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"Tear away the mask from Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII

QUAS PRIMUS

ON THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS Xl

DECEMBER 11, 1925

To   Our   Venerable   Brethren  the  Patriarchs,
Primates,   Archbishops,   Bishops,   and   other
Ordinaries   in  Peace  and  Communion  with  the
Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Greeting  and  the  Apostolic
Benediction.

In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed
at  the  beginning  of  Our  Pontificate  to  the
Bishops  of  the universal Church, We referred to
the chief causes of the difficulties under  which
mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that
these manifold evils in the world were due to the
fact  that  the  majority of men had thrust Jesus
Christ and His holy law out of their lives;  that
these  had  no place either in private affairs or
in politics: and we said further, that as long as
individuals  and  states refused to submit to the
rule of our Savior,  there  would  be  no  really
hopeful   prospect   of  a  lasting  peace  among
nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in
the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do
as far as lay in Our power.  In  the  Kingdom  of
Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could
not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a
firmer  basis than through the restoration of the
Empire of Our Lord. We were led in  the  meantime
to  indulge  the hope of a brighter future at the
sight of a more widespread  and  keener  interest
evinced  in Christ and His Church, the one Source
of Salvation, a sign that men  who  had  formerly
spurned  the  rule of our Redeemer and had exiled
themselves from His kingdom were  preparing,  and
even   hastening,   to  return  to  the  duty  of
obedience.

2. The many notable and  memorable  events  which
have  occurred  during  this Holy Year have given
great honor and glory to Our Lord and  King,  the
Founder of the Church.

3.  At  the  Missionary  Exhibition men have been
deeply impressed in seeing the increasing zeal of
the  Church  for the spread of the kingdom of her
Spouse to the most far  distant  regions  of  the
earth.  They  have  seen  how many countries have
been  won  to  the  Catholic  name  through   the
unremitting    labor    and   self-sacrifice   of
missionaries, and the  vastness  of  the  regions
which  have  yet to be subjected to the sweet and
saving yoke of our King. All  those  who  in  the
course  of  the  Holy  Year have thronged to this
city under the leadership  of  their  Bishops  or
priests  had  but  one  aim -- namely, to expiate
their sins -- and at the tombs  of  the  Apostles
and  in  Our  Presence  to promise loyalty to the
rule of Christ.

4. A still further light of glory was  shed  upon
his kingdom, when after due proof of their heroic
virtue, We raised to the honors of the altar  six
confessors  and  virgins.  It  was a great joy, a
great consolation, that filled Our heart when  in
the majestic basilica of St. Peter Our decree was
acclaimed by an immense multitude with  the  hymn
of  thanksgiving,  Tu Rex gloriae Christe. We saw
men and nations cut off  from  God,  stirring  up
strife and discord and hurrying along the road to
ruin and death, while the Church of  God  carries
on  her  work of providing food for the spiritual
life of men, nurturing and  fostering  generation
after  generation  of  men and women dedicated to
Christ,  faithful  and  subject  to  Him  in  his
earthly  kingdom,  called by Him to eternal bliss
in the kingdom of Heaven.

5. Moreover, since this jubilee  Year  marks  the
sixteenth  centenary of the Council of Nicaea, We
commanded that event to  be  celebrated,  and  We
have  done so in the Vatican basilica. There is a
special reason for this in that the Nicene  Synod
defined  and  proposed  for  Catholic  belief the
dogma   of   the   Consubstantiality    of    the
Onlybegotten  with  the  Father, and added to the
Creed the words "of whose kingdom there shall  be
no  end," thereby affirming the kingly dignity of
Christ.

6. Since this Holy Year  therefore  has  provided
more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of
the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with
our  Apostolic  office to accede to the desire of
many of the  Cardinals,  Bishops,  and  faithful,
made   known   to   Us   both   individually  and
collectively, by closing this Holy Year with  the
insertion  into  the  Sacred Liturgy of a special
feast of the Kingship of Our Lord  Jesus  Christ.
This  matter  is  so dear to Our heart, Venerable
Brethren, that I would wish to address to  you  a
few words concerning it. It will be for you later
to  explain   in   a   manner   suited   to   the
understanding  of  the faithful what We are about
to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that
the  annual  feast  which  We shall decree may be
attended with much fruit and  produce  beneficial
results in the future.

