It is 84 years since His Holiness, Pope Pius XI, issued ‘Quas Primas’, the encyclical on the Kingship of Christ. Today, the last Sunday in October, is the feast-day of ‘Christ the King’, and it seems appropriate to reflect on a few observations in ‘Quas Primas’ which apply as much today as at the time it was written. The encyclical is too long to quote in its entirety in this setting, however for those interested it is readily available on the New Advent website. The extracts in this post, speak for themselves.
Encyclical on the Feast of Christ the King
His Holiness Pope Pius XI
December 11, 1925
To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Greeting and the Apostolic Benediction.
‘IN THE FIRST ENCYCLICAL LETTER which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was labouring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Saviour, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ ….’
‘Before the Roman magistrate He (Jesus Christ) declared that His kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross ……’
‘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.’
‘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. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved."
‘He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?’
‘If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. "With God and Jesus Christ," we said, "excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation.’
‘If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ Himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation,that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encycyclical ‘Ubi Arcano’, we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretence of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Saviour. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behoves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.’
‘Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church:- "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.’
‘ Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anti-clericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim His kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm His rights.’
‘Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October--the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day’
‘The last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient of all for this purpose, because it is at the end of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the Kingship of Christ sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year, and, before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect. Make it your duty and your task, Venerable Brethren, to see that sermons are preached to the people in every parish to teach them the meaning and the importance of this feast, that they may so order their lives as to be worthy of faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King.’
‘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 honour and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for 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.’
Given at St. Peter's Rome, on the eleventh day of the month of December, in the Holy Year 1925, the fourth of Our Pontificate.
For the record we were privileged to have a sung traditional Mass today in Our Lady's Chapel, Stronsay, celebrated by Fr Anthony Mary F.SS.R., with the full proper of the Mass of the Kingship of Christ, with plainchant Mass 3 (Kyrie Deus sempiterne) and Credo 1. Mass was followed by the consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the recitation of the litany to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I recommend the post - ‘The Homily Catholics Long to Hear’ (22nd October) on Mary Anne Kreitzer’s website, ‘Les Femmes – the Truth’. I have not read the book from which she quotes, ‘Fatherless’ by Brian J.Gail, but the extract reproduced in her post, is metaphorically speaking, ‘spiritual dynamite’.
http://bit.ly/4qAN0q 3 days ago
Hot off the Press! The weather in Orkney over the last few days has been wet, windy and generally wild! Last night the Kirkwall lifeboat was called out to rescue a yacht which had broken its anchors whilst riding out the storm in Mill Bay, Stronsay. The yacht I believe, had several on board, and with its sails shredded, had to be towed by the lifeboat into Stronsay harbour. The sea was very rough, resulting in one of the lifeboat crew falling on deck and injuring his back. The Air/Sea Rescue helicopter attended, collected the injured man and conveyed him away to hospital. This all happened during the hours of darkness and in atrocious weather conditions. Thank God for these brave and skilled rescuers, and may He bless them, and may Our Blessed Lady, Mary, Star of the Sea, protect and guide them.