CHAPTER IV. THE COUNTER-REFORMATION
Pastor, Geschichte der Papste im Zeitalter der Renaissance und
der Glaubenspaltung (Eng. Trans. History of the Popes ).
Ciacconius, Vitae et res gestae Roman. Pontificum, 1688. Ranke,
Die Romischen Papste (vols. 37-39), 1894 (Eng. Trans., 1847).
Von Reumont, Geschichte der Stadt Rom., 3 Bde, 1867-70. Artaud
de Montor, History of the Popes, 1867. Theiner, Annales
ecclesiastici, etc., Rome, 1856.
The Council of Trent had accomplished the work for which it was called. Though it failed to extinguish the rising flames of heresy or to restore peace to the Christian world, it had swept away most of the glaring abuses that had proved the main source of Luther's success, and rendered impossible for the future any misunderstanding about the doctrines that had been called in question. The Catholic Church, purified by the severe trials through which she had passed, stood forth once again active and united under the leadership of the Successor of St. Peter, still face to face it is true with a powerful opposition, but an opposition on which the disintegrating influence of private judgment was already making itself felt. Thus the foundations of the great Catholic Counter-Reformation were laid securely, and a movement was begun which stayed the further advance of Protestantism, secured the allegiance of individuals and nations that were wavering, and won back many who had been seduced from the faith during the early days of the religious upheaval.
But if the labours of the Fathers of Trent were to be productive of the good results that might be anticipated, earnest, religious, energetic Popes were required to give a lead to their spiritual children, whose courage had been damped by over thirty years of almost uninterrupted defeats, to put into force the valuable reforms that had been planned with such minute care, and above all to make the court and city of Rome an example for the princes and people of the world. Here, again, the providence of God watching over His Church was manifested in a striking manner. Pius IV. deserves to be remembered with gratitude by all future generations for the part that he took in bringing to a successful conclusion the Council of Trent in face of almost insuperable difficulties, for having taken such energetic and withal such prudent action to secure the acceptance of its decrees and their reduction into practice, and for having given to Rome and to the Catholic Church so gifted, so saintly, and so disinterested an ecclesiastic as his nephew, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, St. Charles Borromeo.
On the death of Pius IV. the conclave, mainly through the exertions of Cardinal Borromeo, elected Cardinal Ghisleri, who took the title of Pius V. (1566-72) in memory of his predecessor. In his youth the future Pope joined the Order of St. Dominic, and for years had acted as professor of theology, master of novices, and prior. He was noted specially for his simplicity and holiness of life, a holiness which it may be remarked had nothing in common with the morose rigour of Paul IV., for his humility, his love of silence and meditation, and for his kindness towards the poor and the suffering. As a man of good education and of conservative tendencies he was summoned to assist Cardinal Caraffa, then president of the Holy Office, and when the latter became Pope he was created cardinal and appointed Grand Inquisitor. After his election Pius V. followed still the strict life of fasting and prayer to which he had been accustomed as a Dominican friar. He did not seek to create positions, or to carve out estates from the papal territories for his relatives. Anxious to promote the temporal as well as the spiritual welfare of the people in his temporal dominions he took steps to see that justice was meted out to poor and rich, banished women of loose character from the streets, put an end to degrading amusements, enforced the observance of the Sunday, and, backed by St. Charles Borromeo and the princes of Italy, he changed the whole face of the capital and the country. Rome was no longer the half-pagan city of the days of Leo X., nor yet did it partake of the savage rigour of Geneva.