What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

A Little Break from the Depressing News with a Classic Catholic Meme


I thought it appropriate to have my first post echo Chesterton’s famous answer to the question from which this blog gets its name. It is important to remember that while I have plenty of strong opinions about how our culture and government need to change, when it comes to “what’s wrong with the world”, like Gilbert Keith, I think it is important to start by looking in the mirror. I also think that this Catholic sense of original sin is also an important political attitude – it helps keep conservatives grounded in what can ultimately be accomplished by government or through laws and public policy – there are limits to what we can achieve because we are all sinners. Whittaker Chambers, in his classic book, Witness, speaks eloquently about the choices we all face to do evil. The foreword to the book is a letter to his children which concludes with Chambers asking his children to picture Jesus being crucified at Golgotha:

“When you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know life is pain, that each of us hangs always on the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman, and child on earth, you will be wise.”

Comments (20)

I do not understand what's supposed to be going on in the image that illustrates "What Protestants think I do". I see an idol with a lion's head and burning hat - to which a child is being presented (perhaps offered for sacrifice?). I see some kind of tumult in which men wearing Canaanite costumes are blowing trumpets while other people bow down in worship etc.

I do not recognize anything in the picture that symbolizes what a Protestant thinks about the Catholic faith.

Jeffrey S: Thanks for this post, both a bit of a laugh on a hard day and your perspective on who we are -- sinners saved by grace. I look forward to your contributions.

Alex, the idea is that Protestants think Catholics are idol worshipers. I do know some Protestants who think that, though I don't.

Thanks, Jeff S. Great Chambers quotation!

A fine first post!

Recycling timeless truths are helpful.

FWIW, I've also seen the same truth expressed in these two places:

(1) Pogo Cartoon Strip: "The enemy is us."

(2) Donald Miller's Book, Blue Like Jazz, where he also says that the place to start with social ills is to first begin with yourself. (I didn't particularly care for the book, but since it was given to me as a gift, I thought I'd read it and try to extract something good out of it.)

P.S. With regards to the idol worship thing, some Protestants consider it a distinction-without-a-difference when comparing the statements of "worshipping Mary" and "venerating Mary" or "worshipping Christ in the communion wafer" and "venerating Christ in the communion wafer."

TUAD---with regard to trying to "extract something good" from junk, I can guarantee you it could have been just as easily extracted from, oh, I don't know.... the Bible, perhaps. Therefore, I personally don't see the point in making the effort. It's why I sort of roll my eyes when earnest conservatives try desperately to convince me that there's "something good" in the emergent movement. "Hypocrisy is bad... that's true, right?" Tell me something I didn't already know/couldn't easily have found in the book of James for myself.

Lydia: Of course I have heard of and read about people who, describing themselves as Protestants, say that Catholics worship idols. I suspect such ignorance or extremism is pretty rare nowadays.

I thought the scene had been chosen for some particular significance (which had escaped me.)

Dear Masked Elephant,

I hope your spanking hand now realizes that my petite rear flanks are protected with a cast-iron skillet.

Did you not notice my qualifiers providing me safe and protected distance from the liberal emerger infection. I had my CDC Infectious Disease suit on! No spanking for me!


TUAD, rest assured I have no fear for your becoming infected. I was merely offering some elephant wisdom on how best to spend/conserve your time, e.g., reading the Bible as opposed to muscling past the gag reflex whilst squinting for gold in the Don Miller pile. :)


I think Lydia is spot on in her explanation and you have to take the picture with a large grain of salt -- it is meant to be humorous!

TUAD and Masked Elephant,

I actually hang out with a couple of young Protestant guys here in Chicago (I don't think they consider themselves part of the "emergent movement" -- I get the sense their church is more like Tim Keller's church in Manhattan). Anyway, while I don't know if they read Miller's book, one of them did see the movie that was made based on Blue Like Jazz and thought it was pretty good. Now, this particular guy also likes those Christian movies made by that church down in the south (the name escapes me) -- Courageous and Fireproof are two of the films that achieved some broader popularity among Christians. I don't think either would be considered a great work of art but I don't think there is harm in wanting to watch a movie with explicit Christian themes that might not be The Passion of the Christ in terms of craftsmanship and storytelling but still has some worthy themes to entertain and educate.

I've seen promo material for the movie _Blue Like Jazz_ and read a basic synopsis, and frankly it looks even worse than the book, if that's possible. Not only is there some completely unwarranted sexual dialogue/content, but it's obviously pushing a liberal agenda. The closing scene features a "confessional booth" where liberal Christians can apologize to secular heathens for those mean conservatives who are giving Jesus a bad reputation----essentially. I'm actually surprised that the same people who enjoyed the Sherwood movies would also enjoy that movie. As a matter of fact, Provident Films (which distributed the Sherwood pictures) prohibited the trailer for _BLJ_ from being shown before their recent film _October Baby_ in theaters, because they knew the audience who came to see the latter would most likely not appreciate the former. Naturally Steve Taylor made a big stink about this, but I say good for them.