7.  It  has  long been a common custom to give to
Christ the metaphorical title of "King,"  because
of  the  high  degree  of  perfection  whereby He
excels all creatures. So He is said to reign  "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. He reigns, too, in the
wills of men, for  in  Him  the  human  will  was
perfectly  and entirely obedient to the Holy Will
of God, and further by His grace and  inspiration
he  so  subjects our free-will as to incite us to
the most noble endeavors. He is King  of  hearts,
too,  by  reason  of his "charity which exceedeth
all knowledge." And  His  mercy  and  kindness[1]
which  draw all men to him, for never has it been
known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved  so
much  and  so universally as Jesus Christ. But if
we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot  but
see  that the title and the power of King belongs
to Christ as man in the strict and  proper  sense
too. For it is only as man that He may be said to
have received from the Father  "power  and  glory
and  a  kingdom,"[2]  since  the  Word of God, as
consubstantial with the Father, has all things in
common  with  Him,  and therefore has necessarily
supreme and absolute  dominion  over  all  things
created.

8.  Do we not read throughout the Scriptures that
Christ is the King? He it is that shall come  out
of  Jacob  to  rule,[3]  Who  has been set by the
Father as king over Sion,  His  holy  mount,  and
shall  have the Gentiles for his inheritance, and
the  utmost  parts   of   the   earth   for   his
possession.[4]  In  the  nuptial  hymn, where the
future King of Israel is hailed as  a  most  rich
and  powerful  monarch,  we  read: "Thy throne, O
God, is for ever and ever;  the  scepter  of  thy
kingdom  is a scepter of righteousness."[5] There
are many similar passages, but there  is  one  in
which Christ is even more clearly indicated. Here
it is foretold that  His  kingdom  will  have  no
limits,  and  will  be  enriched with justice and
peace: "in His days shall justice spring up,  and
abundance  of  peace . . . And He shall rule from
sea to sea, and from the river unto the  ends  of
the earth."[6]

9.  The  testimony  of  the Prophets is even more
abundant. That of Isaias is well  known:  "For  a
child is born to us and a son is given to us, and
the government is upon his shoulder, and His name
shall  be  called  Wonderful,  Counselor, God the
mighty, the Father of  the  world  to  come,  the
Prince  of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied,
and there shall be no end of peace. He shall  sit
upon the throne of David and upon His kingdom; to
establish it and strengthen it with judgment  and
with  justice,  from henceforth and for ever."[7]
With Isaias the other Prophets are in  agreement.
So  Jeremias foretells the "just seed" that shall
rest from the house of David -- the Son of  David
that shall reign as king, "and shall be wise, and
shall  execute  judgment  and  justice   in   the
earth."[8]  So,  too,  Daniel,  who announces the
kingdom that the God of heaven shall found, "that
shall  never  be  destroyed,  and shall stand for
ever."[9]  And  again   he   says:   "I   beheld,
therefore,  in  the vision of the night, and, lo!
one like the son of man came with the  clouds  of
heaven.  And He came even to the Ancient of days:
and they presented Him before Him.  And  He  gave
Him  power  and  glory  and  a  kingdom:  and all
peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him. His
power  is  an everlasting power that shall not be
taken  away,  and  His  kingdom  shall   not   be
destroyed."[10]    The    prophecy   of   Zachary
concerning the merciful King "riding upon an  ass
and  upon  a  colt  the  foal of an ass" entering
Jerusalem as "the  just  and  savior,"  amid  the
acclamations of the multitude,[11] was recognized
as fulfilled by the holy evangelists themselves.

