Pius V, Saint

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Pius V, Saint,

1504–72, pope (1566–72), an Italian named Michele Ghislieri, b. near Alessandria; successor of Pius IV. He was ordained in the Dominicans (1528) and became celebrated for his austerity. Paul IV made him cardinal (1557) and inquisitor general; under his direction the Roman Inquisition reached a new level of efficiency. On his election he set about putting the decrees of the Council of Trent (see Trent, Council ofTrent, Council of,
1545–47, 1551–52, 1562–63, 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, convoked to meet the crisis of the Protestant Reformation.
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) into effect; he thus occupies a key position in the Counter ReformationCounter Reformation,
16th-century reformation that arose largely in answer to the Protestant Reformation; sometimes called the Catholic Reformation. Although the Roman Catholic reformers shared the Protestants' revulsion at the corrupt conditions in the church, there was present
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, for his activity in those years just after the council insured the permanence of its work. He governed the Papal States with severity. St. Pius was the first pope after the Reformation to put Catholicism on the political offensive. He excommunicated (1570) Queen Elizabeth I of England and forbade English Roman Catholics to give her their allegiance, a serious political mistake on his part since it had the effect of rallying the English to Elizabeth. He united Venice and Spain with him against the Turks, an alliance that helped to bring the victory of Austria over the Turks at Lepanto (see Lepanto, battle ofLepanto, battle of
, Oct. 7, 1571, naval battle between the Christians and Ottomans fought in the strait between the gulfs of Pátrai and Corinth, off Lepanto (Návpaktos), Greece. The fleet of the Holy League commanded by John of Austria (d.
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). He has been much attacked as a persecutor of heresy, but he was certainly not privy to the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day in France. He was succeeded by Gregory XIII. Feast: May 6.