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September 2, 2004

Ruling for Christ the King

by Thomas A. Droleskey

[As I noted a few weeks ago, there will be fewer articles on this site in the coming months. The sheer amount of administrative work that I must do in my capacity as the founding president of Christ the King College just does not leave me with a lot of time for the sort of writing I have been doing for many years now. However, there will be about four or five articles on this site every month. This is my first contribution for the month of September. There will be another tomorrow on the fiftieth anniversary of the canonization of Pope Saint Pius X. My apologies for the reduction in the output of articles. Apart from the duties I must fulfill as a husband and a father, the most important work I am doing at present is to launch Christ the King College and to establish it so that it can help to educate traditional Catholics in the authentic patrimony of the true Church for many years to come.]

The liturgical calendar that governs the Immemorial Mass of Tradition contains a richness that one can never fully mine in this passing vale of tears. Recent commentaries of mine have dealt with two exemplars of the Social Reign of Christ the King, Saint Henry and Saint Louis. This article offers a brief reflection on yet another exemplar of the Social Reign of Christ the King, Saint Stephen of Hungary, who was married to the sister of King Henry.

Saint Stephen of Hungary is responsible for bringing the people of his land under the yoke of Christ and His Holy Church, outside of which there is no salvation. He understood very clearly that the exercise of his authority as a civil ruler had to be proscribed by the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as they were entrusted to and explicated by the Catholic Church. Saint Stephen knew also that he had to scale the heights of personal sanctity on a daily basis in order to be able to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith and to make choices that were consonant with his own salvation and that of the people over whom he had been placed in civil authority. To this end, therefore, Saint Stephen was assiduous in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God. He knew that he could rule justly if he did not subordinate everything in his life to the Deposit of Faith Our Lord had entrusted to the true Church and if he did not seek to cooperate with the graces he received so fervently in the sacraments.

Saint Stephen knew that it was not only important to pursue holiness himself. He understood the importance of surrounding himself with advisers who were equally desirous of saving their souls and of pleasing God as He had revealed Himself through the Catholic Church. Saint Stephen, for example, would not have had in his retinue of advisers and courtiers men who supported the destruction of innocent human beings in their mothers' wombs under cover of law (say, a Duke Giuliani or a Count Schwarzenegger, just to pick a few fictional names out of the hat). No, Saint Stephen had in his retinue at his court in Budapest men who understood that the state of a country depended upon the state of individuals souls, that each and every citizen of a country must first be a citizen of the true Church in order to subordinate everything in his life to First and Last Things. Saint Stephen knew that no people could make themselves secure if they countenanced the violation of God's law under the cover of civil law, no less accept advice from and/or extol as virtuous or admirable men who promoted the violation of God's law in the name of "civil liberty" and "human rights."

Moreover, Saint Stephen, like Saint Henry during his own day and Saint Louis who lived two centuries after him, understood that the conditions that bred sin in civil society had to be eradicated by the power of the civil state, which can never be indifferent to the promotion of sin under cover of law or in the popular culture. That is, even though each of us is a sinner who is in constant need of availing himself of God's ineffable mercy in the Sacrament of Penance (and who is need of making reparation for his own sins and those of the whole world, especially by offering up whatever merits earned for offenses borne with forgiveness and sufferings endured justly as a punishment for his own sins as a consecrated slave of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart), there is no civil right to sin with impunity or to advocate its commission by others.

Thus, unlike some contemporary officials who exercise civil authority, Saint Stephen would never say that perverse violations of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments were within the realm of some subordinate civil authority (say, a state or provincial or regional government) to permit. No individual ruler and no collective institution of civil rule (a legislature, a court) has any authority to sanction a violation of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. As Father Denis Fahey pointed out in The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:

As the final end of man is, however, not merely natural, the State, charged with the temporal social order, must ever act so as not only not to hinder but also to favour the attaining of man's supreme end, the Vision of God in Three Divine Persons. Political thought and political action, therefore, in an ordered State, will respect the jurisdiction and guidance of the Catholic Church, the divinely-instituted guardian of the moral order, remember that what is morally wrong cannot be politically good. Thus the natural or temporal common good of the State will be always aimed at, in the way best calculated to favour the development of true personality, in and through the Mystical Body of Christ. The civil power will then have a purer and higher notion of its proper end, acquired in the full light of Catholic truth, and political action, both in rulers and ruled, will come fully under the influence of supernatural life.

Saint Stephen understood this perfectly. He knew that everything in individual and social life must be subordinated to the reality of the Incarnation of the God-Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb and to that God-Man's Redemptive Act on the wood of the Holy Cross. When this occurs, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei in 1885, the specific sorts of institutional arrangements that men make to govern themselves will reflect the greater honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity and the temporal and eternal good of the citizens who compose a particular country.

Saint Stephen is thus a saint we should invoke every day for the conversion of the United States of America and the whole world to the Social Reign of Christ the King. The modern state was founded in the specific and categorical rejection of the necessity of belief in Deposit of Faith that Our Lord entrusted to Holy Mother Church for the right ordering of men and their civil societies. The modern state was founded in the specific and categorical rejection of the absolute necessity of a belief in, access to and cooperation with sanctifying grace for individuals to grow in virtue as they attempt to scale the heights of sanctity as consecrated slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Contemporary careerist politicians can bellow all of the hollow and bombastic rhetoric they may like in order to deceive those who believe in nationalistic myths that there is programmatic or ideological way to resolve a nation's problems and/or to secure a nation's borders. The only way by which a nation can ameliorate the effects of Original Sin and Actual Sins and thus make itself truly strong is to submit itself to the Social Reign of Christ the King as it is exercised by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church Our Lord founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope.

Imploring Saint Stephen to pray for us so that we can be converted away from our own sins and thus be better and more worthy instruments of building up the Social Reign of Christ the King in our own country by first endeavoring to built up the Kingdom of God in our own souls as members of the Catholic Church, we beseech Our Lady to convert the heart of Pope John Paul II to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. As the errors of Russia are the errors of Modernity and Modernism, the Triumph of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart is thus essential to overthrow all of the anti-Incarnational errors of the present and to replace petty men in positions of civil authority with the likes of Saint Stephen, Saint Henry and Saint Louis.

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and of earth, pray for us.

Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.





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