On the Kingship of Christ
Pope Pius XI
Hamish Fraser said in 1976 that Quas Primas was the “greatest non-event in the history of the entire Church.” Was he right? Was the Holy Father just speaking of outdated ideas that have no relevance to our modern age? We shall see.
It should be said that the empire of Our Lord includes all nations, for Christ died for all men, and He has rights, not only as God, but as Redeemer. God owes us nothing, we owe Him everything. Just as we here below on earth have a sense of obligation (in the finite order) to those who have taken care of us, such as our parents, so in the order of man to God we realize an infinite debt only repaid in the Blood of Christ. So He must certainly be King not only as Creator but as Redeemer.
This reign cannot be solely spiritual. Truth, as personified in Our Lord, is the only thing that has “rights,” per se. Error has no rights. It is the errors of the Revolution of 1789 that have spread the ideas of free-thinking and religious liberty. It is from this iniquitous revolt that the absurd idea has come, “let him think as he pleases, his way of thinking is no less important or relevant than yours.” Yet this is manifestly false even by reason. For in society one must abide by arbitrary laws (traffic laws, for example) just to preserve the common good. Thus we can see in the higher moral order that it is even more important to follow established laws (of God) in order to preserve the mental and spiritual health of all.
The false notion of “separation of Church and State” also comes from the so-called “rights of man.” With the fact that the ends of the state and the ends of the Church will naturally overlap in some areas (e.g. laws regarding marriage) it is false to say that religion may say nothing regarding those laws. It is even more of a fallacy to claim that either all religions or no religions have rights. Indeed, reason demands that only one religion contains the fullness of truth. Only that religion may reign freely without impediment. Catholicism is manifestly the true religion, as seen by its fruits. True Christians are the best citizens, submissive in the social order, active in the political order, fervent in the spiritual order, and striving for heaven through the medium of the state. The unity of the Church and the State and its beautiful results was best observed in the 13th century.
Another great error is the notion that power comes from below and is vested in the people (Locke, Hobbes). Yet Our Lord tells Pilate that he would have not power over Him if it were not given him from above. Thus all power of legitimate rulers comes from above, from God. This notion is best (worst?) exemplified in liberal democracy, where legal positivism reigns. What is the law is true, and what is not law is not true. Further, the law can change tomorrow and still be correct. The Catholic notion of the principle of non-contradiction is ignored completely.
How can it be said that such ideas are irrelevant today? With the recognition of all religions as legitimate, no religion is put forth positively as absolutely true, and confusion reigns. Laws are enacted that are directly repugnant to the law of God (abortion) and the Church is excluded from all say in the matter. Further, people are so unhappy and materialistic that they are yearning for truth, yet because of the abolishment of the Reign of Christ the King, they are not shown clearly the way to true happiness and peace. Finally, with the notion that power comes from the people, society becomes unstable and fickle. Italy has had 57 different coalition governments alone since WWII. Without a proper notion of hierarchy the people lose the notion of the eternal and dwell only in the world, of the world, and for the world.
In Tametsi futura, Leo XIII said, “The people have heard enough about what are called the rights of man. Let them hear about the rights of God for once.” Indeed, as human beings we only possess rights which are accorded to us by God. These rights, used in true liberty, will enable us to reach our end: heaven. This notion is particularly relevant today when women speak of a so-called “right to choose.” No woman has a “right” to disobey Divine Law by availing herself of civil law. Divine Law must reign, as it is above the civil law in the natural order.
“Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ!” the Holy Father exclaims. How can these words not be relevant today? Shall the world be the under the reign of William Penn, of Buddha, of Mohammed? The pluralism even of only the past 30 years should show clearly that this path is false and leads nowhere. One religion is right. It is the religion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. By divine and human (through the Incarnation) right He is King over all nations and peoples. We must, not only through the yearly feast and procession of the feast of Christ the King, but in our social action, fight for Our King. Edmund Burke said that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. So too today, Our Lord’s reign can only be brought about by our actions, as we are the branches of His vine. He must reign in our countries and in our hearts. He must reign!
Finally, let us once again recall the wise words of St. Pius X in his encyclical E Supremi Apostolatus: “There is but one party of order capable of restoring peace in the midst of all this turmoil, and that is the party of God.”
We must work for this party of God that all nations may become part of Our Lord’s reign, as is their destiny.
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