Sunday, 31 October 2010

Christ the King

Today is the feast of Christ the King, a Double of the First Class. It is also the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost and the first Sunday of November. The feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pius XI in 1925. It is an interesting example of another feast being permanently celebrated on a Sunday in contrast to the ideology of the reform that had taken place just over a decade before its promulgation. The liturgical colour of the feast is white and the Office is proper.

At Mattins the invitatory is Jesum Christum, Regem regum Venite adoremus. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from Pius XI's encyclical Quas primas. In the third nocturn the homily on St. John's Gospel is taken from the writings of St. Augustine. The ninth lesson is the homily appointed for the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost. All three lessons of that may be read as one by the enthusiastic. At Lauds the antiphons Suscitabit etc are sung with the Sunday psalms. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Sunday.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons Suscitabit etc are sung with the feastal psalms. The Doxology is sung with all the hymns of the Hours. At Prime the versicle in the short responsory is Qui primatum in omnibus tenes and the lectio brevis In ipso.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the Creed is sung. The preface is proper to the feast and the last Gospel is that of the Sunday.

Vespers are first Vespers of the great feast of All Saints. The antiphons Vidi turbam magnam etc are sung with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn is Placare, Christe, servulis (sung with the Doxology of the concurrent feast). After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the preceding Office of Christ the King and of the Sunday.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at Mattins in the third nocturn, the third psalm (Ps. 88) gets stripped of over half its verses. Verses Tu vero repulisti... to Benedictus Dominus in aeternam, fiat, fiat, 39 - 53, are omitted. The former eighth lesson is split into two to provide an eighth and ninth lesson as the homily of the Sunday is omitted as a ninth lesson. (If the Sunday were commemorated at Mattins it would be the fifth Sunday of October, not the first of November. So from now until the third Sunday the Mattins lessons in the 1962 rite will be a week behind those in the traditional rites). At Lauds there is no commemoration sung of the Sunday. At Prime and the Hours the Doxology for the feast is omitted. At Prime the lectio brevis is of the season. At Mass there is no commemoration of the Sunday and the last Gospel is In principio. Vespers are second Vespers of Christ the King with a commemoration of All Saints but no commemoration of the Sunday.


André said...

I recently started to question the instition of this feast. I would question the making of feast to counteract social problems. Take for example of St. Joseph the "worker" where Pius XII wanted to make up a feast to counteract Communism.(He originally wanted Christ the "Worker"; I kid you not.) Would it be the same in this case?

Paul Goings said...

Ah, we forgot the doxology at Vespers!

Rubricarius said...


Golly - I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies, San Giuseppe Comunista is bad enough!

I am not familiar with the reasoning behind the feast of Christ the King. Its promulgation certainly reversed the principle of not having feasts fixed on Sundays. It has been argued that the feast essentially repeats the themes of Ascension.