Welcome to the Ink Desk

Enjoy the ponderings of the Star's contributors and add your own thoughts. As this section develops, we hope it may become a medium for an exchange of ideas among those who are working towards the cultural revival.

  • May 21st, 2015A Parable: In a Pickleby Kevin O'Brien

    I tried to lecture the Dirt Eater. "It's a disgusting habit," I said. "Eating dirt - which has no nutritional value, and some of the dirt you eat - straight from the manure pile! No wonder so many of you Dirt Eaters are malnourished and pick up various intestinal infections."

    "People who eat what you call real food get sick, too," the Dirt Eater responded. "You may die from eating a mushroom, but I will never die from eating the dirt around it."

    "But eating dirt is unhealthy! Dirt contains no calories, no nutrition," I countered.

    "I notice you're munching on a pickle," the Dirt Eater responded. "Pickles and cucumbers have no nutritional value. Zero. Why, then, is it wrong for me to eat dirt and right for you to eat a pickle?"

    "Salt!" I shouted, losing my temper. "Pickles are salty! Salt of the earth!"

    "Dust of the earth," he shot back, "mud and dirt. You Christians are no longer salt of the earth. You've lost your savor. You are fit only to be thrown out upon the ground, or the manure pile - and eaten by us Dirt Eaters. Mmm! Manure! Tasty!"

    I flinched.

    "Who are you to judge?!" he shot back. He picked up a wad of mud and shoved it in his face, chewing, swallowing, belching.

    How was I to answer him? After all, I like cucumbers on my salad.

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  • May 19th, 2015My Graduation Address at Aquinas Collegeby Joseph Pearce

    I was honoured to be invited to give this year's graduation address at Aquinas College in Nashville. The full address, a little over fifteen minutes in length, can be heard here:


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  • May 19th, 2015Beginning the Beguine with Socratesby Daniel J. Heisey

    In Plato’s Apology, Socrates says that in his search for wisdom he consulted poets. If today someone were on a Socratic quest for wisdom, seeking out poets might not be on that person’s list. For the average person these days, poetry tends to mean something syrupy inside a greeting card, hardly to be taken seriously when asking how to live a good life. As for abstruse modern poems, the kind with complex ambiguity that clamors for attention and acclaim, they fall short as well.

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  • May 18th, 2015Distributism is Alive and Wellby Joseph Pearce

    I'm delighted to see that my old friend, Father Fessio, is at the vanguard of a successful distributist endeavor in his native California. Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching and the distributist ideas of Chesterton and Belloc, Father Fessio's initiative is bearing great fruit. Read more here:


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  • May 18th, 2015The Poet as Prophetby Joseph Pearce

    My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative focuses on those twentieth century poets who served as prophets of the culture of death in which we now find ourselves, especially Yeats, Eliot and Siegfried Sassoon. Here’s the link:


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  • May 15th, 2015Cheering over the Death of the Death-Culture Churchesby Joseph Pearce

    Reasons to be cheerful. The Presbyterian Church (USA), having abandoned any pretense at orthodoxy, is being abandoned by its members:

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  • May 14th, 2015The “Odd Catholicism” of Dean Koontzby Joseph Pearce

    Is it possible in our secular fundamentalist and anti-Catholic culture for a believing, practicing Catholic to write a series of New York Times bestselling novels? Apparently, and perhaps “oddly”, it is:


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  • May 13th, 2015Violence and its Usesby Dena Hunt

    May 2, 2015: The riots in Baltimore have subsided this morning, however temporary the reported calm may be, but others will erupt elsewhere some other time. I think everyone knows that. And those who have political/social/economic agendas will continue to exploit the public’s fear, for, as Ron Emanuel said when he was White House Chief of Staff, “Never waste a crisis.” The idea is to get some mileage out of a crisis, use it by citing “causes” in order to justify–whatever they want to justify. But few in political power are really interested in causes of violent outbreaks, and some are even less interested in preventing them; in fact, they are so useful that it’s worthwhile to generate them.

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  • May 10th, 2015When Two Native Americans Meetby Joseph Pearce

    In my family we have three native Americans and one immigrant. My wife is a native of California, my son a native of Michigan, and our daughter a native of South Carolina. I am the immigrant. My wife, as a native American, found this sketch very amusing. I, as an immigrant, was also amused and don’t feel the least offended by the caricaturing of my own native cockney accent which makes the sketch so funny. Whether you are an immigrant or a native American, enjoy:


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  • May 10th, 2015Everyone Expects the Spanish Inquisitionby Joseph Pearce

    Remember Monty Python’s comedy sketch about the Spanish Inquisition? Remember Obama’s scathing reference to the Inquisition at this year’s national prayer breakfast? Here’s my reaction to both:


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  • May 8th, 2015Comments on StAR XV 3 (May/June 2015)by Joseph Pearce

    Comments on StAR XV 3 (May/June 2015)

