Christ the King; today, not in November and of the world, not “in our hearts”
It is a feast primarily about celebrating Christ’s ongoing kingship over all reality, including this present world, where the Church must fight for the recognition of His rights, the actual extension of His dominion to all domains, individual and social.”
“Including this present world”…
I was going to write a Thing about why we have the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday in October, and why the change of the date by the Bugnini Cabal was a way of undermining its meaning. In fact, the change of the date of Christ the King is a little nutshell version of how they changed Catholicism’s whole purpose. It became about the private, interior (and Protestant-derived) “personal relationship with Jesus” instead of a cosmological religion describing objective reality to which all people are obliged to adhere.
It seems, however, that I am not the only person who thought this was a good idea. Which is good, because for various reasons I feel like crap today and don’t want to do the extra work.
Fortunately, Peter has already done it.
Good work, Spock.
To paraphrase: the Catholic Church – in the person of Pope Pius XI who promulgated the feast in 1925 – put it on the days before the Feasts of All Souls and All Saints, and in the last space of time before the end of the liturgical year, to symbolise the requirement that all nations on earth recognise Jesus Christ as King. No, not just “King in our hearts,” and not just king of the world after the Second Coming, but recognising his rightful sovereignty over all nations in this life, right here and right now. Nations, that is, governments, are obliged – yes obliged – to obey Christ in their laws and directives.
The change of date symbolised the Church backing away (in alarm) from this radical idea. Putting it on the last Sunday of the liturgical year meant that we no longer thought it was a requirement that all nations – before the end of time and the Parousia – recognise the prerogatives of Christ as ruler in this life.
Here’s Peter with way more and way better explanations:
“One of the most egregious differences between the two calendars (in the Latin Rite) is the location of the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the old calendar, it is always celebrated on the last Sunday of the month of October, right before All Saints. In the new calendar, however, it is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, leading up to the First Sunday of Advent…”
“Pius XI’s intention…is to emphasise the glory of Christ as terminus of His earthly mission, a glory and mission visible and perpetuated in history by the saints. Hence the feast falls shortly before the Feast of All Saints, to emphasize that what Christ inaugurated in His own person before ascending in glory, the saints then instantiate and carry further in human society, culture, and nations. It is a feast primarily about celebrating Christ’s ongoing kingship over all reality, including this present world, where the Church must fight for the recognition of His rights, the actual extension of His dominion to all domains, individual and social.”
“Indeed, there’s also the obvious fact, unmentioned in Quas Primas but surely in everyone’s mind, that the last Sunday in October had, for centuries, been celebrated as Reformation Sunday. A Catholic counter-feast, reminding the world not only of the comprehensive Kingship of Jesus Christ—so often denied socially and culturally by various teachings of Protestantism—but also of the worldwide kingly authority of His Church, would certainly be a reasonable application of the principle lex orandi, lex credendi.”
“In the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council, its place was changed to the last Sunday of the Church year—that is, so that one week later would fall the first Sunday of Advent. This new position emphasizes rather the eschatological dimension of Christ’s kingship…”
“Though both placements are defensible, it would seem that Pius XI’s intention, consistent with the encyclical as a whole, was more to insist on the rights of Jesus Christ here and now, and the corresponding duties of men and nations on earth…”
“From this vantage, which certainly does not sound like the language of Dignitatis Humanae or the postconciliar diplomacy of the Church, it is hard to resist thinking that the eschatological perspective betrays weak knees before the challenge of modern secularization, as well as hesitation about the perceived “triumphalism” of the earlier papal social teaching. In other words, the kingship of Christ is palatable and proclaimable so long as its realization comes at the end of time, and does not impinge too much on the political and social order right now—or on the Church’s responsibility to convert the nations, invigorate their cultures, and transform their laws by the light of the Faith.”
Those vital and urgent truths for which Pius XI instituted the very feast of the Kingship of Christ—are they still alive, are they still being preached and taught, are they the lifeblood of the Church’s every liturgy, apostolate, pastoral program? Are we are looking at a feast whose time has passed? The places where the original feast is still celebrated on its original day have, in my experience, some awareness of what this is all about, and nurture a desire to live according to these truths. May the Novemberites sooner or later rediscover the full depth and breadth of this feast as its institutor conceived it.
Okay? Got it? Christ the King of the nations of the world, right now, in this life and in ALL nations, the publicly acknowledged sovereign, not “Christ the King of our hearts” or some other sloppy sentimental – and meaningless, completely ignorable – nonsense.
Here’s the original document about it from the pope, Quas Primas, from the Way Olden Days of last week, when we had popes who believed Catholicism was true.
Here’s an Act of Consecration of the Human Race to Christ the King
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race,
look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar.
We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be;
but to be more surely united with Thee,
behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.
Many indeed have never known Thee;
many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee.
Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus,
and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.
Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee,
but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee;
grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions,
or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith,
so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islam,
and refuse not to to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God.
Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people:
of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour;
may It now descend upon them, a laver of redemption and of life.
Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm;
give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry:
“Praise be to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honour for ever.”