XIII will always be associated in men's minds with Rerun Novarum; that of Pius X with the reform of Church Music and the decree on Frequent Communion: and that of Benedict XV with the new Code of Canon Law and his peace efforts during the last war. What act of our late Pope, Pius XI, will remain in our memories as a permanent link with his great pontificate? Surely it will be his institution of the Feast of the Kingship of Christ. The key to everything which Pius XI wrote is contained in the full significance of his " Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ " which was the subject of his very first Encyclical, Ubi Arcano Del (1922). After this first great pronouncement he wrote twenty-five other Encyclicals. Out of all the Encyclicals there is one outstanding—one which will enshrine for all time the life task of Pius XI, because he considered it the principal means of bringing back the peoples of the earth to a recognition of the Kingship of Christ. The Encyclical, Quas Primas (December 11, 1925), came at the close of the Holy Year, after the Vatican Missionary Exhibition, the celebration of the sixteenth centenary of the Council of Nicaea, the canonisation of six saints. It reproduces the thoughts and aspirations born in the soul of Ms XI by these stirring events.
Of all the Encyclicals Quas Primas struck a note so deeply spiritual and so courageously Christian that it has been rightly regarded as the most remarkable religious document of our century. The very hardihood of its fundamental thesis has impressed all classes.
That Christ is the King of society, the ruler of nations and of individuals, and that only in His kingdom can love, peace and tranquillity be found is certainly not an idea foreign to Christian theology.
The great wonder is that so simple, so scriptural and so fruitful a thought remained a mere idea until Pius XI gave it concrete expression in the liturgical life of the Church.
The Encyclical vibrates with life. Beginning on a severely doctrinal note, it quotes passage after passage from the Scriptures to prove the royalty. of Christ. outlines the traditional belief of the Church, and then, as if conscious of the futility of attempting to prove a dogma which lies at the very heart of Christianity and which all Christians must accept, breaks out into a magnificent paean of praise of Him to whom " all power has been given in Heaven and on earth, whose throne is for ever, and whose rule is from sea to sea, from the river unto the ends of the earth."
In this Encyclical we see at its white heat all the fire which consumed the soul of Pius XI. a soul devoted to the lasting interests of Christ. We see the hope which knows no frustration and no final defeat. We are in the presence of a faith, which sees as a reality the Kingdom of Christ spread all over the world; of an all-encompassing love which embraces men of every race and nation, even those who for one reason or another still remain outside the fold of Christ. And we understand the fundamental optimism of the Catholic Church.