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May 5, 2023
Feast of Pope St. Pius V
Dear Friends of Catholic Tradition,
May is a month full of celebrations and devotional opportunities. The feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost will occur within this month. The entire month is dedicated to our Blessed Mother and many churches will hold May crownings and processions in her honor. May 13 marks the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. The month is crowed with the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady (May 31). Yet, there is a very important feast that seems placed on the liturgical calendar specifically for our times.
May 5 is the Feast of Pope St. Pius V. We have been chosen by God to live in a time in Church history when the authorities of the Church, including the supreme authority on earth, have been infiltrated and turned against the Church. Particularly under Pope Francis, things have become so dire that we may be at a loss regarding that for which we should pray. Pope St. Pius V, the last pope to be canonized until Pope St. Pius X (who lived about 450 years after his namesake), is a model for the type of pope the Church needs in our crisis. As such, we can simply pray that Our Lord will send us another Pope St. Pius V.
Born as Antonio Ghislieri, Pius V understood that the restoration of the Church could only be achieved if it were relentlessly pursued on three related levels: doctrine, liturgy, and moral practice. The sixteenth century in which Ghislieri lived was a torrent of doctrinal confusion and error. The heretical Protestant sects had thrown almost every aspect of Catholic doctrine into confusion. Pius V knew that doctrinal clarity was absolutely necessary. He was a Dominican dedicated to the perennial teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and served as an inquisitor before his election to the papal throne. He commissioned the first publication of the complete works of St. Thomas and ordered the publication of the Catechism of the Council of Trent (Roman Catechism).
Yet, Pius V knew that doctrine needed to be supported by praxis, both liturgical and moral. He therefore stabilized and “canonized” the Roman Rite to provide liturgical certainty. Contrary to Modernist mischaracterizations, Pius V did not promulgate a new Roman Rite of Mass. He suppressed novel innovations that had crept into liturgy, particularly during the Protestant revolt. He preserved and standardized the ancient Roman Rite. Finally, he enacted extensive disciplinary measures to fight moral decay and corruption. He put an end to the Renaissance Popes’ toleration of moral laxity. Before becoming Pope, he resisted Pius IV to his face when he wanted to promote a juvenile family member to the College of Cardinals. He prosecuted clerical and lay moral offenses with vigor. The three areas of his papal restoration are precisely what is needed in our crisis of doctrine, liturgy, and moral decay.
Let us pray and sacrifice in our Easter joy that God will deign to send us another Pope St. Pius V to take up the reigns of the supreme authority and enact a similar program of restoration. His outstanding papacy stands as a reminder in our dark days that the Church is Christ’s and He will select the instrument of her Resurrection. We must not let the antics in the Roman offices discourage our faith and hope that this will be so.
Until the day that such a pope ascends the papal throne, we humbly ask your support to carry on our apostolate in order to keep the flame of Tradition burning brightly. Your prayers, comments, encouragement, and subscriptions are deeply appreciated (click HERE to subscribe or renew your subscription).
St. Pius V, pray for us!
In Christ the King,
Brian M. McCall