10. This same doctrine of the Kingship of  Christ
which  we have found in the Old Testament is even
more clearly taught and confirmed in the New. The
Archangel,  announcing  to  the  Virgin  that she
should bear a Son, says that "the Lord God  shall
give unto Him the throne of David his father, and
he shall reign in the house of  Jacob  for  ever;
and of His kingdom there shall be no end."[12]

11.  Moreover,  Christ  himself speaks of His own
kingly authority: in his last discourse, speaking
of  the  rewards and punishments that will be the
eternal lot of the just and the  damned;  in  His
reply  to  the  Roman  magistrate,  who asked Him
publicly whether He were a king or not; after His
resurrection,  when  giving  to  His Apostles the
mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, He
took  the  opportunity  to call Himself king,[13]
confirming the title publicly,[14]  and  solemnly
proclaimed that all power was given Him in Heaven
and on earth.[15] These words can only  be  taken
to  indicate  the  greatness  of  his  power, the
infinite extent  of  His  kingdom.  What  wonder,
then,  that He whom St. John calls the "prince of
the  kings  of  the  earth"[16]  appears  in  the
Apostle's vision of the future as He Who "hath on
His garment and on His  thigh  written  'King  of
kings and Lord of lords!'."[17] It is Christ Whom
the  Father   "hath   appointed   heir   of   all
things";[18]  "for He must reign until at the end
of the world He hath put all  his  enemies  under
the feet of God and the Father."[19]

12.  It  was  surely  right, then, in view of the
common teaching of the  sacred  books,  that  the
Catholic  Church,  which is the kingdom of Christ
on earth, destined to be spread among all men and
all   nations,   should   with   every  token  of
veneration salute her Author and Founder  in  her
annual  liturgy  as King and Lord, and as King of
Kings. And,  in  fact,  she  used  these  titles,
giving   expression  with  wonderful  variety  of
language to one and the  same  concept,  both  in
ancient  psalmody  and in the Sacramentaries. She
uses them  daily  now  in  the  prayers  publicly
offered  to  God,  and in offering the Immaculate
Victim.  The  perfect  harmony  of  the   Eastern
liturgies  with  our own in this continual praise
of Christ the King shows once more the  truth  of
the    axiom:    Legem   credendi   lex   statuit
supplicandi. The rule of faith  is  indicated  by
the law of our worship.

13.  The  foundation of this power and dignity of
Our  Lord  is  rightly  indicated  by  Cyril   of
Alexandria. "Christ," he says, "has dominion over
all creatures, a dominion not seized by  violence
nor   usurped,   but   His   by  essence  and  by
nature."[20] His kingship  is  founded  upon  the
ineffable  hypostatic union. From this it follows
not only that Christ is to be  adored  by  angels
and  men,  but  that to Him as man angels and men
are subject, and must recognize  His  empire;  by
reason  of  the hypostatic union Christ has power
over all creatures. But a thought that must  give
us  even greater joy and consolation is this that
Christ is our King by acquired,  as  well  as  by
natural right, for He is our Redeemer. Would that
they who forget what they have cost their  Savior
might  recall  the  words: "You were not redeemed
with corruptible things, but  with  the  Precious
Blood  of  Christ,  as  of  a  lamb unspotted and
undefiled."[21]  We  are  no   longer   our   own
property,  for  Christ  has  purchased us "with a
great  price";[22]  our  very  bodies   are   the
"members of Christ."[23]

14. Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning
of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We  need
scarcely  say,  in  a  threefold  power  which is
essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear
from  the  scriptural  testimony  already adduced
concerning  the   universal   dominion   of   our
Redeemer,  and  moreover  it  is a dogma of faith
that Jesus Christ was given to man, not  only  as
our  Redeemer,  but  also as a law-giver, to whom
obedience is due.[24] Not  only  do  the  gospels
tell  us  that He made laws, but they present him
to us in the act of making them. Those  who  keep
them show their love for their Divine Master, and
He  promises  that  they  shall  remain  in   his
love.[25]  He  claimed judicial power as received
from his Father, when the  Jews  accused  Him  of
breaking  the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a
sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge  any
man; but hath given all judgment to the Son."[26]
In this power is included the right of  rewarding
and  punishing  all men living, for this right is
inseparable  from  that  of  judging.   Executive
power,  too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey
His commands;  none  may  escape  them,  nor  the
sanctions He has imposed.

