Christ the King

Posted by Censor Librorum on Nov 26, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. I always thought of it as one of those archaic, European-type holidays focusing on kingship, and the centralization of laws, common good and order, all at the expense of snuffing out personal identity and human yearning. It seems so opposite the democratic American Catholic that I am.

Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King on December 11, 1925 in his encyclical “Quas Primas.” At that time, he saw the rise of communism and secular influence as a direct result of people turning away from Christ’s sovereignty, and denying the authority of Christ’s church.

A decade later, Pius XI also had his tussles with the fascists in Italy and Germany. He denounced the German goverment and National Socialist theory in a powerful encyclical, “Mit Brennender Sorge.” It was a powerful condemnation of Nazism. When I read it, some of the original meaning for the observance of Christ the King did seep into my consciousness. I was also struck how some of the passages condemning Nazi Germany in 1937 could also apply to the United States of America in 2006: “Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community–however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things–whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of he world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.”

Christ the King is one of those holidays you can either gloss over and move on; or stay with it, thinking about its implications, feeling the discomfort of how philosophically at odds we can be with wording and universal application of church teaching. It is also problematic in the realization I DO want the church to speak out strongly about the human condition on the world stage. And I DO want Catholics to listen. Part of my discomfort is the acknowledgement of my own inconsistency on what messages I want the Vatican to deliver, and when I want it to keep silent or not get involved.

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