The Statesmanship of Christ the King
by His Lordship, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais
from Fideliter March-April 1995, translated by John Verleg
The Reign of Christ the King, what is it? In order to defend it, we must know what it is. There are several excellent books available, some referred to here. Two are published by Instauratio Press. The first is Christ, King of Nations which details the rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ in an easy question and asnwer format, and also includes the encyclical Quas Primas. The second is Our Apostolic Mandate, an encyclical of St Pius X, which gives some little known teachings of the Church in respect to democracy that many readers will find surprising. A third book, interesting and provocative in every paragraph, is The Reign of Christ the King by Michael Davies, published by TAN. All of these are available from Saint Benedict Book Centre and all traditional booksellers.
If we do not love Christ's social reign, we will fall under the social reign of the devil.
We are convinced that the rejection of the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ by the nations is the cause of their ruin, or of the most serious disorders and of inextricable problems of the moral, political, social and economic order that no one can master today. We are conscious of the fact that the triumphant revolution is establishing a new world order on the ruins of the apostate nations, and this new order is essentially anti-christian. We observe that the conciliar Church co-operates in this work, while substituting for the religion of God-made-man, the cult of man making himself God. We should all be resolved as much as lies in us, to fight this satanic plan, which God may deign to dissipate with the breath of His mouth. Sons of the Catholic Church, adhering to the indefectible voice of the Spouse of Christ, we proclaim the absolute Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ over the human affairs, over societies and over nations.
1. Claims of Our Lord Jesus Christ to Universal Kingship
Our Lord Jesus Christ is necessarily King. By nature He possesses, inasmuch as He is man, the primacy of excellence and of perfection over every creature (Quas Primas [Q.P.] 533, Col. 1:15-17) and particularly the knowledge and power to rule and direct all human temporal affairs of His and His Father's glory. (Q.P. 540). So as not to empty the humiliation of the Cross, He is abstaining from practising His temporal Kingship Himself. In fact, Our Lord is also in possession of a spiritual and priestly, of a universal and victorious Kingship over all men so as to take them back through Him, the sole Head in the unity of the Mystical Body, the Catholic Church (Col. 1,18). This spiritual Kingship is spread out over temporal affairs to the degree that these serve Him to triumph over His enemies and to extend the Reign of Grace.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother and co-adjutrix in the work of Redemption, partakes in the Kingship of Christ (Pius XII, Ad Coeli Reginam) and disposes over hearts for it. "Regnum Christi per Regnam Mariae - The Reign of Christ, through the Reign of Mary."
2. Christ, foundation and restorer of the natural order
Man fallen from his native dignity by original sin (Roman Missal, Collect for Thursday of Passion Week) is only reinstated in that natural dignity by the spiritual Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ Who takes care of man's wounded nature only by lifting it to the supernatural dignity of the child of God (Summa I-II q. 109a2). Likewise, the natural order of human affairs (Pius XII, Summa Pontificatus 740) only receives its full solidity (Col. 1,17) and integrity on the unique foundation on which it behooves to be restored, i.e. on Christ in which it is ceaselessly to be done. It is only found in Christian civilisation, in the Catholic City.
3. Christ the supreme legislator
Christ the Man with the twofold claim of His birth and conquest through the Cross, in Whom are enclosed all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2,3) to Whom God has made over all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) is given to men as sovereign legislator Whom they ought to obey (Q.P. 536) and as supreme judge from Whom they receive rewards and chastisements in this as well as in the next life. (Q.P. 537)
4. Universality of Christ's Reign
Christ's empire "does not extend exclusively over Catholic nations nor only over baptised Christians... it embraces equally and without exceptions all men, even strangers to the Catholic Faith (Q.P. 542). Our Lord however, only reigns effectively over nations whose leaders He baptised and whose constitutions He christianised (St Pius X, Allocution December 13, 1908).
The Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ embraces all times, it embraces those who have need of Him, those that battled for Him, those who lived for Him and those who separated from Him. He proves that Christ is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of history (Q.P. 562). His Kingship will be fulfilled on the last day when He will take spectacular vengeance on His enemies (Q.P. 569). The final and triumphant state will be found in the plenitude of glory of His saints and elect (Eph. 4:13).