15.  This  kingdom  is spiritual and is concerned
with spiritual things. That this is so the  above
quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ
by His own action confirms it. On many occasions,
when  the  Jews  and  even  the  Apostles wrongly
supposed  that  the  Messiah  would  restore  the
liberties  and the kingdom of Israel, He repelled
and denied such a suggestion. When  the  populace
thronged  around Him in admiration and would have
acclaimed Him King, He shrank from the honor  and
sought   safety   in  flight.  Before  the  Roman
magistrate He declared that His kingdom  was  not
of  this  world. The gospels present this kingdom
as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and
cannot  actually  enter  except  by  faith and by
baptism,  which,   though   an   external   rite,
signifies  and produces an interior regeneration.
This kingdom is opposed to  none  other  than  to
that  of  Satan  and to the power of darkness. It
demands of its subjects a  spirit  of  detachment
from  riches  and earthly things, and a spirit of
gentleness. They must  hunger  and  thirst  after
justice,  and  more  than  this,  they  must deny
themselves and carry the cross.

16. Christ as our Redeemer purchased  the  Church
at  the  price  of  His  own  Blood; as priest He
offered Himself, and continues to  offer  Himself
as  a  victim  for  our  sins. Is it not evident,
then, that  His  kingly  dignity  partakes  in  a
manner of both these offices?

17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand,
to say that Christ has no authority  whatever  in
civil  affairs,  since, by virtue of the absolute
empire over all creatures committed to Him by the
Father,    all   things   are   in   His   power.
Nevertheless,  during  His  life  on   earth   He
refrained  from  the  exercise of such authority,
and although He Himself disdained to  possess  or
to  care  for earthly goods, He did not, nor does
He today, interfere with those who possess  them.
Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.[27]

18.  Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all
men.  To  use   the   words   of   Our   immortal
predecessor,  Pope Leo XIII: "His empire includes
not only  Catholic  nations,  not  only  baptized
persons  who,  though  of  right belonging to the
Church, have been led astray by  error,  or  have
been  cut  off  from  her by schism, but also all
those who are outside  the  Christian  faith;  so
that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the
power of Jesus  Christ."[28]  Nor  is  there  any
difference  in this matter between the individual
and the family or the State; for all men, whether
collectively   or  individually,  are  under  the
dominion of Christ. In Him is  the  salvation  of
the  individual,  in  Him  is  the  salvation  of
society.  "Neither  is  there  salvation  in  any
other,  for  there  is no other Name under Heaven
given to men whereby we must be saved."[29] He is
the  author  of happiness and true prosperity for
every man and for every nation. "For a nation  is
happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a
nation  but   a   number   of   men   living   in
concord?"[30]   If,   therefore,  the  rulers  of
nations wish  to  preserve  their  authority,  to
promote  and  increase  the  prosperity  of their
countries, they will not neglect the public  duty
of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ.
What We said at the beginning of Our  Pontificate
concerning  the  decline of public authority, and
the lack of respect for the same, is equally true
at  the present day. "With God and Jesus Christ,"
we said,  "excluded  from  political  life,  with
authority  derived not from God but from man, the
very basis of that authority has been taken away,
because  the  chief  reason  of  the  distinction
between ruler and subject  has  been  eliminated.
The  result is that human society is tottering to
its fall, because it has no longer a  secure  and
solid foundation."[31]

