Following a trend of many decades, increasing numbers of the young are being desensitized to the presence of humankind’s Creator and Redeemer. Heedless of man’s final end, many today (we do not speak here of those who, as in every generation, are possessed by hunger for power and control) react with an outward shrug toward both totalitarianism and anarchy, even as they inwardly seethe with anxiety at either of these prospects.
Almost a century ago, Pope Pius XI recognized the need to proclaim boldly that only in obedience to the rule of Christ can be found the peace that calms individual unease, bonds men in society, and directs us infallibly toward the eternal beatitude for which we were made. We are pleased to celebrate today’s Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King by publishing the first of a series of excerpts from Pius XI’s encyclical Quas Primas, promulgated at the end of the Holy Year 1925, which established the feast in the universal Church.
In the first Encyclical Letter* which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience.
— Quas Primas 1
* Ubi arcano Dei consilio, published in December 1922.