Brief Christ the King Thoughts

Instituted at a time when earthly monarchies were toppling or falling one-by-one, the Feast of Christ the King is meant to remind us that Our Lord does not only rule the ‘spiritual’ life and the Church, but all Earthly things as well. All nations are rightly subject to Him in all their affairs, not just in the question of what people do on Sunday morning.

The notion of Christ the King is a rebuke to populist notions of sovereignty; that authority ultimately rests in the people or in consent of the governed. It declares, essentially, “you can set up your state however you like, with whatever institutions, but in the end it is Christ who rules and reigns, and any other powers, whether of kings or governments or even the people themselves are subject to Him.”

One of the central liberal ideas of government is that ultimate sovereignty rests in the people. This is a horrible, monstrous idea that has led to untold suffering because it means that you can do absolutely anything at all if you can only frame it as being the will of the people or in the people’s interest.It’s one of many circumstances where the truth is the opposite of the popular view; it’s usually framed that grounding sovereignty in God justifies anything the ruling power wants to do. In fact, it is grounding it in the people that does this. The Laws of God, at least in Christian countries, are, at least to an extent, known and fixed. You might plead some wriggle room, but not much. The Will of the People can be anything at all. There is no upper limit of power to a government of the people.

In truth, whatever role the people have in government, ultimate sovereignty rests in God and comes from Him. Which means, of course, that you cannot justly enact laws or practices contrary to God’s laws. If the people ask for something contrary to the Law of God, then too bad for the people; they’re in the wrong and don’t get what they want.

As I say, the point of this devotion is not that we must or ought to have a monarchy or a traditional form of government. It’s that we have to acknowledge that whatever form we have must be subject to Christ, who is rightly King of all nations and all men.

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