19.  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.  Our  Lord's  regal  office  invests the
human authority of  princes  and  rulers  with  a
religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's
duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St.
Paul,  while bidding wives revere Christ in their
husbands, and  slaves  respect  Christ  in  their
masters, warns them to give obedience to them not
as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for  it
is  not  meet  that men redeemed by Christ should
serve their fellow-men. "You are  bought  with  a
price;  be  not made the bond-slaves of men."[32]
If  princes  and  magistrates  duly  elected  are
filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by
their own right, but by the mandate  and  in  the
place  of  the  Divine  King,  they will exercise
their authority piously and wisely, and they will
make laws and administer them, having in view the
common good and also the human dignity  of  their
subjects.  The  result will be a stable peace and
tranquillity, for there will  be  no  longer  any
cause  of  discontent. Men will see in their king
or in their rulers men like  themselves,  perhaps
unworthy  or open to criticism, but they will not
on that account  refuse  obedience  if  they  see
reflected in them the authority of Christ God and
Man. Peace and harmony,  too,  will  result;  for
with  the  spread and the universal extent of the
kingdom of Christ men will become more  and  more
conscious  of  the link that binds them together,
and thus many conflicts will be either  prevented
entirely  or  at  least  their bitterness will be
diminished.

20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives,  as
it should, all nations under its way, there seems
no reason why we should despair  of  seeing  that
peace  which  the  King of Peace came to bring on
earth -- He who came to reconcile all things, who
came  not  to be ministered unto but to minister,
who, though Lord of all, gave Himself to us as  a
model  of  humility,  and  with His principal law
united the precept of charity; Who said also: "My
yoke  is  sweet  and  My  burden light." Oh, what
happiness would be Ours if all men,  individuals,
families,  and  nations, would but let themselves
be governed by Christ! "Then at length,"  to  use
the  words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo
XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the
Universal Church, "then at length will many evils
be cured; then will the  law  regain  its  former
authority;   peace  with  all  its  blessings  be
restored. Men will sheathe their swords  and  lay
down  their  arms when all freely acknowledge and
obey the authority of Christ,  and  every  tongue
confesses  that  the  Lord Jesus Christ is in the
glory of God the Father."[33]

21. 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 the end nothing would serve  better  than  the
institution  of  a  special feast in honor of the
Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed  in
the  truths  of  faith, and brought to appreciate
the inner joys of religion far  more  effectually
by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries
than  by  any  official  pronouncement   of   the
teaching   of  the  Church.  Such  pronouncements
usually reach only a few  and  the  more  learned
among  the  faithful;  feasts reach them all; the
former speak but once,  the  latter  speak  every
year  --  in fact, forever. The Church's teaching
affects the mind  primarily;  her  feasts  affect
both  mind  and heart, and have a salutary effect
upon the whole of man's nature. Man  is  composed
of  body  and  soul,  and he needs these external
festivities so that  the  sacred  rites,  in  all
their  beauty  and  variety, may stimulate him to
drink  more  deeply  of  the  fountain  of  God's
teaching,  that he may make it a part of himself,
and use it with profit for his spiritual life.

22. History, in fact, tells us that in the course
of  ages these festivals have been instituted one
after another  according  as  the  needs  or  the
advantage  of  the  people  of  Christ  seemed to
demand: as when they needed strength  to  face  a
common   danger,   when  they  were  attacked  by
insidious heresies, when they needed to be  urged
to  the  pious  consideration  of some mystery of
faith or of some divine  blessing.  Thus  in  the
earliest  days  of  the  Christian  era, when the
people   of   Christ   were    suffering    cruel
persecution, the cult of the martyrs was begun in
order, says St. Augustine, "that  the  feasts  of
the  martyrs  might incite men to martyrdom."[34]
The liturgical honors paid to confessors, virgins
and  widows  produced  wonderful  results  in  an
increased zest  for  virtue,  necessary  even  in
times  of peace. But more fruitful still were the
feasts instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin.
As  a  result of these men grew not only in their
devotion to the Mother of God as an  ever-present
advocate,  but  also  in  their  love of her as a
mother bequeathed to them by their Redeemer.  Not
least  among  the  blessings  which have resulted
from the public and legitimate honor paid to  the
Blessed  Virgin and the saints is the perfect and
perpetual immunity of the Church from  error  and
heresy.  We may well admire in this the admirable
wisdom  of  the  Providence  of  God,  who,  ever
bringing  good out of evil, has from time to time
suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak,
and  allowed  Catholic  truth  to  be attacked by
false doctrines, but always with the result  that
truth  has  afterwards  shone  out  with  greater
splendor, and that men's faith, aroused from  its
lethargy,  has  shown  itself  more vigorous than
before.

23. The festivals that have been introduced  into
the  liturgy  in  more  recent  years  have had a
similar  origin,  and  have  been  attended  with
similar  results.  When reverence and devotion to
the Blessed Sacrament had grown cold,  the  feast
of  Corpus  Christi  was  instituted,  so that by
means of solemn processions and prayer  of  eight
days' duration, men might be brought once more to
render public homage  to  Christ.  So,  too,  the
feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted
at a time when men were oppressed by the sad  and
gloomy  severity  of  Jansenism,  which  had made
their hearts grow cold, and shut  them  out  from
the love of God and the hope of salvation.

24.  If  We  ordain that the whole Catholic world
shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to
the need of the present day, and at the same time
provide an excellent remedy for the plague  which
now  infects  society.  We refer to the plague of
anti-clericalism,   its   errors   and    impious
activities.  This  evil  spirit,  as you are well
aware, Venerable  Brethren,  has  not  come  into
being  in one day; it has long lurked beneath the
surface. The empire of Christ  over  all  nations
was rejected. 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  lamented
these  in  the  Encyclical  Ubi arcano; 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. It would  be  the  duty  of
Catholics  to do all they can to bring about this
happy  result.  Many  of  these,  however,   have
neither  the station in society nor the authority
which should belong to those who bear  the  torch
of  truth.  This  state  of things may perhaps be
attributed to a certain slowness and timidity  in
good  people,  who  are  reluctant  to  engage in
conflict or oppose but a  weak  resistance;  thus
the  enemies of the Church become bolder in their
attacks. 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.

25.   Moreover,   the   annual   and    universal
celebration  of  the  feast  of  the  Kingship of
Christ will draw attention  to  the  evils  which
anticlericalism   has  brought  upon  society  in
drawing men away from Christ, and  will  also  do
much  to  remedy  them.  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.

26. The way has been happily  and  providentially
prepared  for  the celebration of this feast ever
since the end of the last  century.  It  is  well
known  that  this  cult  has  been the subject of
learned disquisitions in many books published  in
every   part   of  the  world,  written  in  many
different languages. The kingship and  empire  of
Christ  have been recognized in the pious custom,
practiced  by  many   families,   of   dedicating
themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only
families have performed this act  of  dedication,
but  nations,  too,  and  kingdoms.  In fact, the
whole of the human race was at  the  instance  of
Pope Leo XIII, in the Holy Year 1900, consecrated
to the Divine Heart. It should be  remarked  also
that  much  has  been done for the recognition of
Christ's authority over society by  the  frequent
Eucharistic Congresses which are held in our age.
These give an opportunity to the people  of  each
diocese,  district  or  nation,  and to the whole
world of coming together to  venerate  and  adore
Christ  the  King  hidden  under  the Sacramental
species. Thus by sermons preached at meetings and
in  churches,  by public adoration of the Blessed
Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions,  men
unite  in  paying  homage to Christ, whom God has
given them for their King.  It  is  by  a  divine
inspiration that the people of Christ bring forth
Jesus from his silent hiding-place in the Church,
and  carry  him in triumph through the streets of
the city, so that he whom men refused to  receive
when  he  came  unto  his own, may now receive in
full his kingly rights.

