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What is The "Social Kingship" Of Christ?

Christ The King.

1) Introduction

Should we mix Politics and Religion? If so, how? If not, why?

When we ask such questions to old-fashioned Catholics, they'll often answer by talking about the "Social Kingship" of Christ, perhaps while they are muttering imprecations about Vatican II and reminiscing about "the good old days of Garcia Moreno". So what is this "Social Kingship" of Christ, and is it still relevant in today's political affairs? Here's what little I've understood so far.

2) God or the Devil

The basic idea behind the "Social Kingship" of Christ is extremely easy to understand: God or the Devil. We either accept God and submit ourselves to His authority, or we revolt and say "Non serviam!" like Satan. Either we bend our knee before Jesus our Lord [Ph 2:10], or we drink one of the many flavors of the Kool-Aid of Atheism.

Just like converting to Christ will have many positive influences on our life, rejecting Christ will also have many negative effects. Becoming a Christian (really Christian, a serious conversion) will cause for example:

- Health effects: avoid getting a tatoo, stop drinking, stop taking drugs, etc.;
- Financial effects: stop stealing, stop spending more than you earn, get a job, etc.;
- Interpersonal effects: stop beating your wife, stop telling lies, etc.;
- Psychological effets: "Hey, maybe I'm not always right! Maybe I did something wrong! Maybe I should make amends!", etc.;
- Political effects: voting against laws that encourage parents to kill their children, and children to kill their parents (abortion and euthanasia), asking politicians to protect our children against pornographic TV shows and other harmful influences, organizing parents to set up good Catholic schools, voting for political parties that do not promote any of the many flavors of Atheism, etc.

So in a way, the "Social Kingship" of Christ is just a shorthand way of referring to all the good effects of Christianity on Politics, by mentioning the cause of all these good effects (rejecting the kingship of all false gods).

3) What are typical objections to the Kingship of Christ?

Atheists have a whole slew of objections to the Social Kingship of Christ in Politics, which are adaptations of the bad old Slander soup. To take a Forestry metaphor, you could classify these objections as targeting either the leaves, the trunk, the forest or the squirrels:

3.1) The leaves. This category of objections targets specific details of Catholic teachings (i.e. the "leaves of the tree"). For example, in the Province of Quebec, many voters are also sexual perverts. So if you want them to attack the Social Kingship of Christ, just mention the teachings of the Church on abortion, sodomy, the pill, pre-marital sex, etc.

3.2) The trunk. Instead of attacking the leaves, you can go straight for the trunk of the tree, in this case God Himself. This attack on God can itself take several forms, like trying to hide or obfuscate Atheism, or finding some politically-correct replacement idol, or attacking the possibility, necessity or procedure to think rationally about God, etc.

3.3) The forest. Beyond the "leaves" and the "trunk" of the Social Kingship of Christ, attacks can revolve around "the forest", i.e. the coexistence with other "trees", like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. These attacks usually simultaneously hide the goodness of Christianity and the evil of other religions (which includes the evil of pseudo-catholicism), while putting all religions in the same bag, declaring they are all irrational, and requiring equal treatment for them all, etc.

3.4) The squirrels. Let's assume, for the sake of my metaphor, that the purpose of a tree is so squirrels can live happily ever after in it. You would think that no "Catholic squirrels" have objections against the "Social Kingship" tree, but unfortunately many have cheek pouches full of them.

4) Deep down inside, how does this "Social Kingship" thing work?

Back in the old days, you could completely understand a gasoline engine without knowing anything about computers. You could learn about the four cycles of an internal combustion engine, totally dismantle an engine, mentally follow air molecules as they passed through the air filter, got sucked into the carburator where they got mixed with vaporized gasoline, then entered the cylinder while the intake valve was being kept open by the camshaft, etc.

These days, many cars have not one, but a network of computers that manage the engine, the anti-pollution system, the ABS braking, even changing gears! In order to completely understand a car (and fix any problem it might have), you have to know more than mechanical stuff, you need to know computers.

It's similar with politics. If men were purely biological beings, politics would have no connection to religion. But by his very nature, man has a supernatural destiny, and since the objective of Politics is to help man reach his end, then you cannot do good politics if you just know biology. What you are dealing with is much more complicated than that. (Despite what the Atheists say.)

Thonnard summarizes it thus, in four dense paragraphs:

1139) 3. - Church and State. From a purely philosophical point of view, the common good pursued by the State must be the immediate preparation to the only legitimate destiny of man which is the glory of God, fully proclaimed by love and contemplation in the other life: if its immediate goal is temporal, it therefore has an eternal complement; and the best part of this common good is religious and moral. Civil society, on this natural plane, should therefore have a religion, and not only ensure its personal practice by the citizen, but render to God a public and social worship.

