Our Lord Jesus Christ
What is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe?
Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas Primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing nationalism and secularism. He recognized that these related societal ills would breed increasing hostility against the Church.
Today reminds us that while governments and philosophies come and go, Christ reigns as King forever.
During the early twentieth century, in Mexico, Russia, and in many parts of Europe, atheistic regimes threatened not just the Catholic Church and its faithful but civilization itself. Pope Pius XI’s encyclical gave Catholics hope and—while governments around them crumbled—the assurance that Christ the King shall reign forever. Pope Pius XI said that Christ “reign[s] ‘in the hearts of men,’ both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind.”
Quas Primas continues to ring true. In recent years, aggressive secularist campaigns have sought to marginalize the Church and other religious institutions. In response to alienation and loss of solidarity – which tend to accompany these secularist assaults – nationalistic movements have sprung up across the western world. Now, as always, we must turn and gaze on the face of Christ, our merciful Lord.