Those who care deeply about the fate of the planet would do worse than to take Tolkien’s Elves as their model, building communities marked by artistry, craftsmanship, husbandry, wisdom, and delight. This will involve equal parts remembering, stability, humility, and self-denial.
Sometimes I want to sit down to read the Bible in well-wrought English, within a book that is well-made, and on pages that are admirably formatted and presented. Those are all features that help me concentrate on what I believe to be the Word of God.
Mercy provides catholic Anglicans a way to challenge our Protestant brethren with a hermeneutic that is grounded throughout the witness of Scripture (including St. Paul, especially if one reads “grace” as an aspect God’s merciful response to the human condition), is firmly rooted in theological reflections on the Trinity (Kasper especially leans on St. Augustine), and dynamically connects the relationship of the believer to God in Christ with the relationship that disciples are called to share with their neighbors and the political arrangements that are most conducive to human flourishing.
We prefer to think that evil is something “bad people” do, and that these bad people are easily recognizable. We see a mug shot on the news and say “Oh, he looks like a child molester, like a mass shooter, like a serial killer, like a bad person. Or as often as not today we think of evil as that perpetrated only by our political opposites. We describe such people as “inhuman” or “deplorable”, descriptors that gives us the relief of distance. The guise evil wears is, of course, always that of someone else.
By saying this prayer, those of us who are Gentiles become like the Syrophoenician woman. We admit we are dogs, unworthy as Gentiles and those who chronically forget God’s promises to the Jews to sit at God’s table, and yet we go on to ask for God’s food all the same, trusting that our host is merciful.
Del Noce perceived that this combination of destructive skepticism and romantic optimism was unstable, and that skepticism and relativism were bound to defeat and consume the romantic and optimistic revolutionary side of Marxism. When the proletariat didn’t rise up in revolution but instead were able to buy toasters and refrigerators and automobiles that were not available in socialist countries, the doom of the Soviet Union was sealed.