Pope Francis on September 17 recalled the legacy of the 16th-century pope St. Pius V, a Church reformer who standardized the Mass and opposed heresy.
The teachings of Pius V “invite us to be seekers of the truth,” Pope Francis said in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall to Catholics from northern and central Italy.
“Jesus is the Truth, in a sense that is not only universal but also communal and personal,” he said, “and the challenge is to live the search for truth in the daily life of the Church today, of Christian communities.”
The search for truth, Pope Francis said, “can only take place through personal and community discernment, starting from the Word of God.”
He explained that the Word of God comes alive in a particular way in the Mass, in both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, “where we somehow touch the flesh of Christ.”
St. Pius V, he said, reformed the liturgy of the Church, which was then further reformed four centuries later at the Second Vatican Council.
“In these years much has been said about the Liturgy, especially its external forms. But the greatest commitment must be placed so that the Eucharistic celebration actually becomes the source of community life,” Pope Francis said.
He also recalled St. Pius V’s commitment to recommending prayer, especially the rosary.
St. Pius V was born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco Marengo, Piedmont. The year 2022 marks the 450th anniversary of his death on May 1, 1572. His papacy began in 1566.
Pius V “faced many pastoral and governance challenges in just six years of his pontificate,” Pope Francis said. “He was a reformer of the Church who made courageous choices. Since then, the style of Church government has changed, and it would be an anachronistic mistake to evaluate certain works of Saint Pius V with today’s mentality.”
“So too, we must be careful,” he added, “not to reduce him to a nostalgic, stuffed memory, but to grasp his teaching and witness. With this insight, we can note that the backbone of his entire life was faith.”
by Hannah Brockhaus
This entry was edited for length.
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