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.

  • April 18th, 2014Good Friday in the Christian Eastby Brendan D. King

    When their meanings are compared, the traditional prayers and chants for Good Friday are very similar in both Eastern and Western Christendom. Among the most sublimely beautiful prayers in either tradition is the Old Church Slavonic chant "The Noble Joseph," which centers around Christ's burial by Joseph of Arimathea. The rendition which appears on the CD "Sacred Treasures: Choral Masterworks from Russia" may be listened to below:

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  • April 18th, 2014An Irish Gaelic Lament for the Passion of Christby Brendan D. King

    In many countries in Catholic Europe, there are traditional folk songs which retell the events of Our Lord's birth, ministry, Passion, and death. From Ireland and Scotland to Hungary, lullabies are sung to the Christ Child in persona Maria. Similar songs are also sung about Our Lord's Passion.

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  • April 18th, 2014The Quotable Boris Pasternakby Brendan D. King

    Outside of Russia, Boris Pasternak is best known as the author of "DoctorZhivago." In Russia, he is better known as a poet, literary translator, and pioneer of the Soviet Dissident movement.

    With two exceptions, the following quotations are from "Meetings with Pasternak," by Alexander Gladkov. Gladkov, a Soviet playwright and GULAG survivor, befriended Pasternak when they wrre both evacuated from Moscow during World War II. Their friendship continued, with interruptions, until Pasternak's death in 1960.

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  • April 18th, 2014Holy Thursdayby Dena Hunt

    There is no pain, no suffering—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual—that was not experienced by our Lord during this time we call Holy Week, even the ultimate pain of abandonment by God. Beginning on Holy Thursday until the arrival of Easter vigil, we witness the spectacle of a story we can never remember having learned. It is knowledge we were born with, acid-etched in the human soul from its origin. All the tragedies and heartbreaks we will ever bear, our physical pain, our despair, have their reference point there, in the Way of the Cross. No wonder we flee from it.

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  • April 18th, 2014Easter with Flannery O’Connorby Joseph Pearce

    Here's a brief but excellent article by George Weigel on the faith of Flannery O'Connor:


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  • April 18th, 2014The Damage Done by Almost Sinningby Kevin O'Brien

    As we reflect during the Triduum of the effects of sin - sin which battered and bruised Our Lord, betrayed Him, tormented Him, abandoned Him, killed Him, pierced Him - as we reflect upon that, something occurs to me.

    While I have written a lot on the nature and the effects of sin, there's one part of it that I have said little about and that we hardly ever focus on as Christians. 

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  • April 17th, 2014Francis Thompson Comes in Many Guisesby Joseph Pearce

    Visitors to the Ink Desk will know that I've been working with Emblem Media on several projects related to Francis Thompson's masterpiece, "The Hound of Heaven". I travelled with the film crew to England in January to film a half-hour documentary on Thompson's life, serving as historical consultant and being interviewed on camera. 

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  • April 16th, 2014Joyful Sufferingby Joseph Pearce

    Many years ago I had been struck by some words spoken by a fictional priest in a Maurice Baring novel that the acceptance of suffering was the secret of life. This one phrase seemed to encapsulate so much. Since we are all doomed to suffer it is not suffering but its acceptance that makes the difference.

    Later, during my time with Fr Ho Lung and Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica, I came to see that sanctity required more than merely the acceptance of suffering. Holiness meant moving beyond the acceptance of suffering to its joyful embrace. This deeper understanding was encapsulated in the motto of the Missionaries of the Poor: "Joyful Suffering with Christ on the Cross". The key word in this phrase, the word that literally unlocks the deepest meaning of the motto, is not the magisterial "Christ" or the crucial "Cross", nor is it "joyful" or "suffering". The key word is the humble preposition "with". Holiness is not contemplation of the joyful suffering of Christ on the Cross, it is the act of joyful suffering with Christ on the Cross.   

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  • April 16th, 2014Father Milward and Father Jakiby Joseph Pearce

    I was gratified to receive a note from the venerable Father Peter Milward, best known to the world for his pioneering Shakespeare studies, his correspondence with C. S. Lewis, and his musings on the poetry of Hopkins. Father Milward's note was a response to the preview of the forthcoming issue of the St. Austin Review that I posted on Monday. I announced that the issue's theme will be "Science and Orthodoxy: The Legacy of Fr. Stanley L Jaki", prompting Father Milward to reminisce about his own meeting with Father Jaki and their shared passion for the Catholic Shakespeare.

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  • April 14th, 2014Confessions of an English Immigrantby Joseph Pearce

    My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative describes my view as an English immigrant of my adoptive home in the United States.

