Much has been made of Benson’s prophetic insight in the novel, such as global air travel via airplane-like Volors and what we would today refer to as weapons of mass destruction, but to my mind most prophetic is how accurately he foresaw in the "Prologue" the political, religious, and ideological history of the world in our own time. The fictional 90-year-old Mr. Templeton recounts to the main protagonist of the book, Fr. Percy Franklin, what has transpired from 1904 up to our own time:
"Now, we Catholics, remember, are losing; we have lost steadily for more than fifty years."
Ironically, Templeton identifies 1989 as the year of the acceptance of Karl Marx’s doctrines in Great Britain, while in reality that year signaled the largely total collapse of Communist rule throughout the world.
Now, of course, Msgr. Benson does not get everything "spot on," as he might have put it, but he certainly foresaw the worship of nature, the triumph of the machine, the rule by bureaucracy, the growing mass apostasy from Catholicism in the West, and the indifference to the worth of human life. Although birth control is not mentioned, the childless marriage of Oliver and Mabel Brand, the couple whose political and religious struggles are central in the novel, is clear evidence of its normalcy. The Culture of Death is omnipresent in the novel, particularly the universal availability of euthanasia. Chillingly in an early scene, the "ministers of Euthanasia" descend upon the survivors of a "Volor" crash in order to finish them off.
And, of course have not we all seen in recent time the rise of a political figure who seemed to rise from nowhere of whom the populace knows virtually nothing of his background, who upon his mysterious appearance on the world stage has been greeted both in the U.S. and abroad with adulation bordering on the Messianic and seems to be the first leader of "Globalization," attempting to eradicate the barrier between traditional nation states and with a social agenda regarding the Life issues that could not be more anti-Christian and with a clear animus against the Catholic Church?
I will stop here lest I ruin your enjoyment by revealing too much of the plot. Of course, every man faces the end of his world as he approaches his own death. As long as he possesses the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, he has nothing to fear and everything to look forward to. When the Lord will come again has not been revealed; like death, we know neither the day nor the hour. God asks us to do our best to be in the "Friendship of Christ" (the title of another book by Msgr. Benson), providing us with all the graces we need, and our salvation will then be assured. And he calls us to bring as many people with us as possible.