Christ the King

The feast day of Christ the King is one that is commonly forgotten within Catholic circles; however, the feast seems as necessary today as it was when it was first established in 1925 by Pius XI. Christ’s Kingship over all of creation is declared by Christ himself (John 18). Likewise, Christ’s Kingship is affirmed in the Nicene Creed: “of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.” Now it is easy to spiritualize this Kingdom. One may think it is strictly a spiritual, other-worldly kingdom. However, this is only a part of what Catholics celebrate today.

The feast of Christ the King was established to encourage nations of the world to acknowledge Christ’s Kingship over all of creation and to pay him public honor and worship. If nations do not publicly acknowledge Christ as King, there will be no peace between nations (and this is quite prophetic of the great tragedies that would unfold in the twentieth century). It is important to note as well that Pope Pius XI is speaking of a public recognition of Christ’s Kingship—something not confined to the private sphere.

Today there is an on-going debate on how conservatives ought to proceed. Do we work within the framework of liberalism to achieve good ends or do we abandon liberalism altogether and try to restore an integralstate that harmonizes both throne and altar? What is clear from Pius XI’s encyclicalQuas Primasis that private goods cannot be isolated from the common good. The flourishing of a society mandates that there is a genuine common good (that includes the religious dimension of man) in order to facilitate personal, individual flourishing. This may strike modern American sensibilities as problematic. However, upon closer examination, it is important to realize that modern liberalism does not offer a value-free marketplace of ideas. The liberalism of today offers its own vision of the human good: material success, capital, and autonomy are inherent values. Liberalism has ceased to be a “negative” element (as T. S. Eliot put it); it is now a positive ideology that has its own pseudo-metaphysics.

Today we celebrate Christ’s Kingship, which no regime can ever change. Christians need to seriously consider the religious, liturgical nature of liberalism today. The historian Christopher Dawson has noted how man is a religious creature—nothing could be more foreign to human nature than atheism. Man naturally seeks religious expression, and if his faith is waning, he will quickly turn to politics to exult. Why else do elections seem to be life or death today? When politics becomes religious, there is no true hope. But alas, today is a day for feasting for Christians because we celebrate a hope that is only found in Christ’s Kingship: a King who rules with perfect equity, justice, and mercy.

 

 

Jesus, flow through us
Jesus, heal the bruises
Jesus, clean the music
Jesus, please use us
Jesus, please help
Jesus, please heal
Jesus, please forgive
Jesus, please reveal
Jesus, give us strength
Jesus, make us well
Jesus, help us live
Jesus, give us wealth
Jesus is our safe
Jesus is our rock
Jesus, give us grace
Jesus, keep us safe

~”Water,” by Kanye West

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