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  • April 14th, 2014Preview of the May/June Issue of the St. Austin Reviewby Joseph Pearce

    The next issue of the St. Austin Review is winging its way to the printers. The theme of this edition is “Science and Orthodoxy: The Legacy of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki”. Considering the science-related theme, I hope you will consider forwarding this to any of your scientist colleagues who might be interested.

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  • April 14th, 2014Dante and the Papacyby Daniel J. Heisey

    If a Catholic layman criticizes a Pope, other critics of the Church say he is brave and open-minded; if a Pope were to criticize a layman, those critics would call the Pope repressive and judgmental.  Along these lines, less important is Dante Alighieri using his Divine Comedy to condemn Pope Boniface VIII or other Bishops of Rome to the depths of the Inferno, than how a modern Pope has appreciated and promoted Dante.

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  • April 14th, 2014A Pilgrimage to Englandby Joseph Pearce

    I've been contacted by a religious sister seeking suggestions for a pilgrimage to London and Oxford in the footsteps of the English Martyrs and Literary Converts. My suggestions were written in haste, without checking my facts, so it's possible, indeed likely, that I have made factual errors. With this disclaimer in mind, I thought visitors to the Ink Desk might also be interested in these suggested places to visit.

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  • April 10th, 2014Catholic Coffee: Spoils and Legendsby Michael Lichens

    Over at Catholic Exchange, Sam Guzman of The Catholic Gentleman discusses a very interesting legend about Pope Clement VIII blessing coffee and assuring its popularity for all posterity in the West. I am unsure if it is true, but thank God for it.

    Really, though, I just wanted to post this image.

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  • April 9th, 2014Is Putin One of Us? (An old-fashioned Conservative?)by Joseph Pearce

    Via Patrick J. Buchanan, http://buchanan.org/blog/putin-one-us-6071

    Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?

    In the culture war for mankind's future, is he one of us?

    While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president's state of the nation address.

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  • April 9th, 2014Vladimir Putin: Some Rare and Welcome Common Senseby Joseph Pearce

    So much rubbish has been written about Vladimir Putin over the past weeks that I was very pleased to receive an excellent rebuttal of some of the worst nonsense. It was written by Dr. Boyd Cathey, a former colleague of the late Russell Kirk, who has granted me permission to publish his solid, fact-based appraisal of Putin.

    Dr. Cathey writes in response to an article by North Carolina Congressman, Robert Pittengeer: 

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  • April 9th, 2014What Chesterton Saw in Americaby Joseph Pearce

    My latest musings for The Imaginative Conservative are inspired by Chesterton's visits to and views on the United States:

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  • April 9th, 2014International Award for Catholic Composerby Joseph Pearce

    I'm greatly encouraged by the news that a major international music award has been won by my friend, Frank LaRocca, who was recently interviewed for the St. Austin Review by our regular music columnist, Susan Treacy..

    Frank, a revert to the Faith after decades in the wilderness, won the prestigious award for his Miserere, which is being performed at Carnegie Hall on May 23 and at the Cathedral in Washington DC on Wednesday of Holy Week.
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  • April 8th, 2014Three Unexpected Films for Lentby Michael Lichens

    K. V. Turley over at Crisis Magazine has a fantastic overview of the newly re-released film Roma, Città Aperta. Director Roberto Rossellini filmed his masterpiece in Rome a mere six months after the Nazi's withdrew from the city and the effects of the war provided the harrowing backdrop. This particular movie introduced the world to Italian neorealism when directors used the streets and everyday citizens of the Eternal City as their studio, giving the genre its renowned grittiness and realistic feel.

    As a film junkie, I was pleased that Crisis would cover what is arguably one of the finest movies to highlight the struggles of faith in the face of great persecution. Read Turley's overview and then find the film on Hulu Plus or Netflix. It is worth your time.

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  • April 5th, 2014Another Lenten Meditationby Dena Hunt

    I’m beginning to understand something that has to do with the recurring one-versus-many conflicts I’ve encountered in recent years, with the enforced submersion into collective groupthinks which now replace race, gender, national origin (re-named “ethnic identity” due to collectivization along lines other than nationality), and religion, and we must now add one’s preferences in sexual activities as an “identity”; i.e., do you prefer multiple (simultaneous or serial) partners, single partners of the same sex, opposite sex, partners who are children—and that just refers to partner-preference, not to type of activity. At the same time that all types of imaginable activity become identity-markers, the high-speed drive to eradicate all other identifying lines into one great big androgynous Humanism religion can make us downright dizzy in its vortex. It has become impossible to read or to watch or to listen to the news. Everything is reported along groupthink party lines.

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