I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14

On this the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. This feast was promulgated by Pope Pius XI in the jubilee year of 1925 in the encyclical letter Quas Primas. Pius XI saw the need for the Church to highlight the Kingship of Jesus Christ in a society that no longer honored or recognized the wisdom of the Church in governing herself.Pius stated 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.[1]

This was not always the case. Culture was ordered to follow the precepts of the Church, providing an atmosphere conducive to forming virtue. Forty years earlier, in his encyclical Immortale Dei, Pope Leo XIII described such a society.

There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people, permeating all ranks and relations of civil society.[2]

During those times, the Church formed the bedrock of a civil and just society. It was easier for individuals to live out their faith in such a society without persecution. Laws were instituted that supported Christian virtue. Our culture today has become so hostile to the Gospel that it is increasingly difficult for men and women to live a virtuous life.

As Catholics, we know that the only way for societies to live in justice, peace, and love is to recognize that Christ the King is Lord over all aspects of life. Pius states…

…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.[3]

Without the support of a God-fearing society, the family plays a pivotal role in rearing virtuous, loving, and godly children. The family is the bedrock of society. When families are healthy and whole, a society is healthy and whole. When family breaks down, civil society breaks down.

Christ reigns in families when education promotes truth, justice, and love instead of skepticism, nihilism, and relativism. It is up to the family to help its members get to heaven. It is only in submitting to the Kingship of Jesus Christ in our lives that our societies and families will live in justice, peace, and love.


Almighty and everlasting God, Who in Your beloved Son, the King of the whole world, have willed to restore all things, mercifully grant that all the families and nations now kept apart by the wound of sin, may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.[4]

[1] Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas (In the first), §1, 11 December 1925, internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas-primas.html (accessed November 24, 2018).

[2]Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei (On the Christian Constitution of States),§21, 1 November 1885, internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_01111885_immortale-dei.html  (accessed November 24, 2018).

[3] Quas Primas, §25.

[4] Based on the Collect of the Mass for the Feast of Christ the King, Missale Romanum – 1962.