Christ the King, Feast of

views updated


Celebration of the Savior's kingship on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. It belongs to that class of feasts called idea-feasts, that is, it celebrates no specific event in the history of salvation but rather honors our Savior Himself under the title of king. Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 to counteract the growing secularism and atheism of his time. Originally scheduled on the last Sunday of October, Pope Paul VI's reform of the Roman calendar transferred the feast to the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. This feast affirms the sovereignty and rule of Christ over persons, families, human society, the state, the whole universe. In particular the feast affirms the messianic kingship of Christ. Jesus is the king who has obtained His sovereignty through His blood. He is the Redeemer king. The original Feast of Christ the King is that of the Ascension. The Feast of Christ the King reinforces the themes of the Ascension, i.e., the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of the Father.

Bibliography: pius xi, "Quas primas" (Encyclical, Dec. 11, 1925) Acta Apostolicae Sedis 17 (1925) 593610.

[w. j. o'shea/eds.]