Calx Mariae on St Pius V: a holy model for his time and ours
14 September 2021
The autumn 2021 issue of Voice of the Family’s quarterly magazine, Calx Mariae (Heel of Mary), focuses on St Pius V – a holy model for his time and ours.
Saints are the torches that illuminate human history, as the editorial of the new edition points out.
“Their holy lives form a bright thread of virtue running through the ages which is firmly fixed to the fabric of the Church’s teaching. At times this thread glows and glitters brightly, at times, it appears delicate, faint and fragile. In the darkness of our age, it may seem to have broken and its light gone out, leaving those searching for it feeling abandoned in the dark unable to find their way forward. The light of the saints today is most notable by its absence.”
It is, therefore, crucial to keep the examples of saints always before our eyes. Paying tributes to the saints is a simple way to keep their example alive and also persevere in pursuit of personal holiness, firm in belief not only in its possibility but also in its necessity. The eclipse of the Church by those who despise her from the world and from within can be lifted, even if only a little, by studying the saints and invoking those who have given her great honour.
Pope Saint Pius V is such a saint and this issue of Calx Mariae honours him. The Pope who laboured for the Church to shine in her true splendour – in the fullness of truth (countering the Protestant revolt issuing the Catechism of the Council of Trent), in her liturgy (the Roman Missal), in her prayer (the Breviary), in her laws (the Code of Canon Law), etc – brought it all together in personal devotion and holiness. Our consideration of this beacon of the 16th century is made all the more appropriate by the 450th anniversary of the great Battle of Lepanto this October – a battle where, thanks to the holy Pontiff, Christianity triumphed over the Ottomans. The light of faith conquered the power of darkness and it can do so again.
It is hard to imagine anything that makes the darkness of our age more visible than the systematic destruction of our children’s innocence through sex education programmes in schools, including Catholic schools in England, with the blessing of our bishops. Whilst abortion kills the body of an innocent child, these programmes kill the soul, which is an even greater loss. And these evils go hand in hand. Former Planned Parenthood employees admit that the abortion industry pushes sex education to create a market for abortion. And even programmes that try to respect innocence, move this topic from the home to the public sphere, thus destroying the natural reserve of children. In this issue, Dr Tom Rogers returns to describe the disturbing new relationships and sex education regime one year on from its introduction and offers parents some practical advice on how they might resist. Of course, for our children, as for ourselves, it is not enough to avoid sin, we must become holy.
Becoming holy is not an abstract idea but a concrete requirement for each of us. If we attain all of life’s good fortune – health, wealth, and prestige but do not become holy, this life would be a failure. And if in the eyes of the world, we appear a failure but become holy, we will have fulfilled the purpose for which we were created: namely, to know, love and serve God. Holiness, therefore, promotes man’s true happiness and the glory of God. But how to be holy? By following God’s will for us. How to do that? By studying the masters of holiness — the saints! In this task, we can turn with confidence to our Blessed Mother whom Saint Pius V declared the special help of Christians – Auxilium Christianorum, Ora pro nobis!