    From Peter Milward SJ


    1. a) What a fascinating subject for a special issue of StAR – France in relation to Revelation v. Revolution, both deeply imprinted in the French character and French history, in contrast to and yet in comparison with England. After all, for better or worse, the fates of our two countries are inextricably intertwined, as an Entente Cordiale, yet not always so cordial.
    2. b) In the editorial I have to take exception to the purpose of the First Crusade as preached by Pope Urban II, which was not just to “free the holy shrines of Christendom from the grip of Islam, that had occupied the area from the seventh century onwards but from the Turks, who were also menacing the Roman Empire of the East. I also have to take exception to the statement that “the zenith of Franch power” took place in the 14th century, during the captivity of the Popes at Avignon, when the proper word should have been “nadir”.
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    4. May 5th, 2015Is Hilaire Belloc a Socialist?by Joseph Pearce

      Is this a dumb question? Find out by reading my latest offering for the Imaginative Conservative:


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    5. April 27th, 2015Protestants and Contraceptionby Joseph Pearce

      A friend has sent me an article by a Protestant justifying the use of artificial contraception. Although I did not have the time to address the article at length, I though I'd share my general objection to the article's premises:

      The idea that everything is permitted unless it's specifically forbidden in Scripture is a little problematic. Communism is not condemned explicitly by scripture, nor is Fascism, nor is eugenics, nor is gay "marriage". Clearly moral theologians are meant to apply Scripture to present-day dilemmas but the Church, which edited the Bible, deciding which books should be admitted into the canon and which excluded, has the authority to address problems that arise as She moves through history as the Bride of Christ and as His Mystical Body (the "one flesh" which is the mystical marriage between Christ and the Church - the Bride and Bridegroom). As such, the Church's definitive teaching on contraception in and elsewhere is authoritative, which is to say that it speaks with the same authority as the author of Scripture. A failure to understand this and to adhere to it will lead to the chaos of the culture of death, facilitated by the contraceptive mentality which divorces the sexual act from its procreative purpose.

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    6. April 27th, 2015How Did We Lose Our Minds?by Joseph Pearce

      What is the mind and how did we lose it? This is the question with which I grapple in my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative:


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    7. April 26th, 2015The Failure of Anti-Semitismby Dena Hunt

      The local university here provides continuing education classes for seniors, sometimes off-campus. Yesterday morning a group of us attended a meeting at the local synagogue, led by a very amiable rabbi. He was friendly, charming, happy to demonstrate a shofar, a tallit, a menorah, and of course, the Torah. The talk inevitably involved “anti-semitism,” as it is commonly called and commonly misnamed, and commonly misunderstood.

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    8. April 23rd, 2015Shakespeare’s Sonnet 108by Daniel J. Heisey

      Scholars seem to agree that the only sonnet by William Shakespeare with a religious theme is Sonnet 146.  It is the only poem by Shakespeare in the original Oxford Book of Christian Verse (1940), as well as in The New Oxford Book of Christian Verse (1981).  R. S. Thomas included it in The Penguin Book of Religious Verse (1963), and he appears to be the odd man out by also including Sonnet 129.  Likewise, C. S. Lewis, in his volume of The Oxford History of English Literature (1954), observed that Sonnet 146 “is concerned with the tension between the temporal and the eternal and would be appropriate in the mouth of any Christian at any moment.”  However, the same could be said of Sonnet 108.

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    9. April 20th, 2015The Wisdom and Wickedness of Womenby Joseph Pearce

      So does the hand that rocks the cradle rule the world? Do well-behaved women make history? All is revealed in my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative:


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    10. April 20th, 2015Strauss, Voegelin and Conservatismby Joseph Pearce

      I am hugely impressed with the erudition of this article by David Corey in the Imaginative Conservatism. It’s sheds light on an area of political philosophy which has been overshadowed by the fogs of ideology.


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    11. April 19th, 2015Book Review: “Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith”by Stephanie Mann

      After the French Revolution, and through the restoration and fall of both the empires and the monarchy, both constitutional and absolute, Catholicism in France required restoration and revival. Carol E. Harrison offers an overview of a group of lay and clerical Catholic revivalists who wanted to present Catholicism’s answer to the revolutionary turmoil of their era. As the book’s blurb announces, these Romantic Catholics rejected “both the atomizing force of revolutionary liberalism and the increasing intransigence of the church hierarchy”. They sought to demonstrate that the Church should work with the new world order while remaining true to Catholic doctrine and discipline. In her Introduction, Harrison notes the contrast between these Romantic Catholics and the historian Jules Michelet, who both rejected the liberal exultation of the individual and the Catholic Church, because he saw it in opposition to the French national spirit. Michelet, she notes, feared the influence of devout wives on their republican husbands—religious faith transcended national genius and must be avoided. » Continue Reading
    12. April 15th, 2015Perils of Ironyby Daniel J. Heisey

      “What a miserable little snob Henry James is,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt to a friend in June of 1894. Roosevelt had just read James’ short story “The Death of the Lion” in the April issue of a new periodical called The Yellow Book. “His polished, pointless, uninteresting stories,” Roosevelt continued, “about the upper social classes of England make one blush to think that he was once an American.” As an antidote, Roosevelt read something by an Englishman then living in Vermont: “I turned to a story of [Rudyard] Kipling’s with the feeling of getting into fresh, healthy, out-of-doors life.”

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