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On December 11th, 1925, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Quas primas, in which he carefully explained the nature of the Kingship of Jesus Christ, and established this feast day which we celebrate on the last Sunday of every October. Pope Pius had been elected in 1922, just a little after the end of World War I which left roughly 37 million soldiers and civilians dead or wounded, and large numbers simply “missing.” In the opening paragraph of this, his fifth, encyclical he stated categorically that “Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.” The only way to return Europe and the world to a state peaceful enough to avoid future wars was to restore the Christian character and practice of Western civilization—or, perhaps more accurately, to return Western civilization to the state where it could once again be called “Christendom.”
To understand the idea of Christ’s kingship, one must only consider that He is the Son of God, the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. As the Son of God He has kingly dominion over all things because He was there in the beginning with the Father and “all things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.” He is also the Redeemer of the human race, restoring to mankind the hope of eternal salvation that had been lost with the fall of Adam. Together with the Holy Ghost, He is the Sanctifier of the human race, the founder of a priesthood which daily offers His one sacrifice to the Father and distributes the Sacraments of sanctifying grace to His faithful. Christ possesses this kingly dominion equally as man and as God, for in Him humanity and divinity are inseparably united.
This kingly dominion is not an innovation of the New Testament, but something long known to God’s people. Pope Pius quoted but a few of many passages from the Old Testament. He quotes the Psalmist: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.” «it is foretold that his kingdom will have no limits, and will be enriched with justice and peace: “in his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace...And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”»
He quotes Isaias “A child is born to us ... the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace. He shall sit upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom ... from henceforth and for ever.” And Daniel: “And he gave him power and glory and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him. His power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed.”
These Old Testament prophecies would be fulfilled in the New. The Archangel spoke to Mary concerning the Son Whom she would conceive: “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” «The prophecy of Zachary concerning the merciful King “riding upon an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass” entering Jerusalem as “the just and savior”» was fulfilled as the crowds dropped palm branches before Him.
On a number of occasions, our Lord fled from the crowds when they seemed to be interested in making Him their earthly ruler. As we heard Him tell Pontius Pilate in today’s Gospel: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Nonetheless, He did not hide His spiritual kingship. He portrayed Himself as King in that parable of the Judgment in which he separates the sheep from the goats; the good from the bad. He told them that “All power was given to Him” when He sent the disciples to “teach and baptize all nations.” In the Apocalypse, Saint John calls Him “prince of the Kings of the earth,” and later, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” And we did hear Him tell Pilate: Yes, “I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”
In the verse that follows, Pilate retorted—probably sarcastically—“What is truth?” and then turned away without listening. What an enormous loss for mankind that Pilate did not wait to hear Truth Himself explain what truth was! Note well that our Lord spoke of His kingship and of the truth as though they were opposite sides of the same coin.
Is it possible to have “the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ” without having the truth? Absolutely, not! As Saint John records in his Gospel, Christ, the incarnate Word of God, is full of grace and truth—he even records that our Lord proclaimed Himself to be the “the way, the truth, and the life.” If we take away “truth” from “the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ,” there is no Christ; there is no kingdom; and there is no peace.
Truth may be an elusive thing, hard for people to know, but it exists. We learned from our earliest catechisms that “God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.” Since He “knows all things,” truth exists in the mind of God—in fact, that is a good way to define truth: “Truth is reality as it is known in the mind of God.” And that knowledge is existent in the Second Person of the Trinity, the Logos or Word, Who is begotten of God’s knowledge of Himself—Who became man in the Person of Jesus Christ.
All truth exists in the mind of God—historical truth, scientific truth, the truth of human relationships—everything from the most childish thought to the most complex. But two kinds of truth are particularly important to the relationship of God to mankind—we call them doctrinal truths and moral truths. The doctrinal truths are the things that we can know about God, either through natural human reason, or through His revelation of them. The moral truths are the ways in which God wants us to behave, both toward Him and toward the people around us in the world; and these also can be known, either through natural human reason, or through God’s revelation of them. Legitimate governments are formed among men only insofar as their laws conform with moral truth—learned, if not by revelation, at least through careful human reasoning.
Ultimately, the problem with which Pope Pius IX was trying to deal was modern man’s elimination of Christ from the search for truth. Modern “scientific” man wanted to see reality as a random collection of objects, existing without a Creator—a system in which nothing is real unless it is subject to mathematical specification and empirical verification—anything that cannot be touched and felt and measured is thought not to be real—a system more concerned with what mankind is capable of doing, rather than what it ought to do.
In more “human” pursuits, modern man eliminates Christ from his search for the truth by claiming that truth is flexible. The truth of the modern humanist is not in the mind of God, nor even in the rigid framework of the scientist, but is a forever-shifting thing based on man’s feelings and the consensus which the “acting person” reaches with the other men and women around him at this moment in time. It is the dialectic of Marx and Hegel, rather than the truth of Christ.
If there is a God in modern man’s pantheon, He is the sum total of what modern men and women think He is. And, here we see clearly why their can be no peace without the truth of Jesus Christ—doctrine and moral law are no longer found in “the laws of nature and nature’s God’; rather, they are found in “the will of the people.” If the people decide to enslave some minority group, or to conquer some foreign nation, or to experiment on the helpless, or to eliminate those whom they consider useless—all of these things fit the criteria of modern morality, for they are “the will of the people,” achieved through “dialogue” and “consensus.” How can their ever be peace?
The answer, of course is a return to the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.” Pope Pius recognized that many of us “have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth.... good people ... are reluctant to engage in conflict or to oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks.” We must, he says, “understand that it behooves [us] ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ [our] King ... fired with apostolic zeal, ... striv[ing] to win over to the Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from Him, and valiantly to defend His rights.”
If we need more encouragement, we need but look to the fruits promised to us in the beautiful preface composed especially for theist feast:
 Pius XI, 11 December AD 1925m Quas primas, para 1. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11PRIMA.HTM
 John i: 3.
 Cf. Quas primas, 13.
 Psalm xliv in Quas primas, 8.
 Psalm Ixxi in Quas primas, 8.
 Isaias ix, 6-7 in Quas primas, 8.
 Daniel ii: 44 in Quas primas, 9.
 Luke. i: 32-33. in Quas primas, 10.
 Zachary ix: 9 in Quas primas, 9.
 John xviii: 33-37.
 Matthew xxv: 31-40
 Cf. Matthew xxviii: 16-20
 Apocalypse i:5; xix: 16.
 John xviii: 37.
 John i: 14, 15; xiv: 6.
 The Baltimore Catechism #1, Q. 18.
 Quas primas, 24.