Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!
Today’s Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, and one of the reasons was to remind us that Christ is King not only of our private lives, but of our public lives too. As we know only too well, there are many attempts today to silence the voice of religion, especially Catholicism in the public sphere, and we are told to keep our faith at home. Secularism and atheistic values have already largely replaced what was once Christendom, and we see the state of the world as a result. The fact is we cannot do without God. If we could, Our Lord would never have come to this earth. But He did come and bring us the Gospel, and only by believing in Him and accepting His teaching will there ever be lasting peace and prosperity.
Since we believe that Christ is God, it follows He is King of all creation. He is King of the universe and the whole cosmos, and we must serve Him alone. Therefore let us not be afraid to bring our faith in Him into society. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his memorable speech to the British Parliament in Westminster Hall in 2010:
“Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation. In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance. There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere. There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none. And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience. These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square.” (Pope Benedict XVI, 17th September 2010).
Always remember, it was through Christianity that humanity came to realise the truth that all human beings have the same dignity, no matter what stage of life they may be at and therefore have rights. It was through Christianity that slavery was recognised as an evil and then gradually eliminated. All religions are not the same and today’s Solemnity reminds us of this. If we exclude Our Lord and His teachings from public life, we only give room for anti-Christian values to take hold, and this is never good for mankind. In the words of the Laudes Regiae (The Royal Praises) “Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!”(Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands!).
Fr Paul Gillham IC