Many Christmas songs celebrate the coming of Christ the King – but what does such a kingship mean?
“‘the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state; and that in fulfilling the task committed to her by God of teaching, ruling, and guiding to eternal bliss those who belong to the kingdom of Christ, she cannot be subject to any external power.’ [Pope Pius XI, 1925]
…Pius was disturbed by nationalism, and so are we whenever nationalist impulses trump the good of all people or loyalty to the international fellowship of Christian believers. In his day Italian, Spanish, and German nationalisms were all asserted at the expense of the church. When love of country is infused with a quasi-religious devotion, it threatens both the freedoms of citizens and the security of neighboring countries. The universal kingship of Christ supersedes our nation’s claims on our loyalties.”
The pope’s approach errs towards triumphalism, too much “already” and too little “not yet,” but his concern with nationalism and the danger of the Church placing the lordship of the State (or an ideology) over the lordship of Christ would seem to be as relevant today as it was in 1925.