St. Pius V, Pope

Friends in the Lord, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Catholic Church in Europe was a mess. Laxness and sin and scandal were everywhere: in the priesthood, the monasteries, and even the Papacy. Society itself was very corrupt, and the Church was swimming in it.
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It was in this setting that Martin Luther broke with the Faith in the Protestant Reformation. It is true that Luther and others taught heresies and rejected serious teachings of Christ, but the strength of Protestantism was because of the corruption in the Church.
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So, the Church had to really get down to business and begin reform. There had in fact been a budding, Catholic reform movement for years, and this movement culminated in the Council of Trent, which was even more important than the 2nd Vatican Council.
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The Council of Trent outlined an enormous task of reform, and when the Council ended, then began the difficult task of implementing these reforms; this work largely fell onto the shoulders of Pope Pius V, whose feast is today.
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He had become a Dominican at age 14, then a lecturer in philosophy and theology, and very early, he had become involved in this growing reform movement, which got him noticed. As a bishop, his work in his diocese bore great fruit.
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When he was elected Pope, he announced his clear intention of carrying out the reforms called for by the Council of Trent. Pius V insisted that bishops reside in their diocese; he reformed religious orders, and also established seminaries to properly train priests; before this time there were no seminaries, priests learned on-the-job as sort of an apprentice.
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The Pope held various synods, and he revised the Breviary. Pius V brought unity to divine worship, published catechisms, revised the translation of scripture, and revitalized the study of theology and canon law.
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As if that were not enough, it was during his pontificate, that the Turks threatened war on Europe; Pius V led the Catholic world in prayer of the Rosary, for the victory at Lepanto. It saved Europe from Islam.
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When he was elected Pope, he chose to continue wearing his white, Dominican habit. That tradition continued, and this is the reason that the Pope wears white to this very day.
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As with most big Councils, and as we have seen with Vatican II, lots of turmoil and problems happen afterwards for many years. These same troubles occurred then, and this saddened Pius V to no end, until his death in 1572.
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Pope Pius V teaches us to persevere in our efforts, always trusting in God; though he did not see the fruits of his labor in his lifetime, the reforms did take hold, and they renewed the Church for centuries thereafter.

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