27. For the fulfillment of the plan of  which  We
have spoken, the Holy Year, which is now speeding
to  its   close,   offers   the   best   possible
opportunity.  For  during  this  year  the God of
mercy has raised the  minds  and  hearts  of  the
faithful   to   the   consideration  of  Heavenly
blessings which are above all understanding,  has
either  restored  them once more to His grace, or
inciting them anew to strive  for  higher  gifts,
has  set  their  feet  more firmly in the path of
righteousness. Whether,  therefore,  We  consider
the  many prayers that have been addressed to Us,
or look to the events of the Jubilee  Year,  just
past,  We  have  every  reason  to think that the
desired  moment  has  at   length   arrived   for
enjoining  that  Christ be venerated by a special
feast as King of all mankind. In this year, as We
said  at the beginning of this Letter, the Divine
King, truly wonderful in all His works, has  been
gloriously  magnified, for another company of His
soldiers has been added to the list of saints. In
this year men have looked upon strange things and
strange labors, from which they  have  understood
and  admired the victories won by missionaries in
the work of spreading His kingdom. In this  year,
by  solemnly  celebrating  the  centenary  of the
Council  of  Nicaea.  We  have  commemorated  the
definition of the Divinity of the Word Incarnate,
the foundation of Christ's empire over all men.

28.  Therefore  by  Our  Apostolic  Authority  We
institute  the  Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord
Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the
whole  world  on  the last Sunday of the month of
October -- the Sunday, that is, which immediately
precedes  the  Feast  of  All  Saints. We further
ordain that the  dedication  of  mankind  to  the
Sacred  Heart  of Jesus, which Our predecessor of
saintly memory, Pope  Pius  X,  commanded  to  be
renewed  yearly,  be  made  annually on that day.
This year, however, We desire that it be observed
on the thirty-first day of the month on which day
We  Ourselves  shall  celebrate  pontifically  in
honor  of  the  kingship  of  Christ,  and  shall
command that the same dedication be performed  in
Our  presence. It seems to Us that We cannot in a
more fitting manner close  this  Holy  Year,  nor
better  signify  Our  gratitude  and  that of the
whole  of  the  Catholic  world  to  Christ   the
immortal King of ages, for the blessings showered
upon Us, upon the Church, and upon  the  Catholic
world during this holy period.

29. It is not necessary, Venerable Brethren, that
We should explain to you at  any  length  why  We
have  decreed  that this feast of the Kingship of
Christ should be observed in  addition  to  those
other  feasts  in  which  His  kingly  dignity is
already signified and celebrated. It will suffice
to  remark that although in all the feasts of our
Lord the material object of  worship  is  Christ,
nevertheless  their  formal  object  is something
quite distinct from His royal title and  dignity.
We  have  commanded its observance on a Sunday in
order that not only the clergy may perform  their
duty  by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but
that the laity too, free from their daily  tasks,
may  in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony
of their obedience and subjection to Christ.  The
last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient
of all for this purpose, because it is at the end
of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the
Kingship of Christ sets the crowning  glory  upon
the  mysteries  of  the  life  of  Christ already
commemorated  during  the   year,   and,   before
celebrating  the  triumph  of  all the Saints, we
proclaim and extol the glory of Him Who  triumphs
in  all  the Saints and in all the Elect. Make it
your duty and your task, Venerable  Brethren,  to
see  that  sermons  are preached to the people in
every parish to teach them the  meaning  and  the
importance  of this feast, that they may so order
their lives as  to  be  worthy  of  faithful  and
obedient subjects of the Divine King.

30.  We would now, Venerable Brethren, in closing
this  letter,  briefly  enumerate  the  blessings
which  We hope and pray may accrue to the Church,
to society, and to each one of the faithful, as a
result  of  the public veneration of the Kingship
of Christ.

