Review of Christ, King of Nations: A Catechism of Divine Rights in Society By Patricius Anthony TRADITIO Traditional Roman Catholic Internet Site E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: //www.traditio.com C. 2010 Patricius Anthony. Reproduction prohibited without authorization.
Quas Primas is, arguably, the most important papal encyclical since the French Revolution and quite possibly stretching back since the august reforms of the Council of Trent. Pope Pius XI's document is just as relevant today as when it was promulgated (1925) since the world, including the Church, has descended into full-blown secularism with no sign of a turnaround. Fr. Fahey was particularly delighted by Quas Primas and often praised it.
While conservatives of all stripes form societies, create websites, hold conferences, write books, and publish papers which lament the downfall of the culture, nearly all their activities conspicuously exclude the King of the Universe. Similarly, many semi-traditional/Indult/Motu Catholics ignore the solid teachings of the true popes (such as Quas Primas) and, instead, squander their time trying to decipher "secrets," and seek revelations in "apparitions," all to the great amusement and, no doubt, ridicule of committed Protestants and Rationalists.
The importance of Pius XI's encyclical inspired the French priest, Reverend A. Phillipe, C.SS.R., to write the brief, but weighty catechism entitled, Christ, King of Nations: A Catechism of Divine Rights in Society within a year of Quas Primas' publication. Father Phillipe's work remains one of the best treatments of the Kingship of Christ doctrine available today in an area that still needs more study, research and discussion.
This gem did not get past the astute eyes of Father Phillipe's countryman, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who wrote a prologue to the 1989 edition. The Archbishop, an obvious proponent of the Kingship of Christ, insightfully remarked: "To abandon this article of our Faith [the Kingship of Christ], not only by liberal Catholics, but also by the hierarchy of the Church, quickly leads to apostasy and the secularization of societies which were once Catholic. Where Our Lord does not reign, Satan takes the Throne." [my emphasis] It is too bad that the current leadership of the Society that the Archbishop founded no longer subscribes to such Catholic thinking, but instead, seeks to "negotiate" with the Conciliar Church's principle paedophile-enabler, Benedict-Ratzinger, and the gang of apostates, rapists, perverts, and embezzlers with which he willingly surrounds himself.
Society, State and God
Fr. Phillipe forthrightly asserts what the proper relationship between societies, governments, and God should be. Such a notion, which was the Catholic position prior to the Second Vatican Council, is in sharp contrast to what is now taught in academia, broadcasted in the media, and written in books:
... the first truth upon which depends all other truths, and which impose upon the creature its obligations, is the sovereign dominion of God over every creature, and the absolute dependence of every creature upon Him. A Society, which is not convinced of this truth, fails with regard to its most strict obligations; it will infallibly be lost. It is therefore strictly necessary that every State, every nation, in short, every human society, be absolutely subject to God. In this way this obligation of social order, both by collective conscience and by individual conscience, is affirmed. (4)
The priest continues:
. . . everything which contributes to the formation of society must be impregnated with God. . . . In every society we must find a union of wills, adapted means, and an aim to be attained. In each of these three elements, because they are created, society depends upon God. The strictly logical consequence, when a society is constituted, should be to consider its aim in the light of its supreme and last end, which is God Himself. (5)
Not only does mankind and the institutions he creates depend on God, but the dependency, to have any meaningful social reality, must be codified in governing structures, documents and laws as Father Phillipe writes: ". . . when a State is constituted, it has, as its primary duty, to place at the foundation of its charter or constitution, and of its legislation, an absolute dependency upon God, and its entire conformity to the Eternal Law."(5) None of the world's nation states or international bodies abide by such a "dependency clause." The denial that all human life and civilizations are subject to their Creator says Reverend Phillipe "would be to establish a total disorder, and would end in idolatry"(5), a social condition which now characterizes each and every society.
Not only are modern states devoid of dependency on God, but their "constitutions" have failed to limit state power or insure civil liberties. While constitutions have only protected individual liberties when they did not threaten the ruling classes, the rights of free speech and those of a free press were given every license to attack Christian doctrine, calumniate religious, and mock and blaspheme Almighty God.
