Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Pope Francis and his vist to Santa Maria Maggiore – The Hidden History

Ok, here is the picture that many of you have already seen:


Here is Pope Francis praying before the tomb of Dominican Pope St. Pius V.  Above the tomb is a monument of Conventual Pope Sixtus V who is also buried in Santa Maria Maggiore.

Now, perhaps Pope Francis, a Jesuit who has taken the name of Francis of Assisi, is trying to offer some support to the Dominicans.

However, for us of the Third Order of Saint Francis, this could be a bit ominous.  Pope St. Pius V almost destroyed our order in 1568 when he issued the bull Ea est officii nostri – that took away our Minister General and placed us under the Minister General of the Friars Minor.  Pius V claimed that this was intended to reform us, but the Friars Minor forbade us to accept any more novices and without novices we would would die out.

Fortunately, Pope Sixtus V [that’s his statue above the tomb of Pius V] restored our independence in 1586 with the Bull Romani Pontificis.  

So, needless to say, this is a place full of historical importance for the TOR Franciscans.  Indeed, at least one of our Order had a habit of visiting the tomb of Pope St. Pius V every year on his feast day and would stand before the tomb praying to St. Pius V in the words – “You owe us.” 😉