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Sixtus V

Sixtus V, 1521–90, pope (1585–90), an Italian (b. near Montalto) named Felice Peretti; successor of Gregory XIII. He entered the Franciscan order in early youth. After ordination (1547) he became a famous preacher and was patronized by zealous leaders of the Counter Reformation, notably Cardinal Carafa (later Paul IV), Cardinal Ghislieri (later St. Pius V), St. Philip Neri, and St. Ignatius of Loyola. From 1556 to 1560 he was counselor to the Inquisition in Venice, but his ardor caused trouble and he was recalled. In 1565 he went to Spain to look into the alleged heresy of the archbishop of Toledo and so seriously fell out with his companion, Cardinal Buoncompagni (later Gregory XIII), that they became enemies for life. He was created cardinal (1570) by St. Pius V. As pope, Sixtus V set about bringing order to the Papal States, which were at the mercy of brigands, and his methods, if violent, were successful. He spent a vast amount of money on the city of Rome, rebuilding countless churches, beautifying streets, and erecting new buildings and monuments. Sixtus left a tremendous surplus in the treasury by collecting new taxes, selling offices, and making loans. He reorganized the pontifical administration and the sacred college, which he set at the number of 70. He gave his sanction to Philip II of Spain's attempt to invade and restore Catholicism to England, an endeavor that ended in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Sixtus V is one of the great figures of the Counter Reformation. He was succeeded by Urban VII.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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