Where is Prof. R. Scott Clark when we need him?!
Historically protestants in general, and protestants that stand in the reformed tradition in particular, have charged the Church of Rome with idolatry.
Part of the reason is Protestant objections to icons and especially free standing statuary; not only of the saint and the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also of our Lord. Such statuary is regarded as a transgression of the commandment not to make any grave image.
The other major reason reformed protestants charge the Church of Rome with idolatry is their understanding of Holy Communion. The Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 expressly charges the Church of Rome with idolatry. Heidelberg question 80 asks,

"What is the difference between the Lord's Supper and the popish mass?"
You will note they say popish mass. Lutherans had retained the mass but had a different understanding of it then the Church of Rome. The reformed disagreed with the Lutherans but did not accuse them of idolatry. The answer to Heidelberg question 80 is:
"The Lord's Supper testifies to us that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which He Himself has once accomplished on the cross; and that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, who according to His human nature is not not on earth, but in Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, and will there be worshipped by us. But the mass teaches that the living and the dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry."

One can argue about whether of not the Heidelberg correctly represents the popular or the official Roman Catholic understanding of the mass in 1563. The point is many protestants believe that the Church of Rome engages in idolatry every-time she celebrates the mass.

Thomas Yeutter: "Where is Prof. R. Scott Clark when we need him?!"

Perhaps he is out policing his particular and peculiar Two Kingdom utterances: "To the degree that ministers are officers of the church and fundamentally representatives of the kingdom of God, they are naturally restrained about speaking to partisan political matters."

Okay, calling a foul on snark, TUAD. Bag it. Don't mess up the thread for Jeffrey S.'s first post, already.

Sorry Jeffrey S. if I messed up the thread for your first post.

Expect this from TUAD. I had many go-rounds with him on another site where I was posting under a different handle.

"Whittaker Chambers, in his classic book, Witness, speaks eloquently about the choices we all face to do evil."
Chambers was not a Catholic. He was baptized late in life in the Episcopal Church. He became a Quaker. He was a fan of Karl Barth. He struggled with his homosexuality. Having said all of that; Chambers stood up and was counted in the protracted conflict the West had with Marxism. He never lost sight of the spiritual dimension of the struggle. The forward to Witness, should be part of the mandatory set of readings assigned to all high school students.

“When you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know life is pain, that each of us hangs always on the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman, and child on earth, you will be wise.”

Such a tragic fact. I can remember my childhood very well, as well as the transition into adulthood. So much pain has been involved with growing older and wiser. We look back and praise our adolescence while at the same time telling our kids to grow up. We forget how the innocence feels. The world stinks badly. All the evil that exists here is trying to destroy innocence completely. This is why we see our children being targeted by mainstream. Movies, video games, pop idols, online corruption, popular trends, etc etc. It;s all jam packed with colorful fun and narrow-minded corruption. Turning our kids into non-empathic a**holes at an early age. They don't know if they are gay or straight. Therefore they become both by choice. They are unable to stand for anything because it's "cool" to stand for nothing but "self". Churches are failing the doctrine due to becoming modernized and adding too much fun. Our church actually had a "super-hero" day where everyone dressed up like comic book heroes. They also have rap music in the church. It is all a disgrace to God and Jesus Christ. It promotes what lies outside the church and makes Christ dull and boring for the children. Therefore, they will grow up weak rooted in Christ and He will not be a part of their life down the road.

There is too much wrong in the world. But we must remember something important. Earth is not Heaven. It might as well be Hell because it is forsaken and will be destroyed. Therefore, for any of us to attempt to improve it is like trying to turn death into life. It cannot be done by any human. The end result has already been determined. The world will get worse until its over. The only thing we can do is preserve all that is good and make certain it lives and thrives within our children. It is the only protection they have and it requires more than a parent. It requires a mentor. Be a major part of your child's life until the day you die.

Joe M,

Thanks for your heartfelt and passionate comment. I did edit out the profanity -- we try and keep this a family blog -- but I understand where your frustration comes from.

I would only add that I disagree with the idea that we can't improve life here on Earth for anyone -- I think as Christians we are called on by Christ himself to perform corporal works of mercy. In addition, as a Catholic, I think I'm called to make sense of the Church's social teachings and bring the ideas of the social gospel to fruition for a more just society. However, I would agree with you that any improvement will ultimately pale in comparison to what we can hope for with our Father in Heaven.

Thanks again for commenting.

I know liberal Roman Catholics who consider traditional Catholics or the ones that want a return to Latin masses to be idol worshippers or they don't like all of the Mary idolatry in the RC church.

Nice meme.
"What protestant think I do" made me laugh the most.

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.