This time of year the Dominicans have a great time. Celebrating Easter with the rest of us, they then have the solemnity of their spiritual mother St Catherine of Siena and the next day, today, the feast of their great Pope-Saint, St Pius V. Both of these Dominicans were important figures of reform. St Catherine sought to contribute to the spiritual reform of the Church in a stagnant age and to bring the Pope back to his See. Pius sought to implement the reforms of the Council of Trent and reform the liturgy. He also had to face a rising threat to Europe and European Christianity from a Muslim empire.
I think, and some might find this hard to take, that St Pius V was an ecumenical figure. Yes he excommunicated Elizabeth I of England, but to be honest in doing so he was merely confirming an action that had already taken place: in her rejection of the Catholic Church, her persecution of those who adhered to the Catholic faith, her so called "Settlement" and ultimately her construction of a quasi religious cult centered on herself, Elizabeth was no longer in communion with the Catholic Church. Of course Pius's action infuriated her and she intensified her persecution of Catholics, and we cannot deny that.
However in his defence of Europe, Pius was very much an ecumenical figure. He saw that there was a common threat, and so he appealed to all Christians to unite to defend Europe and her Christian faith. There may well have been disputes within the Christian community, but a time had come to put such disputes aside and stand together to protect Christians and their faith. Few responded to his call, Elizabeth stuck her head in the sand, and the German princes thought that the Ottomans would defeat the Pope and Catholicism, getting it out of the way, and they could negotiate with the Ottomans. Better to have Muslim allies than Catholic ones. Naive approach, I think. At the end of the day Pius called on a greater ally, Our Lady, and she responded to his call at Lepanto.
Drawing on this and seeing its relevance for us today I think we Christians must also stand together now as another threat is rising - radical atheistic permissive secularism. Despite our differences, those Christians and other faiths who have not fallen under the sceptre of this threat should stand together and face it.