WDTPRS: St. Pius V, Pope

Deus, qui in Ecclesia tua beatum Pium papam
ad fidem tuendam ac te dignius colendum
providus excitasti,
da nobis, ipso intercedente,
vivida fide ac fructuosa caritate
mysteriorum tuorum esse participes

The serviceable Lewis & Short reminds us how complicated colo is.  First, don’t confuse colo with colo.  Colo, with a long first o, is 1st conjugation, colo, colareColo, with a short first o, is 3rd conjugation and has the principle parts colo, colui, cultum.  Whence come the English words "cultivate" and "cult", agricultural and religious terms.  The Latin word reveals the most ancient… er… roots of religion in the cultivation of the land.  Our colo means not only "to cultivate, till, tend, take  care of a field, garden, etc." as well as "to regard one with care, i. e. to honor, revere, reverence, worship, etc.".  The meanings converge in phrases such as "colere aliquem locum, to frequent, cherish, care for, protect, be the guardian of, said of places where [the gods] were worshipped, had temples, etc."

Fructuosa "abounding in fruit, fruitful, productive, profitable, advantageous" comes from one of famous set of verbs which is contrued with an ablative that functions rather like an object, the deponent fruor.  People who are interested in studying Pope John Paul II’s "theology of the body" will know the contrast between fruor "to have the use and enjoyment" of something and utor, which is "use".  John Paul used these verbs to explain the difference between "using" another person as an object or respecting the dignity of another and still having the enjoyment of them as subjects of their own actions.  Here the "fruitful" of fructuosa is linked with caritas, "charity", which is the theological virtue which reflects the sacrificial love Christ exemplified on the Cross.  Christ’s sacrificial love is the most fruitful of all.  My mind drifts on this current to the phrase of Caesarius of Arles: "O crux beata, et beatos efficiens! o crux, cuius tantus ac talis decerpitur fructus! fructus autem crucis, gloriae est resurrectio."

Vividus is "containing life, living, animated; full of life, lively, vigorous, vivid".

O God, who, provident, 
raised up in Your Church blessed Pope Pius
in order to defend the faith and and You be more worthily worshiped,
grant us, he interceding,
with a lively faith and fruitful charity.
to be participants of Your mysteries

The phrase ad tuendam fidem should strike you as familiar.  This is also a title of a document from Pope John Paul by which he inserted some canons into the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  He required that those who accept offices make a profession of Catholic faith and that those who deny truths of faith taught by the Magisterium should be punished with a suitable penalty.

Pius V fulfilled the order of the Council of Trent that the liturgy be reformed.  He promulgated a revised version of the Roman liturgy for the whole Church.  He maintained the rights of priests in those places where there was a time-honored rite to continue their use as well. 

Pius also defended the Faith.  He guided a Counter-Reformation against the Hugenots.   He condemned the errors of Baius.  He tried to support the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots. He initiated the league which defeated threatening Islamic forces at Lepanto.

Pius understood that defense of the Faith, defense from attacks both physical and theological, defense of Catholic identity and integrity, also depended on fostering proper worship.  The Collect stresses the concept of mystery, the sacred mysteries which must be at the heart of proper worship.  Worship must at some point bring us to an encounter with Mystery.  If worship doesn’t not make this possible, it has failed in its purpose.

The vividus in our Collect calls to mind what I believe Pope Benedict is also trying to do.  Pius V helped to defend Christian Europe from extinction under the onslaught of Islam.  Benedict has also been trying to frame the parameters of the struggle for the heart and soul of Europe, whose identity depends on the recognition of its Christian roots.  Pius reformed the Church’s worship with the 1570 Missale Romanum.  Pope Benedict has defended the "Tridentine" structure of Catholic worship by the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  That vividus, in the sense of "vigorous", applies perfectly to what Pius did.  I think that Pope Benedict is trying to "reinvigorate" our Catholic identity in a deeply troubled world.  Pope Benedict is also striving to make our Catholic worship more worthy (dignius) of the name. 

Consider the continuity which exists within the long line of the Successors of Peter.  Each one, despite human weaknesses, has been given the task of defending the Faith.  Pray for Pope Benedict today, especially through the intercession of Pope Pius V.

