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Lord of the World is a dystopian science fiction novel [1] by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson that centers upon the reign of the Anti-Christ and the End of the World.

Lord of the World – Wikipedia

The youngest son of the Archbishop of CanterburyEdward White Bensonand the society hostess Mary Sidgwick BensonRobert was descended from a very long line of Anglican clergymen. He had also read the litany at his father’s funeral at Canterbury Cathedral and dsl widely expected to one day take his father’s place as the most senior clergyman in the Anglican Communion.

After a crisis of faith described in his memoir Confessions of monvo Converthowever, Benson was received into the Roman Catholic Church on September 11, According to Joseph Pearce”The press made much of the story that the son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury had become a Catholic, and paerone revelation rocked the Anglican establishment in a way reminiscent of the days of the Oxford Movement and the conversion of Newman.

The former Vicar found himself inundated with hate mail from Anglican clergy, men, women, and even children. Benson found himself accused of being “a deliberate traitor”, “an infatuated fool”, and of bringing dishonor upon his father’s name and memory. Although he replied scrupulously to every letter, Benson was deeply hurt. He later wrote padone he received considerable solace in the words that an Anglican Bishop had spoken to his mother, “Remember that he has followed his conscience after all, and what else could his father wish for him than that?

After his ordination as a Catholic priest at Rome inFr. Bsnson had been assigned as a Padronee Chaplain at Cambridge University. It was during his stay at Cambridge Padroone that Lord of the World was conceived and written. According to his biographer Fr. Cyril Martindale, the idea of a novel about the Antichrist was first suggested to Fr. Benson by his friend and literary mentor Frederick Rolfe in December It was Rolfe who also introduced Mgr.

Rolfe’s suggestion that he should write a book on Antichrist. Writing during the pontificate of Pope Pius X and prior to the First World WarMonsignor Benson accurately predicted interstate highwaysweapons of mass destructionthe use of aircraft to drop bombs on both military and civilian targets, and passenger air travel bensonn advanced Zeppelins called “Volors”. Writing inFr. Benson’s ideas for future technology with those of legendary French science fiction novelist Jules Verne.

Benson also presumed the survival of European colonialism in Africa, the continued expansion of Imperial Japanand that predominant travel would continue to be by railway. Like many other Catholics of the era in which he wrote, Monsignor Benson believed in Masonic conspiracy theories and shared the political and economic views of G. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. In early 21st century Londontwo priests, the white-haired Father Percy Franklin and the younger Father John Francis, are visiting the subterranean lodgings of the elderly Mr.

A Catholic and former Conservative Member of Parliament who witnessed mondl marginalization of his religion and the destruction of his party, Mr. Templeton describes to the two priests the last century of British and world history. Since the Labour Party took control of the British Government inthe British Empire has been a single party state. The British Royal Family has been cel, the House of Lords has been abolished, Oxford and Cambridge have been closed down, and all their professors sent into internal exile in Ireland.

BensknAtheismand Secular Humanismwhich Templeton describes as the tools of Freemasonry[8] dominate culture and politics. The Anglican Communion has mondk disestablished since and, like all forms of Protestantismis almost extinct. The world now has only three main religious forces: Catholicism, Secular Humanismand “the Eastern religions”.


Nationalism has been destroyed by Marxist internationalism and the world has been divided into three power-blocs. Mindo first, which is generally marked in red on maps, is a European Confederation of Marxist one-party states and their colonies in Africa that use Esperanto for a world language. In a move that almost toppled Marxism in the Confederation during the s mindo ’80s, the Eastern Empire invaded, annexed, and now rules IndiaAustraliaand New Zealandas well as all of Russia east of the Ural Mountains.

For this and other reasons, Mr. Templeton explains, the Confederation and the Eastern Empire are now on the brink of a pzdrone war. Templeton completes his story, Fathers Franklin and Francis return to their spartan apartments at Westminster Bensom. Phillips, describes the seemingly inevitable rush toward war between the Confederation and the Empire.

He mentions that Julian Felsenburgh, a Senator from Vermont who looks identical to Father Percy Franklin, has unexpectedly taken charge of the American Republic’s peace delegation. Felsenburgh is tirelessly crisscrossing Asia and Siberiadelivering speeches to rapt audiences.

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The Senator shows a remarkable fluency in the languages of his listeners and even powers of bilocation. In conversation with his wife, Mabel, Oliver comments that war between the Confederation and the Empire will be “Armageddon with a vengeance”, and expresses hope that Senator Felsenburgh will save the day.

Although Mabel Brand appears concerned, her husband responds, “My dear, you must not be downhearted. It may pass as it all passed before. It is a great thing that we are listening to America at all.

Felsenburgh seems to be on the right side. Over breakfast, Oliver frets about his upcoming trip to Birminghamwhere the outraged population is again demanding the right to trade freely with the American Republic. As his mind returns to the possible war against the Mmondo, Brand ponders that the real io is the survival of religious belief in the Eastern Empire— BuddhismIslamSufismConfucianismand Pantheism.

In Great Britainonly Catholicism remains in “a few darkened churches” and “with hysterical sentimentality” in Westminster Cathedral. He ponders with disgust how, against his opposition, Ireland was granted Home Rule and “opted for Catholicism.

He recalls with outrage how the Italian Republic was forced to move its capital to Io. As he departs to catch a volor to Birmingham, Oliver looks out at “the grey haze of London, really beautiful, this vast hive of men and women who had learned at least the primary lesson of the gospel that there was no God but man, no priest but the politician, and no prophet but the schoolmaster.

As she prepares to board a train to BrightonMabel Brand witnesses a Government volor crash into the station. As the Government’s Ministers of Euthanasia arrive and begin to finish off the wounded, maimed, and dying, Mrs.

Brand witnesses Father Percy Franklin arrive. She is stunned to see the priest open his coat, pull out his crucifixand give the Last Rites to the dying Catholic lying next to her. After she returns home, deeply moved and traumatized by what she has beneon, Mabel tells Oliver that both Father Franklin and the dying man seemed to believe in what they were doing.

While deeply grieved that his ol has witnessed the horrors of the accident, Oliver explains Catholic doctrine about the Afterlifewhich he mocks as a ridiculous belief that a person’s mind can survive despite their brain being dead. According to Brand, for Father Franklin, the soul of the man is either “in a sort of smelting works being burned”, or if “that piece of wood took effect” he is “somewhere beyond the clouds” with the Holy Trinitythe Mother vel Godand the Communion of Saints.

He explains that “that kind of thing may be nice, but it isn’t true. At the residence of the Cardinal-Protector near Westminster Cathedral, Father Percy Franklin finishes writing his Latin language report to Rome about the mass defections taking place among English Catholics and the recent conversions from the crumbling Anglican Communion.

As he walks toward the elevatorFather Franklin finds that Father John Francis, whom he has been attempting to nurse through his mounting doubts, has lost his faith and decided to leave bensom priesthood.

In a last-ditch effort to prevent this, Father Franklin explains that Christianity “may be untrue”, but it cannot be absurd and false as long as educated and intelligent people continue to believe in its teachings.


Unmoved, Father Francis rebuffs Father Franklin’s argument and, with bottomless self-pity, asks whether they can remain friends. Father Franklin, suspecting that Father Francis is bdnson a police informant, responds, “What kind of friends could we be? Francis leaves in a huff. After saying his prayers before the Eucharist in the Tabernacle, Father Franklin joins his fellow priests as they discuss Felsenburgh over dinner.

Later, as he ponders the disintegration padroen Catholicism throughout the world, Father Franklin decides that what the Church needs most is a new religious orderwhich will help the Faith to survive and spread in the catacombs. While mndo a speech at Trafalgar SquareOliver Brand is wounded in the arm by a Catholic layman armed with a pistol.

After the would-be assassin is paddone to death by the assembled crowd, Oliver informs Mabel of the news. The American Senator has become the new ruler of pwdrone Eastern Empire, which he is still crisscrossing to deliver multiple speeches at once.

Even so, Oliver explains that he must travel to Paris to prepare armaments for ol war. He explains that an explosives manufacturer named Benninschein has developed weapons of mass destruction and sold them to both power blocs. Therefore, a war will leave at least one power bloc completely annihilated.

Hours later, a glowing Oliver returns from Paris and tells Mabel that, due to Felsenburgh, all chances of war have evaporated. It will soon be announced, and Oliver urges Mabel to come with him at once. Felsenburgh, he explains, will be there. As the Brands depart for their meeting with Felsenburgh, Oliver’s secretary, Mr. Phillips arrives at the flat of Father Percy Franklin. Explaining that Oliver Brand’s elderly mother used to be a Catholic, Phillips explains that she wishes to return to the Church before her imminent death.

Although he knows it might be a setup, Father Padrome feels that he cannot refuse. After having what he expects to be his last Confession heard, he walks to London Victoria Station to catch a train to Croydon.

To his shock, Father Franklin encounters cheering crowds and electrified letters announcing the overthrow of the Son of Heaven by Felsenburgh, the calling off of the expected war, the establishment of “universal brotherhood”, and Felsenburgh’s imminent arrival in London. After secretly arriving at the Brands’ home, Fr. Franklin is met by Mrs. Brand and, realizing that she is completely sincere, he receives her back into the Catholic Church.

Moments later, the doorknob turns, the door opens, revealing that the Brands have returned home an hour earlier than expected. Enraged that a priest would visit his home, Oliver is utterly infuriated that his mother would actually request such a thing. Despite his outraged demands, Father Franklin refuses to reveal who acted as the go-between. To Oliver’s shock, Mabel urges Father Franklin to leave in peace.

She explains that he will see Felsenburgh and the overflowing joy that his arrival has occasioned in England. This is why, Mabel explains, she is no longer afraid of him or of others like him. Deeply surprised that he will not be arrested, Father Franklin leaves into the summer night. For a brief moment, the Senator’s hypnotic powers of persuasion cause the priest to believe in him, but Father Franklin’s doubts about the Catholic Faith are soon overcome.

As Oliver Brand reads Mabel an account of Felsenburgh’s arrival in England in the Marxist newspaper New Peopleit is revealed that the Senator, who speaks all languages with equal fluency, has been hailed as the Mahdi throughout the Islamic World.

It boasts that his background has nothing “that convicts him of sin”, in contrast to the corrupt practices that have “made the sister continent what she is today”. It adds, however, “Of his actual words we have nothing to say.

So far as we are aware, no reporter made notes at the moment; but the speech, delivered in Esperantowas a very simple one; and very short.