St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 2 Lesson 23-24


Podcasts: Christ the King 1, Christ the King 2
Podcast: Slides

Magisterium: Annum Sacrum, E Supremi, Ubi Arcano, Quas Primas

Penny Catechism: Q43-6, Q71-6
Catechism of the Council of Trent (The Roman Catechism): Thy Kingdom Come
Bible: Mt 25:31-40, Jn 18:37
Catholic Encyclopedia: 
Aquinas 101:
Frank Sheed: Map of Life  Theology & Sanity
Summa Theologica: 
Companion to the Summa: Vol IV

Christ the King

Jesus Christ is Prophet (to teach), Priest (to sanctify), and King (to conquer, to reign, to command: Christus vincit, regnat, imperat)

  1. The King

    He had neither territory, nor wealth, nor army, but, because he claimed to have sovereignty, he incited his fellow countrymen to hatred, his fellow countrymen who felt threatened in their positions of petty power. This Man, the most perfect of men, the most beautiful of men, a Man full grace and truth, was indeed a king. In fact he was the King of Kings. 


  2. Foundations of Kingship

    (i) Hypostatic Union

    Unlike other kings, He had not acquired His throne by conquest, by inheritance or by election; He possessed His throne in its fullness from the very first instant of His Incarnation because He was also God; He was a Person Who was God. 

    This King did not receive or win or accede to His subjects, HE CREATED THEM and He kept them in existence and He still keeps them in existence still, even now;


    (ii) Work of Redemption

    He possessed His throne not only as the God-man, but on another count: He purchased His kingdom – every soul – by redeeming them from the servitude to sin. Every soul owes Him their life. This King did not purchase them to save their earthly life, as one who might liberate a galley slave, He purchased them for eternal life.

  3. Consequences of Kingship

    (i) On the part of Jesus Christ

    He is the Lawgiver, Judge, Executor for all men.

    (ii) On the part of His subjects

    The indivindual, the family, the community and the state are subject to Him: they owe obedience to His laws and honour to His person.

  4. His Kingdom

    (i) Purpose:

        to guide men to their supernatural end.

    (ii) Nature:

        a) Spiritual Kingdom: Pope Pius XI Quas Primas: "When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honour and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross."

        b) Temporal Kingdom: Pope Leo XIII Annum Sacrum: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.”


  5. Church & State

    The Church, which has Christ as its head has indirect power over the state. It is guardian of the Laws of the King of Kings and has been given a supernatural mission - more important than any earthly mission of a temporal power. 

    Pope Boniface VIII Unam Sanctam:  ‘Behold, here are two swords‘ [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: ‘Put up thy sword into thy scabbard‘ [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.

    However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power. For since the Apostle said: ‘There is no power except from God and the things that are, are ordained of God‘ [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other.