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18 Responses to WDTPRS: St. Pius V, Pope

  1. Roland de Chanson says:

    I really enjoy your explications (i.e. fruor explicationibus tuis) of the Mass texts. By way of an interesting contrast, the Oratio for the feast of Piux V from the 1962MR, which was formerly celebrated on May 5, reads:

    Deus, qui, ad conterendos Ecclesiae tuae hostes et ad divinum cultum reparandum, beatum Pium Pontificem maximum eligere dignatus es:
    fac nos ipsius defendi praesidiis et ita tuis inhaerere obsequiis;
    ut, omnium hostium superatis insidiis, perpetua pace laetemur.
    Per Dominum nostrum etc.

    slavishly literal translation:
    O God, who hast deigned to choose blessed Pius Pontifex maximus to pulverize the enemies of your Church and restore the divine cult:
    let us be defended by his protection and so cling to your obedience;
    that, the plots of all enemies having been overcome, we may rejoice in perpetual peace.
    Through our Lord etc.

    This strikes a stirring martial chord which is appropriate for the ongoing combat against both the internal and external enemies of the Church. Pius was a Dominican and as evidenced not only by his military prowess at Lepanto but also by his bold excommunication of the heretic Elizabeth I of England, proved that to rejoice in the perpetual peace of Christ, the Catholics must first wield victoriously the sword of Christ.

    I dare say that were Pius to return and see the ruins of Trent, and the rampant heresy in the Church today, he would with Dominican wrath once again raise the sword to smite schismatics and apostates. Let slip the Dogs of the Lord! Solvantur Dominicani, solvantur Domini canes.

    BTW, I recall reading once that the white cassock worn by the popes originated with Pius V’s Dominican habit.

  2. Ken says:

    Formerly celebrated on 5 May? It’s still that day for the TLM. Why it was moved by the novus ordo to 30 April, when the day of his death was 1 May, is beyond me. Change for the sake of change in 1969.

  3. Pius was moved to 30 April because it is the liturgical day closest to his actual date of death. 1 May is and was St. Joseph the Worker so it is not available. And before that 1 May was Philip and James. 30 April was Catherine of Siena (since her death day, 29 April, was already St. Peter Maryr). Pius could could not be celebrated on 2-4 May because of other feasts on those days.

    So the new calendar actually has him closer to his entry into heaven than the old one.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. Thompson: So the new calendar actually has him closer to his entry into heaven than the old one.

    Sancto subito?

  5. Rev. Dr. Mike says:

    When I was studying at Brown University, I often went over to the St. Pius Parish next to Providence College; a wondering parish, great priests and interesting sermons. (no grapes and cracker services, as another parish in the area had)

  6. Roland de Chanson says:

    Ken: Formerly celebrated on 5 May? It’s still that day for the TLM.

    I thought they had mucked about with the TLM calendar and merged it with the novus ordo seclorum. I’m glad to hear that then. I figure they’d change the precession of the equinoxes if they thought they could get away with it.

  7. EDG says:

    Pope St Pius V was very important in the evangelization of the New World and his papacy coincided with the early settlement of St Augustine. In our cathedral in St Augustine, we have a mural depicting Pius V giving a letter to a representative of our first governor, Menendez de Aviles, encouraging him to evangelize the native peoples and extend the Church in the New World.

    Until the renovations in 1965, there was a statue of Pope St Pius V in the reredos (which was a large marble construction), along with one of his friend and fellow evangelizer of the New World, the Spaniard St. Francis Borgia. Supposedly, the bishop who did the renovation, Abp Joseph Hurley, known mainly for being the Vatican diplomat at the Stepinac trial, hated the statues and they were removed during the renovations. But the Cathedral pastor at the time liked them and had them buried under the school parking lot for safekeeping. About 10 years later, they were dug up and placed on the 1924 mortuary chapel shared by St Augustine bishops John Moore, William Kenny, Patrick Barry – and Archbishop Joseph Hurley.

    Just a bit of trivia. In any case, I think most Americans in general don’t know about the close connection between Pius V and the evangelization of our continent. There are several Catholic schools and parishes named for him in Florida, although I doubt that most people could tell you why.

  8. Jon says:

    Father Thompson,

    I’m glad you’ve jumped into the conversation, because the whole question brings up something I’ve always wondered about. Did the reformers have some sort of exceptional animus against Dominican liturgical tradition?

    I ask this question in all seriousness, and for history’s sake, am curious for an answer. It seems that more major Dominican feast days were almost pedantically changed than those of any other order.

    Pius V, a Dominican, from May 5th to April 30th.

