What's Wrong With America?

May 3, 2013 | 2 comments

In 1910, G. K. Chesterton published What’s Wrong With the World, a book of such insight and prescience that it is more timely today than it was a century ago. The book confronted the afflictions of Chesterton's age, which, you will not be surprised to learn, are the afflictions of our own age, only today they are considerably worse. The book contains Chesterton’s quip “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”  (My sons love to haul that one out after cutting the grass or cleaning up the kitchen.)

The book also includes one of G. K.’s most famous insights:

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

This truth could well serve as the theme of Catholic Answers’ conference in San Diego September 27-28:

“Catholic Answers to America’s Crisis”

Americans seem to realize more with each passing day that our country is plagued by a host of social, economic, and political ills, and yet there is a startling lack of willingness to acknowledge that, as Bishop Fulton Sheen put it in Peace of Soul, “If there were anywhere on earth a resting place other than God, we may be very sure that the human soul in its long history would have found it before this.”

Yet we cast about for this or that fix: more money, more comfort, more diversion, more government programs, more pills, more guns, more gun control; or the supposed cure-all, more education, a word that, save among a remnant few, has lost all meaning. We never land on—or better, deliberately never land on—the one answer that satisfies.

Jesus Christ.

What does Jesus Christ have to say about the cultural chaos with which our nation is afflicted? In fact, a great deal. Our Lord speaks to us about the trials and triumphs of human experience through the teaching authority of his Church. In America, however, we tend not to look to Church teaching when confronted with social ills. Because we do not take the time to consider the heresies, selfishness, and moral errors that lurk at the root of society’s disorders, we end up seeking technological or therapeutic solutions to what are really moral problems.

Divorce, for example, and the superabundant human miseries that attach to it might by now have refocused our attention on our Lord’s insistence on the permanence of marriage, but, alas, no. Instead we turn to counselors to anesthetize the suffering that we should not be surprised to find when we disregard the natural law.

The good news is that the Catholic Church has been, from the moment of its founding, the single guardian of the fullness of the truth. Jesus Christ did not say, “I am a way, a truth, and a life.” He declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Those who are willing to embrace the wisdom, fire, and love that undergird the Church’s teaching will discover that the trials of this world are not merely manageable, they are conquerable.

To find out how, join us September 27-28 in San Diego.

Visit CatholicAnswersConference.com to register or to find out more, including who our magnificent keynote speaker will be.

Christopher Check is president of Catholic Answers. A graduate of Rice University, for nearly two decades he served as vice president of The Rockford Institute. Before that he served for seven years as a field artillery officer in the Marine Corps, attaining the grade of captain. He lectures on Church and...

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Natalie Kellogg - Ladson, South Carolina

You paint America with a pretty broad brush, there are still Americans who know that Jesus Christ is the only answer to our countries woes.

"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!"

July 16, 2014 at 6:27 am PST

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