The revolutionary ideal of the "rights of man" has been transformed by secularists into man's deification where the creature is placed on a par with the Creator, the concept of which has been affirmed by the post-Conciliar popes especially, JPII. Reverend Phillipe explains:
By the 'Declaration of the Rights of Man,' God and all that which is divine has been eliminated from Constitutions and legislation. It has been replaced by deified man. The consequence of this substitution is the abolition of all divine rights and the profession of human rights alone. It is the victory of secularism, atheism, and all the errors which are the logical result of the 'rights' of man. Therefore, it follows that man is sovereignly independent. He must possess all liberties; of conscience, of teaching, of the press, of association, of religion. By a strange contradiction, he claims the capacity to create laws and impose them by force.(62)
In a provocative and what is probably, in this "democratic age," considered a subversive passage, Reverend Phillipe calls for the use of "revolutionary means" to re-establish a Christian order:
. . . [W]e must necessarily abolish the Constitutions and their foundations. With this goal in mind, we must use the liberties given to us to suppress these very liberties in the modern sense of the word, and to accomplish all good possible. The liberty of education must be used to teach freely Jesus Christ. The press must be used to make known the divine truth. Recourse must be had to liberty of association, so that groups can be formed with the goal of procuring the good of souls. We must openly profess the worship of the one True God. Advantage must be taken of these would-be rights to make the public and souls understand that truth and good alone have rights; that error and evil have no rights. (62-63)
Yet, such a condition, as the popes and Father Phillipe have pointed out is the logical consequence when mankind tries to establish a social order without its Creator. State aggrandizement and the secularization of society are the natural outcomes when man's dependency on God is not acknowledged.
In contrast to the rampant secularism of the times, Reverend Phillipe describes a world where the Creator and His duly appointed representatives are intimately involved in its governance. Such an involvement, at least in theory, is not to amass earthly power, but ultimately, to lead souls to heaven: "It is in this way that all shall return to order and peace, since everything shall be henceforth subject to God and Christ through the Church. Nations shall be united by the ties of justice and charity in Christ under the supernatural guidance of the Pope. All the nations will then form a true Apostolic League of Nations. The world will be on the path to salvation." (63)
To convert peoples, countries, and states to the Kingship of Christ, Catholics need to become "apostles" to advance its cause through prayer, education and organization. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the "Apostolic League" was a fraternity whose goals were to promote the Kingship of Christ. The League received papal blessings and Reverend Phillipe highly recommended it. It became a casualty of the rising tide of Modernism that would completely engulf the Church. The re-establishment of the Apostolic League is the type of strategy that Catholics should follow in the battle against secularism.
The natural consequence of the rejection of Almighty God and the dethronement of His Son leads to confusion and disorientation. The confusion blurs individual and public consciousness to the point that men and societies no longer understand life's purpose. Without Almighty God as man's ultimate end, success or failure will be judged in earthly terms leading to despair and fatalism. The pursuit of human happiness, instead of seeking a "supernatural end" will ultimately lead to desperation, a condition which pervades contemporary life.
Instead of a world that preaches the attainment of secular ends, Reverend Phillipe states in clear and direct language the purpose of life:
We must not lose sight of the fact that man is on earth to prepare himself for his eternal destiny. Every human and divine institution has, as its final end, the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Therefore, every social institution, every political action and directive, is bound to remember this fundamental truth; that man was not made for this world, but for eternity. (7)
While this is certainly true for individuals, it also applies to organizations as well as legal and governing entities:
The constitutions of nations, their legislation, juridical dispositions, administration etc., must regard the final end of all existence as a primary aim. All politics, as everything else, must, because of this final end, be in conformity with the Eternal Law of God, with the Creed and the Ten Commandments. (7)
Such a clear elucidation of the purpose of human existence will not be preached from any Novus Ordo pulpit, written in any of their vapid books, or taught by its "popes." The Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection fundamentally altered human life, and man, try as he might to ignore or forget this fact, has no excuse to be ignorant of what his purpose on this planet is for.
