Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately...
In his homily this weekend, the Holy Father repeated the view that we are in a sort of third world war:
“Peace is God’s dream, his plan for humanity, for history, for all creation. And it is a plan which always meets opposition from men and from the evil one,” the Pope added. “Even in our time, the desire for peace and the commitment to build peace collide against the reality of many armed conflicts presently affecting our world. They are a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal and, in the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war.”
“Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately, mainly those who want conflict between different cultures and societies, and those who speculate on wars for the purpose of selling arms. But war means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed houses, streets and factories; it means, above all, countless shattered lives. You know this well, having experienced it here: how much suffering, how much destruction, how much pain! Today, dear brothers and sisters, the cry of God’s people goes up once again from this city, the cry of all men and women of good will: war never again!” - Vatican InsiderPope Francis has said it before - that we are in a sort of piecemeal third world war. The atmosphere is ripe for it. It's undeclared - but we hear of all the conflicts, the mass killings - and we know it is happening - it is indeed an atmosphere of war.
The spirit of the age.
For me, his statement coincides with my take on what I see as a culture dominated by a sort of 'post-modern' neo-paganism. I've written about it regarding Caitlyn Jenner and gender ideology, as well as LGBTQ theory and the redefinition of marriage and family. Attempting to identify the trend as a sort of idolatry, rooted, or steeped in neo-pagan spirituality. The 'practioners' may not always be conscious of it, since it is what some might call the spirit of the age, or zeitgeist. Nevertheless it is an atmosphere of paganism - God is rejected - supplanted by gods of our own making. Re-shaping humanity through conscious evolutionary techniques, I suppose. Too heady for me to discuss with any scholarship, but I believe the Holy Father has cited the exact same atmosphere since the beginning of his pontificate when he pointed out the evils of modern idolatry, false gods, as well as the reality of Satan - the demonic sources of the moral and cultural shift.
It's a vague notion of mine, but others more learned than myself have been talking about it rather seriously lately. Archbishop Cordileone for one - and then of course, the Holy Father. Previously we've often been told to watch the 'signs of the times'. John Paul II and Benedict XVI often called our attention to it. I think these 'signs' are much more obvious today.
"Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil."
When we do not profess Jesus Christ,
we profess the worldliness of the devil,
a demonic worldliness. - Pope Francis
An 'occult' atmosphere.
I'm thinking it's all part of the spiritual cocktail contained in the cup the whore of Babylon offers to our generation. Pop culture is a funny thing - we are all part of it - or at least touched and influenced by it, like it or not. Catherine of Genoa referred to it as "The contagion of the world's slow stain". John of the Cross was more explicit: "Where does this poisonous harm fail to reach? And who fails to drink little or much from the golden chalice of the Babylonian woman of the Apocalypse? ...There is hardly anyone of high rank or low, saint or sinner, who does not drink of her wine, subjecting his heart somewhat. For as pointed out in Revelation 17:2-4, all the kings of the earth were inebriated with the wine of her prostitution. She reaches out to all states, even the supreme and illustrious state of the priesthood, by setting her abominable cup in the holy place, as Daniel asserts [Dn. 9:27], and she hardly leaves a strong man who has not drunk a small or large quantity of wine from her chalice..." - Ascent III, 22:4
I think this atmosphere can even extend to our attachment to prophecy, visions, and locutions so prevalent around the globe today - which is why discernment is so necessary when it comes to these things. Today, extraordinary mystical phenomena frequently echoes private revelations from the 19th and 20th centuries. I'm not convinced this makes for consistency of message or warnings - but rather could be a sign of autosuggestion or a bad spirit. It seems to me these may sometimes be linked to an atmosphere which is susceptible to the influence of the 'elemental spirits' - especially the ancient pre-Christian superstitions and cults which pervaded certain areas or spaces where contemporary revelations have been alleged today. Scripture refers to their pagan counterparts as the 'high places' - which for me sheds light on Christ's admonition to the Samaritan woman: "Believe me... the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem." It is as if Christ is speaking to us today, "You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand ... But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him." - John 4
Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately...
I might be wrong, but it seems to me the spirit of the age pervades even into the sanctuary - which for me explains what Bl. Paul VI meant when he spoke about the 'smoke of satan' entering through some fissure.
Many today, unwittingly trade their birthright for a meal - for temporary happiness - hoping to change the meaning of existence - as well as reshape God to suit their inclinations. That notion is more akin to Wicca than Christianity.
We can condemn actions as much as we want, we can trace evil to its demonic source, but we cannot condemn persons, or demonize them - nor can we do this to whole groups of people. I think we can agree many people are misled and living 'in sin' - but they are simply looking for happiness in a world that is now more permissive. We are all sinners. We have all gone astray. We all must be careful not to be swept away by the diabolic delusion which pervades our times.