 to 1572. An austere man, he put the decrees of the Council of Trent into effect and thus occupies a central position in the Catholic Reformation.

Antonio Ghislieri, who became Pius V, was born on Jan. 17, 1504, at Bosco Marengo near Alessandria in northern Italy. He was from a poor family. At 14 years of age Ghislieri entered the Order of Preachers and took the name Michele. He received his higher education as a friar at Bologna. In 1528 he was ordained at Genoa.

For more than 20 years Ghislieri gained a wide breadth of experience as professor of theology, superior in his order, and member of the Inquisition in Pavia, Como, and Bergamo. His dedication to the work of the Inquisition brought him to the attention of officials in Rome, including Giampietro Carafa, the future Pope Paul IV. In 1551 Pope Julius III appointed Ghislieri commissary general of the Roman Inquisition. Under Paul IV, Ghislieri was given greater responsibilities: in 1556 the bishopric of Sutri and Nepi, in 1557 the cardinalate, and in 1558 the post of grand inquisitor of the Roman Church. Pope Pius IV assigned him to the see of Mondovi in 1560. On Jan. 7, 1566, Ghislieri was elected pope and took the name Pius V.

Pius V had a twofold preoccupation: the preservation of the purity of the faith and the advancement of Church reform. He used the Inquisition, although more moderately than Paul IV; severely punished bishops who remained absent from their sees; examined the spiritual tenor of religious orders; implemented the decrees of the Council of Trent; and simplified to the point of austerity the style of life of the papal household. In 1566 Pius V issued the Roman Catechism.

Pius V influenced the liturgical life of the Church in a monumental way. In 1568 he issued the Breviarium Romanum and in 1570 the Missale Romanum, thereby removing the multiplicity of forms in the breviary and in the Mass and creating, with minor exceptions, a liturgical uniformity throughout the Church. In 1567 he made the greatest theologian of his order, St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church.

In his foreign policies Pius V experienced both failure and success. Misjudging the situation in England, he seriously blundered in 1570, when he announced that English Catholics no longer owed allegiance to Queen Elizabeth. His action worsened the situation of England's persecuted Catholics. Against the Turks he was successful. He built up the Holy League and on Oct. 7, 1571, a fleet of Spanish, Venetian, and papal ships defeated the Turkish fleet at Lepanto in the Gulf of Corinth. Pius V died on May 1, 1572. He was canonized in 1712 by the Church.

Further Reading

The best modern comprehensive study of Pius V, though recent research calls for some modifications, is in Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, from the Close of the Middle Ages, vols. 17 and 18, translated by Ralph F. Kerr (1929), with a full bibliography and list of sources. For background consult John P. Dolan, Catholicism: An Historical Survey (1968), and Karl H. Dannenfeldt, The Church of the Renaissance and Reformation (1970).

Additional Sources

Anderson, Robin, St. Pius V, a brief account of his life, times, virtues & miracles, Rockford, Ill.: Tan Books and Publishers, 1978. □