Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Feast of Christ the King

31 October A.D. 2010

Christ the King

Mass Text - English
Mass Text - Latin
Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

“All men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ.
In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society.”[1]

    It was less than a hundred years ago—a relatively brief period in Church history—when  Pope Pius XI instituted today’s feast of Christ the King with the encyclical letter Quas primas on December 11th, A.D. 1925.[2]  Pope Pius was a remarkable man, a great scholar who headed the Ambrosian Library in Milan for many years.  He was strictly against the Modernism condemned by his namesake, Pope Saint Pius X.  Like his predecessor, the saintly Leo XIII, he was enthusiastic about new learning as long as it remained within the bounds of orthodoxy and respected the unchangeable truths of divine revelation.  He addressed many of the important social issues of his day, including marriage, education, labor and property ownership, and the persecution of the Church.  He seemed to take naturally to the diplomacy that was so important in his era.  He took as his papal motto “The peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.”

    Pope Pius became Pope on February 6th, A.D. 1922, just a little bit after the conclusion of World War I, and he strove to prevent the second war, which would begin later on in 1939, the same year in which he died.

    World War I was one of those conflicts for which historians are hard pressed to point to a reasonable cause.  It was the era of colonization, and, we might say, the culmination of the industrial revolution.  It also came at the end of the late 1800s, when—for good or for bad—small principalities were fused into mighty nations—when Germany, Italy, and the United States entered the world stage as the equals of age old England, France, and Austria—when venerable Spain and Portugal were exiting that same stage.  It was an era of intense rivalry, particularly on the high seas as shipping tonnage and armament seemed to predict the health and the wealth of nations.  One might say that World War I began like an argument between adolescent cousins, escalating from “my Navy is better than your Navy.” to “my Navy can beat your Navy,” and then on to trying to actually prove that superiority in combat.  The belligerent cousins were egged on by the arms merchants and the bankers who stood to profit from the misfortunes of both sides.  By the time the smoke cleared there were  nearly 10 Million military deaths, and estimated 7 Million civilian deaths, and over 21 Million military wounded.  The war weakened the Czar, greatly helping Communism to take over Russia.  Peace negotiations—notably Wilson's “Fourteen Points” failed to survive the treaty negotiation process after the surrender of the Central Powers, leaving Germany economically ruined (It was forced to pay 132 Billion gold marks in reparations), and left militarily defenseless against the rise  of Communism in the east.  This unbalanced responsibility laid on Germany nearly guaranteed the rise of someone like Adolf Hitler—and this is not just hindsight, but was predicted by the economist John Maynard Keynes in his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace.  Keynes also correctly predicted massive devaluation of many European currencies.

    Pope Pius XI recognized that many of the problems of Europe stemmed from the anti-Christian nature of the unified nation‑states.  The “unalienable rights with which men had been endowed by their Creator”—and often the Creator Himself—were denied by the leviathan “progressive,” socialist, and Marxist States that had replaced once Christian Europe and America.  Not only was it necessary for the Pope to warn Christendom about the various social problems this replacement had caused, but in Quas primas, he invoked the underlying question of sovereignty:

    7. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of “King,” because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign “in the hearts of men,” both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his “charity which exceedeth all knowledge.” And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ[3]

    Christ had always been King!  Even before the Incarnation, He was spoken of as King by the Psalmist and the Prophets.  He was announced as King by the Archangel Gabriel.[4]  He spoke openly of His own Kingship, a “Kingdom not of this world,” but yet a Kingdom that is in this world—“for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth.”[5]  His Kingdom was to be “a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”[6]  “This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness.”[7]

    Now, the objection is often heard that Christ's “Kingdom is not of this world.”  And that is mis-taken to mean that the world is free to ignore Him without peril, and that His Church is wrong to command the nations of the world to recognize His rule and to follow His laws.  We even see this among Modernist Catholics, who urged even the Catholic countries of Europe and the Americas to remove their King from their laws and founding documents.

    This is precisely the error against which Pope Pius stood:

16. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices?

17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them.

32.  Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ.... His kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.”[8]  Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society.[9]


[7]  Quas primas, para. 15, ibid.


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