I am looking forward to the Feast of Christ the King this Sunday. And that is something coming from someone who has a tick that precedes “innovation” with “ungodly.”
And this feast is an innovation, instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Ending the church year with this feast on the Sunday Next Before Advent is an even more recent innovation.
So why do I relent in my cranky traditionalism and like it so?
I find it an appropriate end to the church year. For at the end of time as we know it, Christ will rule as king for all to see. He is king now, of course, but he is coming to take more full and visible possession of His kingdom – a theme which leads well into Advent.
Pius instituted the feast in part to counter the rising secularism of the 20th Century. And God knows secularism goes about like a roaring lion today. It is good to be reminded who really rules, to rejoice, and to stand firm.
I have fond memories of Christ the King in Oxford. The solemn Te Deum at Pusey House that morning particularly comes to mind. With the choir heartily singing Britten’s Te Deum, it was a rousing and appropriate end to the church year indeed. For those in or near Oxford, I recommend Pusey House this Sunday.