“When once men recognize, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty”
It is a common misconception, that the faithful do not hold a belief universally until it is formally declared by the Church. But this is not the way of things. The Church makes a formal declaration, be it a doctrine, a dogma, a teaching, or even a feast-day or solemnity, in response to a need.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is a good example. Detractors will point to the Council of Trent, in the 16th century, as the basis for our belief that marriage is a sacrament of the Church that conveys an increase in sanctifying grace. They will infer that before the council, marriage was not thought of as a sacrament.
This of course is not true. The belief in marriage as a sacrament can be traced back to apostolic times. It was defined at Trent in response to the so-called reformers who denied the sacramental character of the sacrament.
The aftermath of World War I, followed so quickly by World War II, sparked a massive change in western society and culture. People searched for a cause of all the horror and bloodshed and loss they had endured for so many years. In the minds of many leaders, it was the “old way” of doing thing that was responsible for all the world’s ills. And so anything that was considered “the old way” was abandoned. Unfortunately Christian values and teachings and morals were caught up in what was considered the “old way.” Thus began a turning away from Christianity that has continued to this day, growing only stronger with each passing year.
It is not true that Christianity is responsible for all the troubles of the world. We must not believe the lie that all religions are the same. We must reject the claim that following Christ has no place in formulating the laws and customs of our communities. If we exclude Christ and Christian values from public life, we will only give more room for the new paganism to flourish.
It is only through Christianity, for example, that we came to realize that slavery was an injustice and it was gradually eliminated. Christianity is responsible for schools and hospitals. The Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in he world.
In 1925 Pope Pius XI responded to the abandoning of Christian values by instituting the solemnity of “Christ the King.” On that occasion he wrote:
“When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony… That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to that end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ.” (Quas primas, 19, 21)
The solemnity serves as a reminder to the world that we can do nothing without Christ. To reject Him is to reject our only hope, to accept Him is to accept eternal life.
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith and the spiritual “hero’s journey” that is part of every person’s life. He maintains a blog at www.DeaconLawrence.org and can be reached at Lawrence@deaconlawrence.com