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*Image: Alegory of Satan (Lord of the World) by Ludwik Stasiak, c. 1900 [National Museum in Krakow, Poland]

By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, April 24, 2023

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.


Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis often referred to Lord of the World, a 1907 novel by Fr. Robert Hugh Benson about an apocalyptic clash between two opposing forces.

One is the Catholic Church, renewed and purified, surviving only marginally in small pockets of believers in various counties, but potently ruling over Rome and a large area around the Eternal City, where 6,000,000 Catholics have gathered – a concession by the Italian government in exchange for the Church giving up its claims in the rest of the country.

The other side is what we would now call “globalism,” which dominates the rest of the world with promises of peace and prosperity (both goods in their proper places, of course). …

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