Depictions of anti-Christ abound in Christian fiction. The most famous in recent times is the “Left Behind” series, where a sinister dictator ushers in a world government through the United Nations. There is also Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World, a particular favorite of Pope Francis. But their progenitor is to be found in “A Short Story of Anti-Christ” by the Russian mystic Vladimir Soloviev: a short, simple work whose echoes resound through Christian writing of the twentieth century.
Soloviev gave us the figure of a superman, gifted and talented far beyond all other men, able to unite them by spellbinding oratory and a compelling new vision of the good. His only flaw, if indeed it is a flaw in so remarkable an individual, is a lack of humility, an unwillingness to bow before Jesus Christ.…
When Lot moved with his family to live among the Canaanites at Sodom, he wanted not for reasons. The lands surrounding the city provided superior pasture. His own herds were too large to graze with those of his uncle Abram in any case. The city had strong walls, the occasional military defeat notwithstanding. What if the citizens had strange ways? Abram had been growing increasingly fanatical for some time, and a great city could not help but play host to exotic practices. In the final reckoning, he and his family had prospects, but only in the city. He wished Abram well in the wilderness.
Over the following years, Lot’s calculations were borne out. His herds burgeoned and increased, and before long he was numbered among the most prominent elders of the city.…
While Christianity is being extirpated from some of its oldest seats around the world, American Catholics are instead forced to confront the seemingly bottomless turpitude of many bishops, exposed by the revelation of former Cardinal McCarrick’s history of sexual predation and the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report. These have been followed by an almost uninterrupted stream of insults from the pope, most prominently in the Vatican intervention at the American bishops’ meeting last November and the continuing battle over Archbishop Viganò’s allegations.
In this climate of woundedness
and well warranted mistrust, Bishop Robert Barron has published a Letter to
a Suffering Church. He seeks to reassure a discouraged and disheartened
American laity in the face of the scandal, describing it as “the Devil’s
masterpiece” and reminding readers that the history of the Catholic Church is
marred by many such scandals.…
The mass shooting has become the signature horror
of our time and place. Such events have become monstrously common, and
yet we seem to understand them no better today than we did twenty years
ago. An often-quoted essay in The Atlantic from 2015 examined the plague
of mass shootings as a kind of “slow-motion riot”, where each
subsequent horror makes its successor more likely. But this is merely to
say that mass shootings become more common as mass shootings become
more common: a description, not an explanation. When pondering these
events, it quickly becomes clear that apart from the obviously mad
(Tucson, 2011), politically motivated (Alexandria, 2017), or utterly
mysterious (Las Vegas, 2017), the great majority of the perpetrators are
disturbed young white men who do not know their fathers.…