Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Something Interesting I Just Found Out

While reading a bit about the Solemn Feast of Christ the King, I came across this Methodist website and this Calvinist (Presbyterian?) one.  I was startled to say the least, but these appearances serve as an anecdotal confirmation of something I heard a year or so ago.

About a year ago, Archbishop Wuerl spoke at the Catholic University of America about the Synod of Bishops he had just attended.  The purpose of the synod was to discuss the role of the Sacred Scriptures in the life of the Church and to put together its findings and views in a brief to the Holy Father for his consideration, and ultimately for his use in the development in an exhortation to the whole Church.  The Synod was a great mix, he said.  Its voting members were of course only bishops, but collaborating experts and guests included any number of others, even non-Catholics.  In Archbishop Wuerl's working group there was the publisher of a Bible society of particular importance in the English-speaking world.  The publisher was a conservativish mainline-evangelical.  He said to the rest of the working group, "You Catholics have a major problem regarding the rest of the world."  At that, they all perked up.  I speculate that some were thinking, "Who is this joker?  Does he know where he is?"  The publisher continued, "Your problem is that you don't understand your relationship to the rest of the Christian churches.  We might be 'separated brethren', but we still look to you constantly... we can't help it, we always have, even when we'd prefer not to."  The Protestant world, even with regard to its highest earthly good - the Bible - rebelled against the Church, has constantly kept one eye on her, and nowadays finds herself looking over the Church's shoulder frequently, to see what the Church is "reading," as it were.

So in 1925, Pope Pius XI declares that henceforth, the last Sunday in Ordinary Time (then simply called "after Pentecost"), the Sunday before Advent, will be kept as the Solemn Feast of Christ the King.  The declaration was a response to the rise of Fascism in Italy in the early 1920s.  It remained as a challenge to National Socialism (Nazism) in Germany in the 1930s, and it remains as a challenge to secularism in the last days of the second millennium and the first days of the new one.  Mussolini might be Il Duce ("the Leader") and Hitler might be Der Fuhrer ("the Leader"), but Christ is King!

And interestingly enough, mainline Protestant churches started celebrating it as well, sometime between 1925 and the 1980s, as they adopted the Revised Common Lectionary, their cycle of readings based on the order of our (Catholic) lectionary.  So in this matter, on some level or levels, the Protestant world has looked to the Catholic again.  Let's see if, by our reverent devotion to our King, and our insistence upon his Lordship, we can set a good example.

1 comment:

Fr Bob said...

Amen! I didn't draw that out in my homily, BUT it is good to recall that we are leaders and THAT did make it in!