Following the attack on the French magazine 'Charlie Hebdo', the Vatican's newspaper has commented  that behind these 'inhuman acts' is an undeclared nihilism, which can be glimpsed through the exaltation of suicide and the evident drive to death.

"The totalitarian collectivism aim at the destruction of humanity and to its self-annihilation. A dark soul beats from the deep of this ideological hell, and there lies a sense of what we may think without a scope. We are still in front to nihilism, that some of philosophers have declared overcome and obsolete," L'Osservatore Romano published in its Jan. 8 edition.

Dario Fertilio, the author of the article, stressed that "terroristic violence" may be described as inhuman, since "every totalitarian ideology hides a human inclination to dominate the other and to instrumentally use terror and violence for its own purpose."

The author compares jihadism with Bolshevik communism or National Socialism, aiming to find an inner sense to the car-bombs in Iraq, to the beheadings perpetrated by the Islamic State, to al-Qaeda suicide attacks, and to slaughter of innocents by Boko Haram.

According to the Vatican newspaper, current explanation of the phenomenon may be reductive, or at least superficial.

Beyond the wish "to cause pain to the enemy to educate him," or the attacks on education – "with a fury that is considered an outcome of a not well specified cultural backwardness," the author identifies an "inflexible logic and even foreseeable" of any totalitarian system, that "may be assimilated to the action of a virus, of ideologic kind."

The article stress that any totalitarianism needs to keep on expanding, although it might be able to use "skilled diplomatic and communicative strategies," since "if it quits" expanding "it means it entered in a phase of regression, and this decline may mean his end."

Despite jihadism being seemingly far from a regression or an end, the Vatican newspaper stress that since totalitarian ideology is unable to spread, it tends to attack itself, "targeting those that in theory" the ideology "should represent and protect."

Hence, "the intimidation of dissidents, the doing-away of any opposition, the eruption of heterodoxies, the generalized internal terror against the 'different' and the 'unfaithful', the denouncing of plots or betrayal and so on."

In the end, "terrorism and acts of ruthless violence may solely be masks of their true totalitarian nature," that "like a parasite, uses every tool at its disposal – a sacred book, national pride, the worship of land, of blood, of social class belonging – only for instrumentalization, with the task to pursue the real hidden target of controlling power. And this control may be in turn only functional to perpetuate its system of dominating."

These are the nihilist roots of the most recent events, according to the Vatican newspaper.

"Everybody, taken by the need to denounce the mass conformism and the modern forms of authoritarianism, have forgotten the heart of darkness, that is the totalitarian evil as the diabolical illness of power uniquely able to destroy," L'Osservatore Romano reads.

The article concludes that, as this power goes beyond every limit, "it cannot be anything else than pure energy of overpowering, inexhaustible source of pain and death."

"Destructive and self-destructive, in an attempt to replace God, perhaps we are now facing the nihilism" denounced by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and later theorized as a "vital force" by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche.