Lord of the World

So I was reading a favorite of Pope Francis, Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson and I couldn’t help but notice the following.

In the book, the Anti-Christ is a person who seems to try an achieve peace and unity without Christ.

Is it the case that the character in the Lord of the Worlds would not even qualify post-Vatican II as an anti-Christ? Will he be seen as someone who does follow his conscience aspiring to truths like human perfection/peace and therefore is he merely an ideal image of an atheist with good will?

While reading the book, it seemed to me like by broadening the definition of what it means to know and follow Christ since Vatican II, it would seem that there can be no problem with a non-believer who seeks to bring about good purely through human enterprise? In fact, it may be what such a person must strive for in order to be saved? :confused:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is how the anti-Christ character in Lord of the World misled the world, but he himself was evil.

And non-believers should certainly be encouraged to practise natural virtue and indeed they can possess it. But natural virtue is precisely that, natural. And it will never avail them of salvation which can only be accomplished within the embrace of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Because the word may in English has two separate functions, permitting or indicating possibility, this passge in the CCC is confusing. It is supposed to be more like, a person who through no fault of his own does not know Christ may (meaning could possibly) be saved… and the conditions on this are very tricky and hard to achieve. This hypothetical person would *also *need to cooperate with the graces he receives from God, and if a person is doing evil, he is certainly *not *cooperating with God’s grace! Invincible ignorance is *not *a get-into-Heaven-free card :slight_smile:

While reading the book, it seemed to me like by broadening the definition of what it means to know and follow Christ since Vatican II, it would seem that there can be no problem with a non-believer who seeks to bring about good purely through human enterprise? In fact, it may be what such a person must strive for in order to be saved? :confused:

One must ask oneself whether his motives were to bring about good?

Thank you both for your replies. The issue I have is the following.

After Vatican II, it would seem that Atheist who strives to follow God’s Grace might actually be missing prevenient Grace to enter the Church. In fact, it seems as if the belief is that such an Atheist will receive only Grace to do good works and to live in peace and harmony with others.

But if that were the case, then such persons will always strive to bring about peace and unity apart from Christ. The Church does not seem to say today that such a thing is impossible. Rather, the Church would say that even the Atheist who strives to do this is implicitly following Christ. But then there seems to me some inconsistency that I cannot seem to be able describe very well at this moment.

It is as if the Church today is saying there is no such thing as seeking good apart from Christ for every person who seeks a good is following Christ. So the proposition that “That man is seeking good apart from Christ” is a self-refuting statement.

Therefore, unless the book explicitly made it clear that the character was the Anti-Christ, one would be right in think that he was a person of good will that may have been saved by God for his efforts?

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