Apr 30th - Pius V
If we think about the important moments in Church history (so many - starting with Creation! but I wander) there always seem to be two sides to the story; with the early heresies you can point to definite winners and losers but as time went on it became less black and white. The basic problems remain the same but the new players brought subtleties to the table which made it harder to define the good guys from the bad guys.
Even today people attempt to make things black and white though, while easier to live with and requires a lot less thinking and compassion. But easy is not always the correct way to go as Jesus points out time and again. While it makes it easier to know who your enemies are, according to Jesus that should only do so to make it easier to identify those who you have to love.
The evangelists never say "God told me" or "I think that". They report the Truth as revealed and by doing so avoid telling us what to think and believe and lay the ground work for what we think and believe. This way of thinking about the Truth is counter to many today and to many of the Re-formers including Mohammad (PBUH) and others like Joseph Smith. To that end it is the misguided reasoning of humans to think that they know what someone else is thinking (much less God); it is the weakness of re-formers to think that they know what is best, that they have "figured it out" or that they understand what someone was thinking in the past without the weight of history. This is what shamefully divides the Body of Christ. If we only hear or adhere to the parts that agree with what we think, then we sin against the Spirit who has revealed all and has guided us since Creation.
All that because I feel that Pius had fallen beneath the wheels of personal opinion. Like so many popes he is either revered or reviled, and often for the wrong reasons, reasons that divide not unite - that which was crux of his papacy.
The reforms of Trent fell to Pius when he became pope. He created congregations to correctly uphold and spread the Faith and to preserve Church doctrine. He oversaw the creation of new seminaries, a new breviary, a new missal, and a new catechism. He also wrote many admonishments to guide those who were to implement these reforms. Through hind-sight we may want to call these things set in stone but, like Paul VI after him, he struggled with those who resisted these reforms, both religious and political, and those who outright rejected them. Yet through it all he continued to serve the poor and needy and to bring Christ into the world in all that he did.
People want to make what Pius did in their own image and with their own understanding. I do not read anything in his works which reaches the limitation that some place upon the papacy or the liturgy.
Now, I will not say that "I think that..." - that would fly in the face of all I believe and write in this reflection - but call on us all to not shame the memory of Pius nor place words in his mouth but understand what he intended to do and not what I want him to have intended to have done and thereby to serve Christ and charity in all we do. To do otherwise makes us no better than those against whom he struggled to guide and continues to fracture the Body of Christ.
The Roman Pontiffs, and the other Holy Fathers, our predecessors, when they were pressed in upon by temporal or spiritual wars, or troubled by other trials, in order that they might more easily escape from these, and having achieved tranquillity, might quietly and fervently be free to devote themselves to God, were wont to implore the divine assistance, through supplications or Litanies to call forth the support of the saints, and with David to lift up their eyes unto the Mountains, trusting with firm hope that thence would they receive aid.
1. Prompted by their example, and, as is piously believed, by the Holy Spirit, the inspired Blessed founder of the Order of Friars Preachers, (whose institutes and rule we ourselves expressly professed when we were in minor orders), in circumstances similar to those in which we now find ourselves, when parts of France and of Italy were unhappily troubled by the heresy of the Albegenses, which blinded so many of the worldly that they were raging most savagely against the priests of the Lord and the clergy, raised his eyes up unto heaven, unto that mountain of the Glorious Virgin Mary, loving Mother of God. For she by her seed has crushed the head of the twisted serpent, and has alone destroyed all heresies, and by the blessed fruit of her womb has saved a world condemned by the fall of our first parent. From her, without human hand, was that stone cut, which, struck by wood, poured forth the abundantly flowing waters of graces. And so Dominic looked to that simple way of praying and beseeching God, accessible to all and wholly pious, which is called the Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the same most Blessed Virgin is venerated by the angelic greeting repeated one hundred and fifty times, that is, according to the number of the Davidic Psalter, and by the Lord’s Prayer with each decade. Interposed with these prayers are certain meditations showing forth the entire life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, thus completing the method of prayer devised by the by the Fathers of the Holy Roman Church. This same method St. Dominic propagated, and it was, spread by the Friars of Blessed Dominic, namely, of the aforementioned Order, and accepted by not a few of the people. Christ’s faithful, inflamed by these prayers, began immediately to be changed into new men. The darkness of heresy began to be dispelled, and the light of the Catholic Faith to be revealed. Sodalities for this form of prayer began to be instituted in many places by the Friars of the same Order, legitimately deputed to this work by their Superiors, and confreres began to be enrolled together.
2. Following the example of our predecessors, seeing that the Church militant, which God has placed in our hands, in these our times is tossed this way and that by so many heresies, and is grievously troubled and afflicted by so many wars, and by the depraved morals of men, we also raise our eyes, weeping but full of hope, unto that same mountain, whence every aid comes forth, and we encourage and admonish each member of Christ’s faithful to do likewise in the Lord.
-- From Consueverunt Romani
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