Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

I was reading some history on this solemnity, and I found out that the solemnity used to be on the last Sunday of October, and then after 1969 it was moved to the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Sunday before Advent.

When I read this, the poster mentioned that the transfer of this feast defeats the purpose of it. He/she said that “It leads one to believe that Christ isn’t King now, but only in the life to come.” He/she was very partial towards the moving of the date, which struck me as odd. I always believed that having the solemnity at the end of the liturgical year had great meaning because above all Christ is King. Do a lot of people share this view?

Also, prior to the Roman Missal changes, every paper missal that I used listed today as simply “Feast of Christ the King”, and now it lists it as “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe”. If this title was implemented in 1969 as well, then why was it never referred to as this until after the Roman Missal changes?

I really have no idea what the answer to your questions are but I would like to wish you a Happy Solemnity/Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. That said, I have heard that it is a Feast Day and then others have said it is a Solemnity. Does anyone know for sure which it is? Also, what is the difference between a Feast Day and a Solemnity?

not that I know much about this but at mass today
our priest said some pope Puis I think made this feast in the 1920’s to combat “ism” as in comunisim and secularism and later it help combat materilism and totalitism

I was born on the Feast of Christ the King back in the 1940s. The nun at the hospital made a big deal about the birth of a child on this day. No wonder why my mother spoiled me.

As a child I loved it when my birthday would be the same day as the Feast. It made me feel special. I was a bit miffed when it was changed to the last Sunday of the liturgical year but I understand why.


My best friend’s birthday happens to be today which is cool that it falls on a Feast Day. :slight_smile:

Glad to hear you feel the same way. :slight_smile:

According to both the *Ordo *and the breviary, Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe is a Solemnity.

Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university, explains (via Zenit via EWTN) the difference between Memorials, Feasts, and Solemnities here.

Hope this answers your questions. :slight_smile:

Thank you, and I hope you have a good one was well!

The celebration used to be a Feast from 1925-1969, and then in 1969 Pope Paul (VI I believe?) declared it a Solemnity.

The feast was introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to counter the spread of nationalism, secularism and Protestant thinking, the latter of which is what allowed the first two to spread as they have. More on that in a moment.

The title of the feast in the Roman Missal in Latin is exactly the same, then and now. The vernacular translations have typically shortened the title, supposedly in the interests of simplifying understanding. Prior to 1969, each publisher of a people’s vernacular missal came up with its own translations of the Order of Mass and the kalendar. They typically had a priest make the translations, then got a bishop to give an imprimatur. After the vernacular became the norm, each bishops’ conference assumed that responsibility and all missals naturally used the same translation. Rome does give a final permission for each national translation, and there is much cooperation between bishops conferences who use the same language. However, I think that it is fair to say that the 1970 missal in English did a serious dumbing-down of the Latin original texts, including the name of this feast. A great deal, but not all, of that damage was mitigated with the revised translation two years ago.

The purpose of having the feast on the last Sunday in October was to counteract the Protestant observance of Reformation Day, which was on or around 31 October. That feast celebrated the Protestant Reformation, and to a certain degree, rationalistic philosophy in general. As the Church has done at certain points in her history, Pope Pius wished to counteract something outside the Church with something inside it. This is how the dates of Christmas, Easter, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and several other feasts were created. The 19th and early 20th century developments of nationalism and secularism were philosophically rooted in the Reformation and the Enlightenment that followed it. Pope Pius felty that an emphasis on the Incarnation of Christ Our Lord was needed to redirect people’s hearts and minds to His Kingship, which was more important than any European or North American political and social system.

In the much more ecumenically-minded climate of the Vatican II, there was a reduced emphasis on highlighting specifically Catholic understandings over and against Protestant ones. There was an increased emphasis on Christian baptism that was common to most Christian denominations as well as the Church. Dialogue and engagement with the secular world were the order of the day, as well. The mainline Protestant denominations had gradually adopted large portions of the liturgical life of the Church, and the feast was moved to the last Sunday of the Church year, and its eschatological dimensions were emphasized over the seemingly more contentious ones.

OK, I realize that I have some bias in favor of the older understanding of the feast, but I think that the above is a reasonably accurate summary of the origins and later development of the feast.

This was a lucid and well expressed post. Thank you.


Adding to this: “Feast” didn’t have exactly the same sets of meanings before and after 1969.

I don’t know if the celebration began in 1925 in the highest rank of celebrations, but at least by 1960 it was a “double [feast] of the I class,” “I class double,” or other wording to that effect, the highest rank. In 1960 it was a “I class” feast (as you can see on an Extraordinary Form calendar of today), also the highest rank. “Solemnity” is the highest rank in the Ordinary Form of today.

In other words,

From this link:

A: Effectively we use the word “feast” to cover all levels of celebration, even though the word also has a precise technical meaning in the hierarchy of celebrations. There is no great difficulty in this, as the context usually clarifies whether we are speaking technically or in general.

You could refer to the celebration as a solemnity (in Fr. McNamara’s “precise technical” sense) or as a “feast” (in the “general” sense). The celebration is not a “Feast” in the “precise technical” sense of the Ordinary Form (where “Feast” refers to the second-highest rank).

I basically agree with him that there is “no great difficulty,” but difficulties can still arise if the context isn’t that clear.

True. Of course, several solemnities over the centuries have been moved, but me, I really wished it was in October not November.

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