So why was such an old concept added to the calendar in 1925? Pope Pius XI used his letter Quas Primas to speak out against the secularism and nationalism that he saw on the rise in countries around the world. In the 19th century many countries started to change governments, and there was much political unrest among different groups. The turn of the 20th century brought World War I and a rise of nationalism, first as countries drummed up support for the war and then as empires fractured into governments based around national groups. Nationalism and secularism would only worsen after Quas Primas was written due to the Great Depression. Many nationalist groups in countries like Germany and Italy took advantage of the poor and the suffering in those times to draw them towards their movements.
The main problem Pius saw in these movements was that they drew people away from God. Instead of people prioritizing their faith and seeing God as the source of their salvation, they started to look toward different political and social groups for their salvation. The Feast of Christ the King was started because Pius saw the acknowledgment of Christ’s kingship as the answer to these problems. Too many of these groups’ leaders acted only in their own self-interests or in the best interest of their groups’ members. By acknowledging not only Christ as King but ac-knowledging his rule over all creation, Pius believed politicians would no longer serve themselves but serve their king, and through serving Christ they would govern in the best interest of everyone. Acknowledging Christ as King of all also bridged the divide caused by nationalities. People of different cultures and languages could come together as brothers and sisters under their one singular king of all creation.
The problems that lead Pius to write Quas Primas are still problems today and the solution he offered is the same solution to-day. As Anglicans, we may not give a letter from a Pope the same importance as Roman Catholics, but we can and should acknowledge the scriptural truths Quas Primas illuminates. In our day and age, we have different political parties all claiming they are the only ones who can truly save their countries from the dangers facing them. In a response against globalism, we have many leaders exploiting distinctions between peoples for their own political gain. The solution is not to turn to a different political leader for salvation, the solution is to turn to Christ our King and acknowledge his rule in our hearts. We should be sharing our faith with those around us, pointing others to Christ’s reign, and we should be praying for the world to accept his rule.
The Feast of Christ the King is an opportunity for us to acknowledge a scriptural truth, not only one which should shape our own personal faith, but one which we should pray and work towards shaping our whole world. Many people around us may try to scare us and point out problems and threats in the world, but Jesus is the only one we can turn to for true salvation. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to man-kind by which we must be saved.”
The Rev. Fr. Phil Berghuis
What: International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP)
Our Speaker: Dominic Sputo, Lumen Life
Focus: Heirloom Love - Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution
When: November 10, 2019; 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Where: Grace Fellowship Church, 3170 Red Hill Ave, Costa Mesa
Cost: Free (but attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to a project to support the persecuted church)
Directions to the event: