Wendell Berry

Catholic Socialism Isn’t Catholic

My readership and the traditionalists in my parish exploded at the recent Catholic Herald article, titled "The Catholic turn to socialism is something to celebrate." I am surrounded by socialists at work and have a lot of time for those with their hearts in the right place, especially regarding social justice. That said, I thought [...]

How Modernity Undermines Our Need for Rootedness

My wife and I recently decided that we needed to move out of our house. The most pressing reason was that, unfortunately, we discovered mold in the girls’ room. For the sake of our health, we quickly came to the conclusion that the only choice for us was to find a new house. The reality [...]

On Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter

A poignant novel told from the point of view of a widowed young wife who lived during the Depression and World War II, lost both her parents at a young age, endured the great loneliness of loss, enjoyed a brief marriage until she lost her husband in the war, Hannah Coulter portrays the goodness and [...]

In Defense of Domesticity

The Norwegian secret to enjoying a long winter is to see the freezing months as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured. According to a seeker of human happiness, this makes all the difference. They even have a word, koselig, which means a sense of coziness. People gather around the table for a [...]

Defining Doctrine Protects Divine Mystery

The Western Church is often accused by outsiders of being overly definitive. Even other traditional churches, such as our separated Eastern brethren, consider us to be too tied up in theological formulas. To be fair, Roman Catholics do place a much greater stress on dogmatic definitions than, for example, the Greek Orthodox. The Eastern churches [...]

“Subdue the Earth” and “Till It and Keep It”: Responding to God’s Cultural Commands

In the middle of our cultural crisis, issues such as politics, economics, and education may come immediately to mind. Though these issues are vital to our culture, the crisis stems in part from something even more fundamental. We’ve lost touch with the most basic aspects of culture. An important answer to our crisis can be [...]

Berry, Boomers, Stickers, and American Catholics

I am a long-time reader and admirer of the work of Wendell Berry.  On April 23, I was privileged to be among those in attendance at the Kennedy Center to hear his 2012 Jefferson Lecture.  With Berry nearing the end of his career, I had not expected to hear anything particularly new from him that [...]

Community: A Conversation with Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry, novelist, essayist, poet, and farmer, is a central contributor to the growing renaissance of Christian culture. Although he does not, in his lean careful writing, broach religion directly, he writes as one completely at home with the Christian tradition. His readers are numerous and ever growing, drawn to his scriptural and Aristotelian-Thomistic view [...]

Friday with Wendell Berry

This excerpt comes from Berry's essay "The Body and The Earth" in his collection The Art of the Commonplace: It is therefore absurd to approach the subject of health piecemeal with a departmentalized band of specialists. A medical doctor uninterested in nutrition, in agriculture, in the wholesomeness of mind and spirit is as absurd as [...]

Friday with Wendell Berry

Rather than quote from the esteemed poet, essayist, farmer, and conservationist, I thought I'd post this short video of Wendell Berry at a talk in Arlington, Virginia, on May 4, 2010. The question posed to him related to our dependence on cheap oil. Let me know what you think. (Sorry, but they're not allowing embeded [...]

Friday with Wendell Berry

It's a day for a little Wendell Berry. These two excerpt come from "Solving for Pattern," found in Berry's collection of agrarian essays, The Art of The Commonplace, where he proposes 14 solutions -- more like guidelines -- to current problems in food production and farming: 6. A good solution embodies a clear distinction between [...]

St. Joseph and Wendell Berry would have liked each other.

Today is the feast of St. Joseph, which Margaret mentioned this morning. St. Joseph is one of my go-to saints and he doesn't get the attention he deserves. It's probably how he would like it, but the husband of Mary, earthly father of Jesus, deserves the highest honors. He is the patron of the universal [...]

Wendell Berry Friday

If you ask me, we're way overdue for a Wendell Berry reading around here. In Berry's essay The Use of Energy, he reflects on the agrarian ethos, the connection between religion and energy, and the role of living things, tools, and machines. He concludes that the energy crisis is not one of technology, but of [...]

Wendell Berry: We need a cultural shift.

It's not every day that a farmer and poet packs an auditorium so full that security has to turn people away. But that's exactly what happened when Wendell Berry showed up at the University of Virginia last week, according to Ted Strong of the National Catholic Reporter. In his lecture, Berry outlined the need for small-scale landholders [...]

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