Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Last Sunday of The Year: Christ the King of the Universe!

For this great Solemnity on the Liturgical Calendar, I refer you to my post this month on the site:

As a citizen of the United States, I have always heard the common comment in homilies for the Solemnity of Christ the King that we Americans don’t really understand or connect with the idea of kingship. After all, our forefathers fought a Revolutionary War to free us from the control of a king. If we think of this feast only in the context of earthly kingship, with its hereditary succession and the possibility of tyranny and despotism, we will miss the point of the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Pope Pius XI established the feast of Christ the King in his encyclical letter, Quas Primas (“In the first which”) issued on December 11, 1925. He referenced his first encyclical letter at the beginning (thus the title) and continued to address “the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring”. The source of those difficulties? “That the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives”; that they had decided Jesus and his holy law “had no place either in private affairs or in politics”.

Read the rest here.

I also refer you to my post last year, in which I asked:

I wonder what Henry VIII would have thought of a Pope establishing a feast which pointed out an authority above the King of England? Henry was a Christian, of course, with devotion to Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer; he worshipped Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar. Would he have been able to separate his own Temporal claims to authority in England and the Pope's proclamation of Jesus's supremacy over all the world, superceding any nationalist claims? I find it interesting that the Church of England celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, but they also mark this Sunday as "Stir up Sunday". The collect for the last Sunday of the liturgical year begins with the words "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people" and it is the day to start making the Christmas pudding!!
Here are some comments on the Anglican adoption of the Feast of Christ the King from Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford from the sermon last year:  

And if really want to be picky and Little Britain‐ish about the Feast of Christ the King you would perhaps regret that the Feast itself is of Continental and Catholic origin, inaugurated by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a counterblast to secularism and fascism. It was meant to bring confidence to a Church that was beleaguered, and to send a signal to aspiring European politicians that the Church was still a forceful presence in society. When the Feast was adopted by the Church of England there was not in fact much controversy. Those who looked naturally towards Rome wanted to be in tune with the Roman calendar; those of more evangelical and Protestant persuasion had long been drawn by the theme of the Kingship of Christ, and the only real murmurings of liturgical dissent came from those liberal minded republicans in the Church of England who disliked the emphasis on Christ as king on grounds that it smacks of triumphalism. Something of that nervousness broke through when the Church debated the naming of this season leading up to Advent which was being called the Kingdom season. Nervousness prevailed, and though we boldly call this the Kingdom Season here at Christ Church, the liturgical books call the season From All Saints to Advent.

Oh well, the Catholic Church in the Roman Rite calls the season between Easter and Advent "Ordinary Time"--in the Novus Ordo at least (it has been the season After Pentecost on the Extraordinary Form calendar and today is the last Sunday of that season with the same Collect to get stirred up!)

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