Calx Mariae Publishing

Voice of the Family is delighted to announce the launch of Calx Mariae Publishing. Readers will recognise Calx Mariae as the name of Voice of the Family’s magazine, featuring analysis and reflections promoting the culture of life, faith and the family. Many will also be aware of the meaning of the words Calx Mariae — “the heel of Mary” — and share the sentiments of theological hope which the words embody. It is this hope in the triumph of Jesus Christ, through His Holy Mother Mary, that underpins the whole of our Catholic faith and inspires us to extend the frontiers of the kingdom of God. That is, in a modest way, what Voice of the Family seeks to do by distributing Calx Mariae magazine and, now, by beginning to publish good books of spiritual reading and Christian scholarship.

Why books and why now?

The provision of good Catholic books seems especially important today, when superabundance of information smothers Christian formation and soundbites rule over principles. In times of crisis, when we are busy putting out fires as they flare up, it is easy to lose touch with principles and to focus solely on the immediate challenges. In fact, it is reading books — good books — that can prove to be the first step towards re-establishing our lives on the solid ground of Christian principles. It can help us to abandon preoccupations which drown out all natural and supernatural thought, and to refresh ourselves at the foundations of our intellectual heritage. After Holy Scripture and the traditional teaching promulgated by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, there is no greater treasure for the instruction and edification of Catholics than the works of the Church’s great saints and geniuses.

Which books?

Dom Prosper Guéranger, The Christian sense of history
Here, the restorer of the Order of St Benedict in the century following the French Revolution turns his eye to the study of history and vindicates the Christian tradition, attacked and undermined on all sides by deceitful modern theories. “Dom Guéranger,” observes Dr Peter Kwasniewski, “brings a characteristically Benedictine sensitivity to the plan of Divine Providence in the fates and fortunes of individuals and nations. ‘History,’ he says, ‘is the great theatre where the supernatural performs.’ Against the reductive naturalism and rationalism of modern times, he emphasises history’s irreducible debt to the advent of Christianity, which introduces a powerful and pervasive supernatural current — represented above all by the saints and by Christ, ‘the hero of history’ — which decisively alters the course of civilisation, and without which real historical understanding must remain elusive and fragmentary.”  Available here!

Roberto de Mattei, The Church in the tempests: the first millennium of the history of the Church
In the first millennium of Christian history, the foundations of Christendom were laid by Christian princes, who created the European nations while offering us an example of how the world can be made Christian without Christians becoming worldly. History, the great teacher of Christian life and faith, instructs us by the example of the martyrs that the truth is not negotiable and must be witnessed — if necessary, to the shedding of one’s blood. History edifies us with the example of the crusaders, ignoring the trials that they would undergo and offering their lives in response to the Church’s cries of distress. It reminds us, by the example of monks and hermits, that the rejection of the world and attachment to God alone, in silence and prayer, is the means to satisfy those who are called to this constant union with the Lord. It teaches us, by the acts of the apologists, how the apostolate is exercised not only by positively exposing the faith, but also by refuting prejudices and errors with the weapons of polemics and controversy. Available here!

Dom Francis de Sales Pollien, Lived Christianity
A classic on the spiritual life and the quest for holiness. “To what height the saints have risen! Undoubtedly, not all of them have done the full work of their purification here below. In some, there may be some part left to do in Purgatory. But many have reached the highest peak in this life and entered Heaven at the moment of their death. And as for those in whom a small part of the work was still left to do, they had nevertheless travelled the path to its greatest extent. It goes without saying that they had fully carried out the first part of Christian life — God first — and also that they were already far ahead in the second — God alone. This is why they are so great! They had faith and reason, and they lived according to their faith and reason. … They were men like you, with the same passions and nature, as well as with the same reason and faith. And they knew how to rise above their passions, to live according to their reason and faith. They were men! …And will you be a man? A Christian? A saint? Do you have faith?” Available here!

Virginia Coda Nunziante, Christian fashion in the teaching of the Church
Catholic journalism and even the Magisterium of the Church of the last fifty years have ignored the topic of Christian fashion, which has important consequences on individual and social life. This book offers a selection of documents, in which the popes of the last century have addressed this topic, especially the Venerable Pius XII (1939–1958). The instructions of the pontiffs are preceded by a comprehensive introduction to the historical and doctrinal nature of the question, inviting women to a deeper awareness of the mission they have in society today. “In fact, through our clothing we express a vision of the world and, if it is true that examples count as much as ideas, then the way we dress can also express our ‘lived Christianity’.” Available here!

“What’s in a name?

Calx Mariae, meaning “the heel of Mary”, is the central image in the Redemption of the human race, as announced at the very beginning of its history, and passed on by tradition and Holy Scripture. In the book of Genesis, in a small passage known as the Protoevangelium (that is, “the first Gospel”), we read that, after the fall of our first parents, God said to the serpent, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen 3:15).

“The old serpent, which is the devil and Satan” (Apoc 20:2), is terrified by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who triumphs over all evil by her seed, Who is Christ. Christ has willed that His Holy Mother should play a crucial role in the accomplishment of the Redemption, until the end of the world. It would be humiliating enough, for one who was created the greatest of the archangels, to be crushed by a human creature — by a mere woman — but, still worse, he is to be crushed by her heel, the humblest part of her body!

In the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, we could perhaps think of lay people as the heel. Every member of the Church has his proper place and function, each must fulfil his proper role if the body is to be healthy: the pope as head, the cardinals and bishops subject to him; priests subject to bishops; religious to their superiors; and finally lay people to their pastors. In our own time, this divinely established order is tragically disturbed in countless ways. The failure of many in authority to faithfully transmit Catholic doctrine means that it is often left to the laity to defend and proclaim the faith — even its basic truths about human life and the family — in the public sphere. This being the case, we should not let it be a source of distress or pride, but form ourselves in the truth, which is humility, and serve faithfully to the best of our ability — as the heel of the Mystical Body of Christ. 

Engaged in this combat for our faith, for life and for the family, we must stay close to Our Heavenly Mother. This is what filial love and right reason demands. She is the one who will crush the head of Satan. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph” — we need only hold our position in battle. This knowledge should make us confident soldiers, who always remain close to their Queen.

All books are available here!