Reverend Phillipe presents an interesting discussion about the matter of Christ's Power and its relationship to earthly conditions. Unless one has the temerity to deny the Divine Savior's very words ("All power is given to me in heaven and on earth") it is undeniable that Christ is omnipotent. Yet, He rarely asserts this power, but allows His subjects and the societies they create to accept or reject it. If His omnipotence is acknowledged, heavenly graces will flow. For those who refuse, be they individuals or collective entities, eternal disaster awaits. It is true that societies as well as individuals may prosper even though they deny Christ's power, however, there will eventually be a fall and collapse.
Not only did Christ declare His omnipotence, but throughout His public ministry, He demonstrated His power over men, the environment, life and death through the workings of miracles. Newchurch does not speak much of Christ's power, but stresses a docile, all-forgiving Savior which fits into its belief in a non-judgmental Deity which implicitly gives credence to the false notion of universal salvation.
The recognition of His omnipotence is directly related to His Kingship. Every individual or collective body must choose to either accept or reject His reign. No one, be they rulers, kings, queens or legislators are immune from making this decision. The choice was made explicit to His very own people by Pontius Pilate at history's seminal moment when Redemption was at hand:
And it was the Parasceve of the Pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them; Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered; We have no king but Caesar.[St. John, ch.19; vs.14-15] While St. Matthew adds: They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?" [ch. 27; vs. 17]
Blinded by pride and hoping to create a nation without the Divine Savior, the Jews spurned Pilate's offer and chose Barabbas, a decision which led to the horrific destruction of the Temple, but more importantly, it voided their status as the "chosen people."
While it took time and the shedding of much blood, the Gentiles, especially the peoples of Europe, gradually accepted and then embraced the idea of Christ the King. The result was the creation of a glorious civilization whose architecture, music, literature and art were directed for the glory of God. As the Jews had done, Western man gradually lost the Faith and created secular societies and empires which explicitly excluded God and His Divine Son. The decline of the West and the conquest of it by immigration, economic malaise, and cultural depravity are the consequences and "payback" for its apostasy.
Christ's power is shared with the institution He established for the salvation of man: the Catholic Church. The Church is the guardian and dispenser of the Sacraments which contain the graces necessary for man's supernatural end as Father Phillipe states: "Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, has received from God, in His humanity, all power in heaven and upon earth. He has authority and sovereignty over every other authority. He is invested with a truly royal power. This power is shared by the Pope and Bishops who rule the Church." (62)
The denial of the necessity of the Church and the need of the Sacraments was a fundamental error of the 16th century "reformers" and one which remains a tenet in all heretical sects of the day. While Protestants may argue to the contrary, the rejection of the Church is an implicit denial of Christ's power which is transmitted through the Sacraments.
Quas Primas could not have been issued at a better time coming as it did on the heels of what was then the most devastating conflict in human affairs. An even stiffer price was to be paid for man's refusal to heed Pius XI's call to place Christ at the head of each and every land as World War II came in its wake, the reverberations of which are still being felt.
The forces which instigated the world powers to plunge themselves into two needless cataclysms have shifted their focus to cultural matters and have succeeded in nearly totally extinguishing what is left of Christian morality and virtues. If Western man, however, had not rejected Almighty God and His Church, it is unlikely that the two conflagrations would have come about, nor would each and every society been turned into cultural cesspools.
Reverend Phillipe's book develops some of the concepts and principles laid out in Pius XI's great encyclical. Since their publications, barring the work of Fr. Fahey and some others, there has been little research in this most vital field. Nor is it likely that much study will take place within the Conciliar Church since the Kingship of Christ is the antithesis of what it stands for.
As Western society continues to disintegrate culturally and now economically, there will be opportunities for Catholics to promote the ideals of Christ the King. One tool that should be in everyone's arsenal who seek to rightfully place the Divine Redeemer on His throne is Reverend Phillipe's superb, Christ, King of Nations.