    St. Catherine of Siena, from April 30th to April 29th.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, from March 7th to January 28th.

    St. Dominic, from August 4th to August 8th.

    St. Rose of Lima, August 30th to August 23rd.

    It seems the only major figure to be spared was St. Vincent Ferrer, whose feast remains April 5th in both calendars.

    I’d be interested in your take on this. Thanks!

  9. Rellis says:

    I think I need to come to the defense of the new calendar here, as someone formerly opposed to it.

    The ideal has always been that (a) only major saints be included in the general calendar, the rest being reserved for local and order calendars, and (b) that the date be the “dies natale,” or date of death.

    Periodically, the calendar gets bundled up with saints that might have merited inclusion when placed in, but now seem like they shouldn’t be on the GENERAL Roman calendar.

    This bunching results in some minor saints being “parked” on other saints’ dies natale. So it came to be that the pre-1969 calendar was both cluttered and highly inconsistent on the dies natale rule.

    An eminently rational reform then occurred, whereby:

    1. Minor saints were bumped to local and order calendars
    2. The remaining saints were moved TO WHERE THEY WERE ALWAYS INTENDED TO BE, their dies natale, if they were not already there
    3. In a few cases (like Aquinas), it was necessary to move the saint to another date so as not to interfere with Lent, the “O Antiphon” days of Advent, etc.

    Unfortunately, this common sense pruning was done at the same time as the liturgical, architectural, etc. rape of Catholic Tradition. If it were done 20 years earlier or later, it would have been hailed as a mostly organic caretaking of the calendar.

    I should note that my opinion does not include non-saint decisions such as the suppression of the Pentecost Octave, pre-Lent, ember days, etc. But on the saint side, it’s rational.

    In fact, we’re getting about due for another round. Some calendar pruning should happen about every 50 years or so.

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  11. quiet beginning says:

    In the Bull In Coena Domini (which was continually promulgated from the 14th to the 18th century), Pope St. Pius V reiterated the traditional teachings of the Church, not the least among them the fact that the civil power of the state is subordinate to the power of the Holy See. That fact did not sit well with post-Reformation royalty, of course, and so it was quietly put to sleep by Clement XIV in 1770. Maybe it’s time it woke up again.

  12. MB says:

    “…which reflects the sacrificial love Christ exemplified on the Cross.”


  13. Jacques says:

    Hereunder is St. Pius V’s condemnation of homosexuality, peculiarly among priesthood:

    “That horrible crime, on account of which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation, causes us most bitter sorrow and shocks our mind, impelling us to repress such a crime with the greatest possible zeal.
    Quite opportunely the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] issued this decree: “Let any member of the clergy caught in that vice against nature . . . be removed from the clerical order or forced to do penance in a monastery” (chap. 4, X, V, 31). So that the contagion of such a grave offense may not advance with greater audacity by taking advantage of impunity, which is the greatest incitement to sin, and so as to more severely punish the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls, we determine that they should be handed over to the severity of the secular authority, which enforces civil law.

    Therefore, wishing to pursue with the greatest rigor that which we have decreed since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss.

    (Constitutionn Horrendum illud scelus, August 30, 1568, in Bullarium Romanum, Rome: Typographia Reverendae Camerae Apostolicae, Mainardi, 1738, chap. 3, p. 33)

  14. Thomas says:

    Before I go to bed, I will have to give a rousing reading of G. K. Chesterton’s LEPANTO in honor of Pope St. Pius V.

  15. Mark says:

    Except Pope Benedict hasnt called for the assassination of heretical leaders…not even lifted the finger of excommunication…sad…

  16. Roland de Chanson says:

    Cher Jacques,

    Merci mille fois de cette citation très utile de Pie V. Conjointement avec le message récent du père Zühlsdorf concernant la déclaration admirable au sujet du “mariage grotesque” (anormal? pervers? quelle traduction semblererait-elle la plus pertinente?) de l’évêque de Providence, on pourrait rassembler une argumentation très puissante contre cette perversion fallacieuse et insidieuse.

  17. Jacques says:

    Cher Roland,
    Je suis bien d’accord avec vous.
    Mais j’ai donné d’abord cette citation pour montrer le décalage du discours papal sur un même sujet à quelques siècles de distance. Etonnant, n’est-ce pas?

  18. sacerdos in germania says:

    “let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death”

    aie, Ça c’est fort! En tout cas, Saint Pie V n’a pas mâchée ses mots…