Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006
Christ the King. Pope Benedict's message.

How did we get this feast-- actually, a solemnity? Pope Pius XI instituted it at a time when "laicism" -- meaning, aggressive official secularism in countries where Catholicism was, how shall I say, deep-seated -- had long been all the puff in France and Germany, had had a spell in power in Portugal, would lead to a major persecution in Spain starting the following years, and would take over briefly but ferociously in Spain six years later.

Under the circumstances, it was inevitable that this feast and some of its imagery would be appropriated by the clericalist rad-trad right, which cites Quas Primas like it owns it. Cela dit, however, QP is still part of the ordinary papal magisterium, and, however uncomfortable it makes us, it says, inter alia,
32. 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 honor 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.
In the present calendar this feast is of course the last Sunday of the liturgical year, but Pius XI placed it, and the calendar in use in the 1962 Missal sector of the Latin Rite still has it, on the last Sunday in October. Is there signifance to the change? One effect is that in the U.S., this solemnity will always come well after Election Day instead of just before it. Hmmmmm....