5. About Our Lord's Social Reign
God has so constituted man that he cannot exist nor attain his temporal perfection without the cooperation of his fellow men (St Thomas, De Regno, Bk. 1 Ch. 1). This social nature of man thus has God for its author, so that societies no less than individuals are God's creatures (Philippe, Christ, King of Nations).
Our Lord Jesus Christ, by His natural primacy is thus as man, King of Societies, particularly King of families and of nations, and by His Kingship of Grace He governs them towards their supernatural end. (Q.P. 543)
6. The Primacy of the Common Good
Man being by nature part of all that goes with a well regulated multitude (St Thomas, 1. Ethics lec. 1 n4), he must necessarily align himself with society as to his end (II-II al q.64 a2), i.e. adapt and dispose his person to act in common with others, thus making up society and in which the person finds his temporal perfection (II-IIa1 q26 a3 and a2). Likewise, he must submit his particular interest to the common good, to wit, sacrifice his life fot it (I-IIae q96 a4). Society being in effect but a unity of order and not a substantial unity (St Thomas 1 Ethics, lect 1 n. 5), the common temporal good is not separated from individuals, but it is their good, and it principally consists in a good and virtuous life (Rerum Novarum 303), to which everyone contributes his part (.ibid). Moreover, the ultimate end of man is not a virtuous life but through this to arrive at eternal beatitude (St Thomas De Regno, Bk. 1, ch. 14 n.3). Thus the common temporal good is ordered indirectly to the Triune God (II-IIae q.83 a6), the common good of the city of the blessed, Liberalism and totalitarianism are anti-Christian (Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, no. 3). The individual as king dissolves the common good by the rights of man without God (Pius XI, Aliquantulum 1).
The deified State in turn confiscates the common good in the interest of the faction that is in power and this is slavery. Only the primacy of Christ the King, tearing away from State and individual their usurped crown can give to the common good its primacy and assure its authenticity (Pope Pius XII Allocution June 16, 1939).
7. King of Kings and Lord of Lords
All authority comes from God (Romans 13:1). Political authority does not come from the people but from God. Perhaps an election determines the person of the leader, but it does not confer authority. One decides by whom power must be exercised. Supreme temporal sovereignty belongs to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15), but since He abstains from exercising it Himself, He delegates temporal power to His human office holders, whether they be hereditary monarchs or elected presidents, who do command less in their own name than in the name and in place of the divine King (Q.P. 547). There is no choice between a modern democracy and Christ the King - long live Christ the King.
8. Sovereign Legislator
The law is "an ordinance of reason for the common good promulgated by him who has the care of the community (St Thomas I-IIae q. 90 a1). It is not the work of the human will, even if it is general (cf. Declaration of the Rights of Man) but a work of reason and the wisdom of the legislator. Civil law is destined to apply and make natural law more precise, i.e. human reason partakes in law (I-IIae q.91a2). It is a precious help for human freedom (Leo XIII Libertas 179-180). Our Lord Jesus Christ "by Whom kings reign and legislators decree what is just" (Pr 8,15) has confirmed natural law and promulgated the law of the Gospel (Matt. 5:17) so that human laws find their norm there. The Sovereign Legislator, Christ the King, is the only one to give peace to the nations, i.e. tranquility and order, the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ (Pius XI, Ubi Arcano).
9. King of Families
Both the Catholic City as well as the Church depend for their preservation and prosperity on fertile marriages (Pius XII Allocution to young spouses). Jesus Christ, King of Nations, is thus King of the family, the mother-cell of society (Pius XI Casti Connubi). He recalls that the State must not absorb but supplement what the family cannot do (Pius XI Allocution to the pupils of Mondragone). The Sovereign Legislator, Our Lord Jesus Christ, takes marriage back to its original sanctity and elevates it to the dignity of a sacrament (Casti Connubi 282). Through the voice of the Church, His Mystical Body, He recalls to souls the natural law, and through the instrument of civil legislation He imposes the law on the public life of the Catholic Community, the 'City', in what concerns procreation, reserved to marriage, the preservation of life, conjugal chastity (Pius XII Allocution to midwives), the unity and indissolubility of marriage; He condemns the contrary crimes, He promotes large families with all the virtues (Pius XII Allocution to young spouses), the glory of the Catholic Church where holy religious and priestly vocations flourish.
