Celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas to respond to growing secularism. He recognized that attempting to "thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law" out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations.
In 2018, the Church faces pressures from without and crisis from within. In addition to the challenges that Christians in a secular society must confront, the body of Christ must also tend to the wounds inflicted on the Church by priests and bishops who either committed acts of sexual abuse themselves or failed to respond to abuse with justice when they had the opportunity. The Solemnity reminds the faithful that Christ reigns as king of the entire world forever. Let us rededicate ourselves this year to recognizing the reign of Jesus Christ and his Sacred Heart in every aspect of our lives.
We profess with our whole lives that Jesus is Lord.
If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, 'as instruments of justice unto God. – Quas primas, 33
We recognize the reign of Christ in public life, as well as private life.
The whole Church must work vigorously in order that men may become capable of rectifying the distortion of the temporal order and directing it to God through Christ. Pastors must clearly state the principles concerning the purpose of creation and the use of temporal things and must offer the moral and spiritual aids by which the temporal order may be renewed in Christ. The laity must take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation. […]Everywhere and in all things they must seek the justice of God's kingdom. The temporal order must be renewed in such a way that, without detriment to its own proper laws, it may be brought into conformity with the higher principles of the Christian life and adapted to the shifting circumstances of time, place, and peoples. – Apostolicam actuositatem, 7