But the fact of revelation has changed these conclusions. Now, by the explicit will of God, brought to earth by Christ, it is a special visible religious society: the Catholic Church, which is responsible for preparing men for their eternal destiny, because it is supernatural. The Church is therefore also a perfect and sovereign society, and reserves for Herself, in the field of culture, all that concerns the moral and religious order, including education and instruction, at least for everything that touches on religious truth and moral law.

Undoubtedly, this new fact will "remove the crown" of civil society by giving to another the most noble part of its ideal. But this new fact doesn't undercut the sovereignty of civil society. The Church and the State are perfect societies, each in their kind. To the first belongs, in the common good of humanity, all that is divine, sacred, supernatural: the moral and religious life, which is eternal life begun here below by grace. To the second belongs everything that is temporal, profane, natural, technical or scientific: the purely human cultural, artistic and literary life, and the political life for which all perfection is achieved here below.

But members of both societies are the same; and so there will be, besides the proper and independent domains, many mixed issues where agreement is necessary. Since every society is defined by its end and the end of the Church is superior to that of the State, it is usually the latter that must comply and provide services to the spiritual society to help Her realize Her goal, which is basically the same as its own goal: the whole development of the human person. By this spontaneous subordination, which fully respects its temporal sovereignty, the State, far from being disminished, will on the contrary find for itself a powerful help to realize more perfectly its own ideal.

5) What does the Magisterium teach about the Social Kingship of Christ?

A few quotes:

Condemned error: "The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church."
Syllabus of errors, #55.

It is not difficult to determine what would be the form and character of the State were it governed according to the principles of Christian philosophy. Man's natural instinct moves him to live in civil society, for he cannot, if dwelling apart, provide himself with the necessary requirements of life, nor procure the means of developing his mental and moral faculties. Hence, it is divinely ordained that he should lead his life -- be it family, or civil -- with his fellow men, amongst whom alone his several wants can be adequately supplied.

But, as no society can hold together unless some one be over all, directing all to strive earnestly for the common good, every body politic must have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society itself, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its Author. Hence, it follows that all public power must proceed from God. For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world. Everything, without exception, must be subject to Him, and must serve him, so that whosoever holds the right to govern holds it from one sole and single source, namely, God, the sovereign Ruler of all. "There is no power but from God." [Rm 13:1].
Immortale Dei, #3.

[...] the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. [...] it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honour the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favour religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety.
Immortale Dei, #6.

Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfilment of prophecies, miracles in great numbers, the rapid spread of the Faith in the midst of enemies and in face of overwhelming obstacles, the witness of the martyrs, and the like. From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate.
Immortale Dei, #7.

There must, accordingly, exist between these two powers [the Church and the State] a certain orderly connection, which may be compared to the union of the soul and body in man.
Immortale Dei, #14.

To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name.
Immortale Dei, #31.

[This doctrine] must be held with a firm grasp of mind, and, so often as occasion requires, must be openly professed.
Immortale Dei, #41.

Furthermore, it is in general fitting and salutary that Catholics should extend their efforts beyond this restricted sphere, and give their attention to national politics.
Immortale Dei, #44.

That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. [...] But as the present order of things is temporary and subordinated to the conquest of man's supreme and absolute welfare, it follows that the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it.
Vehementer Nos, #3.

Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast [of Christ The King] that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.
Quas Primas, #32.

Some argue that since Vatican II, this has changed. Except their claim is based on a Vatican II document which clearly says:

[the Council] leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ.
Dignitatis Humanae, #1.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church repeats that quote [CCC, #2105], but it too without giving any details. In other words, after Vatican II the doctrine on the Social Kingship of Christ is officially unchanged, but in practice it's kept under wraps (sins of omission, again...).

6) Conclusion: Either way, I'm screwed

Is it fun to disseminate the Church's doctrine on the Social Kingship of Christ? No. You are either ignored, ridiculed or attacked, including by a large part of the "catholic" clergy (including these sad days by the Clown-in-Chief himself).

But if you don't, it get's worse. As the famous Cardinal Pie states: "He [God] will reign; and if He does not reign by the benefits inseparable from His presence, He will reign by calamities inseparable from His absence." In other words: "without the Creator, the creature vanishes" [CCC, #308].

To the uninitiated, this might seem like "mumbo-jumbo", like some witch threatening you with "a curse" if you don't do what he wants. But it's more like a competent medical doctor who predicts disaster to an obese man who smokes three packs of cigarettes per day and never moves out of his TV couch except to get another beer from the fridge. Studying the nature of man and societies will allow you to see the inevitable consequences of rejecting Christ the King (i.e. Atheism), on the economy, national security, democracy, the environment, science, human rights, abortion rates, suicide rates, divorce rates, etc.

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