In the wake of last weekend's (September 14) Front Porch Republic 10th anniversary conference on "The Legacy of Wendell Berry," some who attended have offered their reflections.
Scott P. Richert, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, wondered about the affinity of Catholics for Wendell Berry's thought in "Incarnation and human scale."
The principle of subsidiarity — that everything should be handled at the lowest level possible — lies at the heart of Catholic social teaching. It’s what attracts Catholics who understand it to the work of localists like Mr. Berry and the Front Porch Republic. In order to accomplish anything, we must first realize that we can’t do everything. We’re called to make disciples of all nations, but the first step in doing so — and possibly the last — is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Russell Arben Fox considers the tendency of Mr. Berry's thought to run across a range of political/ideological categories in "A Socialist on the Porch."
This gathering--the largest which FPR has ever organized, and one of their best--had Berry's life and work as its centerpiece. The 85-year-old novelist, essayist, poet, farmer, life-long Democrat, supporter of same-sex marriage, self-described "mad farmer," and all-around contrarian was interviewed by his daughter Mary and spoke with the audience at length. He is no socialist in any formal sense, that's for certain. But he is a man who, from his pastoral place in rural Kentucky, has articulated one of the greatest and most persuasive critiques of capitalism, and its ruinous environmental effects, in all American history.