31. When we pay honor to the princely dignity  of
Christ,  men  will doubtless be reminded that the
Church, founded by Christ as a  perfect  society,
has  a  natural  and inalienable right to perfect
freedom and immunity from the power of the state;
and  that in fulfilling the task committed to her
by  God  of  teaching,  ruling,  and  guiding  to
eternal  bliss those who belong to the kingdom of
Christ, she cannot be  subject  to  any  external
power.  The  State  is  bound  to  extend similar
freedom  to  the  orders   and   communities   of
religious  of  either sex, who give most valuable
help to the Bishops of the Church by laboring for
the   extension  and  the  establishment  of  the
kingdom of Christ.  By  their  sacred  vows  they
fight  against the threefold concupiscence of the
world; by making profession  of  a  more  perfect
life  they  render  the holiness which her divine
Founder   willed   should   be   a    mark    and
characteristic  of  his  Church more striking and
more conspicuous in the eyes of all.

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.

33. The faithful, moreover,  by  meditating  upon
these   truths,   will  gain  much  strength  and
courage, enabling them to form their lives  after
the  true  Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord
is given all power in Heaven and on earth; if all
men,  purchased  by  his precious blood, are by a
new right subjected  to  His  dominion;  if  this
power embraces all men, it must be clear that not
one of our faculties is exempt from  His  empire.
He  must  reign in our minds, which should assent
with  perfect  submission  and  firm  belief   to
revealed  truths  and to the doctrines of Christ.
He must reign in our wills, which should obey the
laws  and  precepts  of God. He must reign in our
hearts, which should spurn  natural  desires  and
love  God  above  all  things,  and cleave to Him
alone. He must reign in our  bodies  and  in  our
members,  which  should  serve as instruments for
the interior sanctification of our souls,  or  to
use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments
of justice unto God.[35] If all these truths  are
presented    to    the    faithful    for   their
consideration,  they  will   prove   a   powerful
incentive   to  perfection.  It  is  Our  fervent
desire, Venerable Brethren, that  those  who  are
without  the  fold  may seek after and accept the
sweet yoke of Christ, and that  we,  who  by  the
mercy  of  God are of the household of the faith,
may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy,
with  love,  with devotion; that having lived our
lives  in  accordance  with  the  laws  of  God's
kingdom,  we  may  receive  full  measure of good
fruit, and counted by Christ  good  and  faithful
servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal
bliss and glory with Him in His Heavenly kingdom.

34. Let this letter,  Venerable  Brethren,  be  a
token to you of Our fatherly love as the Feast of
the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ draws near;
and receive the Apostolic Benediction as a pledge
of divine blessings, which with loving heart,  We
impart   to  you,  Venerable  Brethren,  to  your
clergy, and to your people.

Given at St. Peter's Rome, on the eleventh day of
the month of December, in the Holy Year 1925, the
fourth of Our Pontificate.

REFERENCES:

1. Eph. iii, 9.
2. Dan. vii, 13-14.
3. Num. xxiv, 19.
4. Ps. ii.
5. Ps. xliv.
6. Ps. Ixxi.
7. Isa. ix, 6-7.
8. Jer. xxiii, 5.
9. Dan.  ii,  44.
10. Dan.  vii,  13-14.
11.  Zach. ix, 9.
12. Luc. i, 32-33.
13. Matt. xxv, 31-40.
14. Joan. xviii, 37.
15.  Matt.  xxviii, 18.
16. Apoc. 1, 5.
17. Apoc.
xix, 16.
18. Heb. 1, 2.
19. Cf. 1  Cor.  xv,  25.
20.  In  huc.  x.
21. I Pet. i, 18-19.
22. 1 Cor. vi, 20.
23. I Cor. vi, 15.
24. Conc. Trid.  Sess. Vl, can. 21.
25. Joan. xiv, 15; xv, 10.
26. Joan. v, 22.
27. Hymn for the Epiphany.
28. Enc.  Annum Sacrum,  May  25,  1899.
29. Acts iv, 12.
30. S. Aug. Ep. ad Macedonium,  c.  iii.
31. Enc.  Ubi Arcano.
32. I Cor.vii,23.
33. Enc. Annum Sanctum, May 25, 1899.
34. Sermo 47 de Sanctis.
35. Rom. vi, 13.


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