District Superior's Letter: Nov 2011
The recent Angelus Press Conference in Kansas City reviewed the doctrinal background of the Church’s teaching on the Social Kingship of our Lord and presented a few historical examples of victories of Christendom in the temporal order. Since it is such an important teaching of our Faith...
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
A few days ago we celebrated the feast of Christ the King, a feast dear to our hearts since it is a reminder that our Lord Jesus Christ must reign in our souls, families, and parishes, at every level in civil society.
The recent Angelus Press Conference in Kansas City reviewed the doctrinal background of the Church’s teaching on the Social Kingship of our Lord and presented a few historical examples of victories of Christendom in the temporal order. Since it is such an important teaching of our Faith, but one that is much denied in the world in which we live, I would like to encourage you to obtain a recording of these conferences from Angelus Press. These are talks that every Catholic should listen to today in order to form themselves and better understand the consequences of this doctrine in everyday life.
Permit me in this letter to echo the conclusions of this 3-day conference: how can we today work for the Social Reign of our Lord Jesus Christ? How can lay people help to restore all things in Christ?
His Excellency Bishop Tissier explained that there are two kinds of action for laymen according to the teaching of the popes. The first is the help that laymen can give to the priests in their apostolate, collaborating in the work for souls under the direct leadership of the priests. Organizations such as the Legion of Mary and the Holy Name Society, teachers and catechists who assist the priest in the education and formation of youth, camps and youth groups–all are examples of this form of assistance. It is the priest’s responsibility to develop and lead these precious apostolates, which count greatly on the generous involvement of lay Catholics.
His Excellency explained, however, that there is Catholic Action properly defined, which is to work for the reign of Christ in civil society. This work is the particular responsibility of laymen, whose task it is to see that the principles of the Gospel are applied in society. The priest should be looked to for guidance and support, but the responsibility and therefore the initiative belong to the laity. This work is not easy in today’s world, but it must be remembered that it belongs to a Catholic’s duty of state, and especially to that of Catholic fathers of families.
So what can you do for the restoration of Christ the King today?
Your first duty is to form yourselves. There is a special obligation to understand the teaching of the popes regarding this doctrine of Christ’s Social Kingship, and you must do everything you can to come to a better understanding of it. Read books; subscribe to The Angelus and other Catholic magazines and newspapers; deepen your knowledge of the Faith and everything that pertains to it. The base of your studies should be the encyclicals of the popes and also the books of Archbishop Lefebvre, which are very precise summaries and explanations of the popes’ teaching. Be careful of all theories which may distract you or lead you away from this teaching, and look to the priests for guidance and help in understanding; formation is their direct responsibility.
A second way of working for the restoration of the Kingship of Christ is to protect and save the Christian family. The Christian family is under attack from all sides today: immorality and vulgarity attack us on the radio, in the grocery store, and on the street. Our economic climate sometimes makes it necessary for the mother to work outside the home. Young girls are de-feminized and young men are emasculated. Blasphemy is rampant, especially at Christmas and Easter, where the holiest feast days of the year are turned into the biggest buying seasons.
Facing these realities, there are some things you can do which are obvious. First, protect your family: whatever you do, ask yourselves if it helps your family or hurts it. Does the television help or hurt? What about the Internet? The things you do for recreation? What kind of music is listened to in your home? Remember, of course, that it is neither sufficient nor helpful to simply forbid what is bad. You must find Catholic alternatives in music, in recreation, and so on.
You must also work to preserve the family in society. Many of the crimes harming the family are against the natural law itself! The attack on marriage, the evil of abortion, the increasing spread of euthanasia and drugs: all are things that right reason itself abhors. In our pluralist and secular age, it is our duty as Catholics to work courageously to defend the family as the very foundation of society. We can do so not only by prayer, not only by respecting the natural law in our lives, but by action, by lay Catholic Action. In union with already existing organizations or by creating new ones it is possible to have a real impact in opposing these crimes against the natural law. United with prayer and guided by your priest, local protests, legal action, letters to law-makers, public opposition in newspapers or magazines–all are examples of manifesting our Faith, spreading seeds of a doctrine which does not belong to us for ourselves alone. We are meant to be a “ferment” in a world, which, since it was created by God, must recognize and confess the only Savior of mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ.
What else can you do?
I encourage you, wherever you can, to organize and form guilds or professional associations, groups bringing together people within the same trade or profession. Whether you are a lawyer, a teacher, a doctor, or a member of any other profession, you can find mutual support and assistance by collaborating with those who work with you in your field. Again, this is not a new idea. Archbishop Lefebvre mentions that social revolutionaries have always attacked these kinds of organizations as being critical to the Cause of Christ the King. The St. Joseph’s Businessmen’s Association and like organizations can help traditional Catholics network, edify, strengthen, and educate one another. Other associations could be easily founded throughout the country, collecting the strengths and concerns of professionals in a particular field. The medical field in particular comes to mind, since so many of you, as doctors, nurses, or medical personnel, struggle every day in your job. Such associations could bring support to families, students, and professionals by publications, conferences, and perhaps even group medical insurance.
Similarly, it is not impractical to consider running for office where possible. Parishioners in places like St. Mary’s and Post Falls have run for various offices, city and county commissioner, sheriff… and in many cases have won! This is the way Christians have transformed the world throughout history. As St. Pius X said: “Christendom does not have to be re-invented. It existed and must exist again.” This is what it means to restore ALL things in Christ.
In conclusion, it is not for me to give you specific marching orders, or to detail exactly what you should do. All of you have different concrete circumstances, different talents, and different means at your disposal. Nevertheless, I am eager to guide and help those who are ready to start. The work is large! All of you, wherever you find yourselves, can do something for our Lord in society. That He is meant to reign over us as individuals no one really denies. But does He reign over our families, our towns, and our country? And what can we do about it, seeing that He does not?
In the coming years, I would be glad to help and support initiatives around these main lines:
- The defense of the Catholic families and youth movements
- The defense of the natural law
- The creation of guilds and professional associations
- Initiatives encouraging local political action, especially running for public office
The Social Kingship of our Lord was important to Archbishop Lefebvre. This was not out of mere personal preference; it was an intrinsic part of his worldview, which he conveyed to his priests and to the faithful in his writings.
I trust that we may all, priests and lay people, play our proper role in this restoration. Adveniat Regnum Tuum!
With my prayers and blessing, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Fr. Arnaud Rostand