Archive for November 17th, 2020

To Think with Christ the King | Church Life Journal | University of Notre  Dame

Introduction: In the 1920s, with the rise of fascism and materialism, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King through his encyclical, Quas Primas  in 1925.  This coming Sunday, the last Sunday  after Pentecost is also the Feast of  Christ the King in many church bodies, including Lutheran churches and congregations.   It could surprise many Lutherans that Christ the King Sunday was established by a Pope! Now my church, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has dropped the designation “Christ the King” for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, nevertheless, this papal designation and the reason for “Christ the King” is still germane to our time.  The Bishop did say many good things in this encyclical.  Below is one quote from his teaching.  In the cusp of ‘Black Friday’ and Advent, this is a more than timely teaching:

The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God’s religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. …we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior…

But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights….

While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.

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