10. Master of Educators
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Master, is King of parents and educators, Master of teachers. He reminds the State that education of the child naturally belongs to those who have begotten it, i.e. to the parents (Pius XI Divini Illius Magistri 257). The family is therefore the prime educator and the State cannot arrange the education of children against the will of the parents (op. cit. 258). The family and the school however, must, in instructing and educating, respect the natural and divine law and only teach things that are true (Leo XIII Libertas 209).
Our Lord Jesus Christ confides to the Catholic Church the entire moral and supernatural truth (Pius XI Divini Illius Magistri 24) with the mission to teach all nations (Matt. 28:18). He endows it for that with an infallible magisterium (Pius IX Denz. 1683), with a sovereign authority and with an independence from all earthly power in the original source and exercise of its educative mission (Pius XI Divini Illius Magistri 247).
11. Church and State
What Christ the King is to the Catholic City, the Church, His Mystical Spouse, is in relation to the State. The Catholic Church being spiritual and supernatural, is the supreme society. She is a perfect spouse endowed by her divine Spouse with all the spiritual and temporal means to 'lead men to salvation' (Leo XIII Immortale Dei 134)
The Church and the State are independent and sovereign, each in its own domain (op. cit. 136), but by reason of the subordination of the State's end (the temporal common good) to the Church's end (eternal salvation), the State is indirectly subordinate to the Church which can intervene in the temporal order in the name of supernatural interests (op. cit. 137), and to require from the State protection (op. cit. 131) against the disturbers of the Catholic religion (Pius IX Quanta Cura 39).
Likewise, it behooves the State to protect the unanimity of the citizens in the true religion, an important element of the temporal common good (Card. Ottavianni - Proposition of the Schema on Church and State).
The public duty or office renders to Jesus, our King, public homage according to the cult of the Catholic religion (Q.P. 543, 569).
Finally, the State, according to the circumstances and the judgement of the Church, can tolerate the public exercise of dissident cults and legally guarantee that tolerance (Leo XIII, Immortale Dei 154). However, in principle, it cannot grant liberty to all cults without distinction (Pius VII, Pius IX, Leo XIII), nor admit the false principle of religious liberty. This would be an offence towards the divinity of the Church and towards the spiritual Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
12. The Christian political, social and economic order
The wisdom of the Angelic Doctor, the interventions of the popes, and the reflections of thinkers against the (French) Revolution release the general principles of the natural and Christian order.
Following are some aphorisms expressing these:
"Only the devil has need of universal suffrage." (Leo XIII Diuturum 105)
"Democracy presupposes civic virtue in all, the monarchy, prudence in one person only." (St Thomas I-II ae q 105 a1 and a3)
"The arrival of universal democracy is of no importance to the Church's actions in the world." (St Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate 31, Instauratio Press edition)
"If the moment has not come for Jesus Christ to reign, the moment has not come for governments to endure." (Card. Pie, conversation with Napoleon III)
"The principle of subsidiarity [Pius XI Quadrigesimo Anno 38] (i.e. to favour private initiatives, the State only intervening to supply what private persons cannot do) prevents effective socialist control." (Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum 296)
"The principle of the common good does away with effective liberal control." (Quadrigesimo Anno 532, 534)
"Justice is the first of the charities." (Quadrigesimo Anno 523)
"Christian charity tempers the injustice of the unjust. The charity of the unjust is the height of injustice." and "The justice of the common good is the first justice." (St Thomas II IIae q58a5)
God says : "So as to be rich, multiply and subdue the earth."
The Devil says: "To be rich, be sterile and the earth as well."
There is no middle way. Either the social reign of the devil, or the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ the King is the unique hope of the nations. (Gen. 19:10) It is Him that they wait for in darkness, amidst the accumulated ruins of "two centuries of liberal culture." (The Ratzinger Report)
With our Holy Mother the Church, we proclaim that today
as always, Our Lord Jesus Christ is the unique source of salvation, both
of societies and of individuals (Q.P. 543), since for the material or spiritual,
for the temporal as for the eternal, "there is no other name under heaven
given to men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)