During this morning's homily at Santa Marta, Pope Francis prayed:
Lord give me the discernment to recognize the subtle conspiracies of worldliness that lead us to negotiate our values and our faith.
He then, apropos the reading from Maccabees, offered an interesting allusion:
with a reference to the 20th century novel, Lord of the World, that focuses on the spirit of worldliness that leads to apostasy, Pope Francis warned against the desire to “be like everyone else” and what he called an “adolescent progressivism”. “What do you think?” – he said bitterly – “that today human sacrifices are not made? Many, many people make human sacrifices and there are laws that protect them”.
Lord of the World was written by Robert Hiugh Benson, a convert to Catholicism and Catholic priest, who was the son of an Archbishop of Canterbury. Of the novel Joseph Pearce writes that it depicts "a world where philosophical relativism has triumphed over objectivity...a world where euthanasia is practiced widely and religion hardly practiced at all."
Benson wrote at the beginning of the twentieth century, and Francis clearly finds his dystopian novel a cautionary tale.