Pope Leo XIII on Christ the King

From Annum Sacrum:

3. This world-wide and solemn testimony of allegiance and piety is especially appropriate to Jesus Christ, who is the Head and Supreme Lord of the race. His empire extends not only over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are deprived of the Christian faith, so that the whole human race is most truly under the power of Jesus Christ. For He who is the Only-begotten Son of God the Father, having the same substance with Him and being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance (Hebrews i., 3) necessarily has everything in common with the Father, and therefore sovereign power over all things. This is why the Son of God thus speaks of Himself through the Prophet: “But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain. . . The Lord said to me, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm, ii.). By these words He declares that He has power from God over the whole Church, which is signified by Mount Sion, and also over the rest of the world to its uttermost ends. On what foundation this sovereign power rests is made sufficiently plain by the words, “Thou art My Son.” For by the very fact that He is the Son of the King of all, He is also the heir of all His Father’s power: hence the words-“I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance,” which are similar to those used by Paul the Apostle, “whom he bath appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews i., 2).

4. But we should now give most special consideration to the declarations made by Jesus Christ, not through the Apostles or the Prophets but by His own words. To the Roman Governor who asked Him, “Art thou a king then?” He answered unhesitatingly, “Thou sayest that I am a king” (John xviii. 37). And the greatness of this power and the boundlessness of His kingdom is still more clearly declared in these words to the Apostles: “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew xxviii., 18). If then all power has been given to Christ it follows of necessity that His empire must be supreme, absolute and independent of the will of any other, so that none is either equal or like unto it: and since it has been given in heaven and on earth it ought to have heaven and earth obedient to it. And verily he has acted on this extraordinary and peculiar right when He commanded His Apostles to preach His doctrine over the earth, to gather all men together into the one body of the Church by the baptism of salvation, and to bind them by laws, which no one could reject without risking his eternal salvation.

5. But this is not all. Christ reigns nor only by natural right as the Son of God, but also by a right that He has acquired. For He it was who snatched us “from the power of darkness” (Colossians i., 13), and “gave Himself for the redemption of all” (I Timothy ii., 6). Therefore not only Catholics, and those who have duly received Christian baptism, but also all men, individually and collectively, have become to Him “a purchased people” (I Peter ii., 9). St. Augustine’s words are therefore to the point when he says: “You ask what price He paid? See what He gave and you will understand how much He paid. The price was the blood of Christ. What could cost so much but the whole world, and all its people? The great price He paid was paid for all” (T. 120 on St. John).

6. How it comes about that infidels themselves are subject to the power and dominion of Jesus Christ is clearly shown by St. Thomas, who gives us the reason and its explanation. For having put the question whether His judicial power extends to all men, and having stated that judicial authority flows naturally from royal authority, he concludes decisively as follows: “All things are subject to Christ as far as His power is concerned, although they are not all subject to Him in the exercise of that power” (3a., p., q. 59, a. 4). This sovereign power of Christ over men is exercised by truth, justice, and above all, by charity.

4 Responses to Pope Leo XIII on Christ the King

  • Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King, the final Sunday before Advent…according to the calendar used by the Novus Ordo. Christ the King was observed in October according to the Tridentine Mass.

    Despite my sinfulness, or perhaps because of it, I have long been drawn to the Latin Mass. I experience no piano playing – as if in a hotel lounge – during the Latin Mass. At any rate, the calendar for the Mass of Paul VI and the TLM should be made uniform. The Latin Mass and the Byzantine Catholic church measure time according to the Sundays after Pentecost. Ordinary time sounds so dull.

  • Hey, Penguins you must be very young. This 74-year old Crandle Catholic was weaned and nurtured with the Latin High Mass solemnly celebrated with the accompaniment of the Church Organ’s Melodies of the Gregorian Mass. The most revered Hymn I remember is the Te Deum and Die Sirae of the Funeral Holy Mass – no longer played or remembered. The Easter Hymns were truly Spirit-filled. Yet, I have no quarrel with the Vatican II Holy Mass except where they distorted the Ancient Catholic Prayers of the Holy Mass and especially the Prayer of the Consecration where Jesus said that His Blood will be poured out “for many” and NOT FOR ALL. Providentially, that has been restored by the New Lectionary. But I suffer silently the noisy Casino-like Modern Music of Guitars, Drums and all manner of noise-making instruments. We are, after all – in the Catholic Church, before the King of Kings – in the Tabernacle, and on the Altar after Consecration, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Some mode of decorum is certainly needed here and more quiet Prayers and listening to Him. Instead, we have people acting as if they are on the Dance Floor. But hey, let God be the judge of what and how He wants to be worshipped!!!!!!

  • Notice to moderators: I am about to begin some thread drift.

    Hi, Mary,

    I have reached a point where I can not tolerate silliness at Mass any more. The Novus Ordo is fine with me when I go to Daily Mass. Sundays are another story. The priest does not need five or six women to climb up the altar steps and receive chalices to give Communion. Marty Haugen gives me nausea. The aforementioned piano player at my parish does not know when to quit. Don’t get me started on my mother’s parish.

    The liturgical calendar for the Novus Ordo scrapped many observances found in the TLM calendar. If, as Pope Benedict says, that there is one Mass and two forms of it then they should be on the same calendar.

    End thread drift.

    Jesus Christ is King of the Universe, but not this world. If He were King of this world, then all would be His subjects. Christ wants people to choose Him but does not chase after those who do not, because their deeds and words are the seeds they sow and they will reap the fruits of their labors.

  • Penguins, just offer all these frustrations to Jesus, especially when you go for Adoration before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Believe me, He will use them to pardon the punishment of some forgotten soul in Purgatory who has no one to pray for them. And not only those about our Holy Mass – but all frustrations, , especially when you do not deserve it. Emulate Him by accepting the unacceptables with humility and offer them all to Him. That is what He taught Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, His Secretary of Message of Divine Mercy. And I have taught myself – not without much resistance from my puny ego – to emulate what He teaches as an Eucharistic Apostle of the Divine Mercy, where He has called me to serve Him in my twilight years.

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