How the Rise of Secularism Initiated the Feast
Pope Pius XI universally instituted the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King in 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas. At the time, secularism was on the rise, and many Christians, even Catholics, were doubting Christ’s authority, as well as the Church’s, and even doubting Christ’s existence. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders.
Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point, the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was most needed. In fact, it is still needed today, evidenced by its institution in many other Christian denominations.
Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:
- That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).
- That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).
- That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).