Who was St. Pius V?


Why did he excommunicate Elizabeth I of England and why was he so harsh?


I should know my history, but am not very good at it… :rolleyes:

Pope St Pius V was Pope at the time of Elizabeth I’s reign. At this time there was significant turmoil within the British isles due to the reformation, and other things. Scotland was now ruled by a Catholic monarch, and Elizabeth I continued the spirit of the reformation, oppressing Catholics. You see there had been Henry VIII, who was okay, save that he split the Church from Rome. The Church under Henry VIII was essentially still catholic. But then King Edward came along, who was staunchly protestant. After his death (save for the 7 day reign of Queen/Lady Jane Grey) Queen Mary restored Catholicism, but when Elizabeth came to the throne the Catholic Church was once again persecuted.

From my understanding of the subject, it was for the persecution of Catholics, the growing political intrigue against Scotland, and the Queen’s own heresy. The Papal bull Regnans in Excelsis declares Elizabeth I a heretic, excommunicates her, and declares Queen Mary of Scotland to be Queen.

Hope this helped somewhat! There is more info on Wikipedia here. It’s a rather complicated time in English and Scots history.


Remember the Church never actually excommunicates anyone. The church declares a person excommunicated only after that person has demonstrated by their own actions that they are no longer part of the Church (by professing heretical views etc).

Similar to sainthood - the Church’s word doesn’t make someone a saint, rather the person is already in heaven and the church comes to realise this through miracles performed by their intercession etc - and THEN declares them a saint. Sometimes hundreds of years after the fact.

Elizabeth I was always staunchly Protestant and showed no signs of being less so after becoming Queen. And she did indeed treat Catholics badly. Whether this was because she was under constant threat from them even prior to beginning her reign or otherwise, it is so.


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