The Picture of the Catholicist Nation


       I happened to come across this photograph from World War II when leafing through an issue of the Los Angeles Times Book Review. I don't remember what the book was I'm pretty sure it had something to do with that war or the Holocaust or something like that. I don't even remember who took this photograph or what it was about. It did say something about it being Warsaw, but the Times itself had little about it in the caption. Certainly its sole purpose was to complement the reviewed book.

       But this photograph.

       I was captivated by it. And the reason is simple.


       This is the Catholicist Nation.


       It is the very best graphic metaphor for what every individual without Christ does every moment of his existence. His life is one of abject destitution, having no meaning or connection with anything of true value he instinctively knows that that valuable thing is there somewhere, but because he knows he doesn't have it and can't let on that he doesn't, he pretends he does. The entire World is one great pretense.

       Oh, this picture. Just like the German war machine, people wreck all things around them when they live out the fullness of their sin. Instead of leaving this reign of destruction hand-in-hand with the One who'd gently lead them out, they hang around and play in the rubble. They are, as C.S. Lewis put it so well, "making mudpies in the slums because [they] cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea."

       This picture of a picture. In fact, this here is a picture of a picture of a picture (oh I'd bet Plato would love this). Those slogging through the Catholicist Nation could have the palace and the lake and the forest,


       But they like the picture.




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More on the Catholicist Nation

More on Getting Out of This Body of Death

Another Picture, This One of the Bacchic Gospel

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If you happen to know anything more about this photograph, please email me.

(Feb 2021) How wonderful is Pinterest! I just happened to come across the color version of this print. Outstanding! It is placed just right here until I decide if I want to put it in as the more prominent feature. Thanks to whoever managed to find it and post it.





This page was originally posted by David Beck at on June 17, 2006