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 24th, 2014Spiritual Motherhoodby Dena Hunt
Every woman is a mother. It’s not a choice she makes; it’s a condition of her feminine identity. As it happens, I don’t have children, but after decades of teaching, of working in the rescue of abandoned or abused pets, and of sundry other life adventures, such as those short-term friendships that suddenly form with young persons and then fade as they mature, I can say with certainty: Every woman is a mother—whether she likes it or not. Feminists can make of that what they will.» Continue Reading
April 24th, 2014Kitsch-en Cultureby Dena Hunt
StAR’s printed subtitle on every issue is “Reclaiming Culture.” Thank goodness it doesn’t read “Reclaiming Christian Culture.” I might never have considered opening the first issue—though I probably would have checked the table of contents, and then, having done that, I would have read it and eventually subscribed. But the insertion of the word “Christian” would have signaled something I wouldn’t have found inviting, not because I’m not Christian but because I am. I’m a bit wary of modern “Christian art”—especially films.» Continue Reading
April 23rd, 2014The Eternal Shakespeareby Joseph Pearce
Here's another article celebrating the Bard's birthday that I've published today, this one in The Imaginative Conservative:» Continue Reading
April 23rd, 2014The Most Insidious Problem in the Church - and Sir Mix-a-Lot Too!by Kevin O'Brien
In Part One of this post, I quoted Jeff Ostrowski of Corpus Christi Watershed as he showed the similarity between a sappy setting of the Gloria by renegade priest Dan Schutte and the theme to "My Little Pony". The tunes are disturbingly similar.
» Continue Reading
Click on the links and compare them yourselves.
April 23rd, 2014My New Position at Aquinas Collegeby Joseph Pearce
I'm delighted to announce my new position at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee.
From July 1st I will take up the position of Director of the Aquinas Center for Faith and Culture and will also become Aquinas College's writer-in-residence, teaching a course on Modern Christian Literature in the Fall semester.
Here's the Aquinas College press release announcing my appointment:» Continue Reading
April 23rd, 2014Shakespeare’s 450th Birthdayby Joseph Pearce
To commemorate the Bard's 450th birthday I've written this article, just posted by the National Catholic Register:» Continue Reading
April 22nd, 2014“The Bards of Wales” by Janos Aranyby Brendan D. KingHungarian poet Janos Arany (1817-1882) has been referred to as the Shakespeare of Ballads. His most famous poem,A Walesi Bárdok' ("THe Bards of Wales," was written in response to the visit of the Emperor Franz Joseph to Hungary in 1857. Arany, like many other European intellectuals, was enraged by the defeat of the 1848 Revolution. Therefore, instead of writing a poem to welcome the Emperor, Arany retold the legend that King Edward I of England, the "Longshanks" of Mel Gibson's" Braveheart," had 500 Welsh bards burned alive for refusing to sing his praises at a banquet.» Continue Reading
April 22nd, 2014“The Dark Way” by Joseph Mary Plunkettby Brendan D. King
Yesterday marked the 98th anniversary of the abortive Easter Rising in Dublin. Until the outbreak of The Troubles in 1969, every EasterMonday was commemorated with parades by the Irish State. It is, after all, Ireland's Independence Day.» Continue Reading
In honor of the occasion, I have decided to post a poem by Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the Rising's leaders. The poem was addressed to his fiancee, Grace Gifford. Joseph and Grace were married in the Catholic chapel of Dublin's Kilmainham Jail. Just a few hours later, Joseph Plunkett was taken into the courtyard and executed by firing squad. His poem "The Dark Way" may be described as his last message to the woman he loved.
April 22nd, 2014Good News from Spainby Joseph PearceI am always extremely gratified and somewhat humbled to learn that my books have played a part (always under grace) in people's conversion to the Catholic Faith. Since it is always edifying "good news" to learn of conversions or, in this case, a return to the Faith, I thought I'd share an e-mail that I received this morning. I've preserved the correspondent's right to privacy by omitting his name.» Continue Reading
April 22nd, 2014The Culture of Death and the Logic of Consumerismby Kevin O'Brien
Matthew Tan has written an essay that is filled with vocabulary and allusions that only an economist from academia could appreciate, but he ends up saying some compelling things that I will try to translate into non-academic English.» Continue Reading
He points out that abortion is more than an individual decision; the abortion industry is a social construct that communicates a conception of man that has been a long time coming. This vision of man is the flip side of Fromm's homo consumens. Not only is modern man thought to find value by purchasing commodities (consuming man) - modern man himself is a commodity. We are valued because of our visibility, which is what gives us marketability. Hence, invisible humans, such as unborn babies, have no value whatsoever. And since the value of life is found in the marketplace, we are compelled to insure against anything that might damage the accidentals - or even the cosmetics - that now determine what man is and make man marketable. Tan explains ...
April 22nd, 2014Remembering a Murdered Jesuitby Joseph PearceI knew nothing about Fr. Frans van der Lugt before I read his obituary and I know nothing more about him than the information contained in it. It seems, however, a duty to pay tribute to a Catholic priest who risked his life for his flock in Syria, who risked it and ultimately lost it. Read on:» Continue Reading
April 22nd, 2014Dante: The Self-Help Guruby Joseph PearceHere's an excellent article by Rod Dreher about the ways in which Dante's masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, can help us examine our own consciences and embrace the purgatory of penitence on our paths to recovery from sinfulness.http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579503700159096702?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories&mg=reno64-wsj» Continue Reading
April 22nd, 2014The Wounds of the Risen Christby Kevin O'Brien
It was the best Easter homiliy I had ever heard.» Continue Reading
"Good Friday was the worst thing that ever happened in all history," the homilist said. "And Easter Sunday was the best thing."
April 19th, 2014Easter in the Christian Eastby Brendan D. King
In the Christian East, there is a very long tradition of congregational singing, as I have noticed in my many visits to both Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic parishes. At no time of the Church year have I felt the floor shake as thunderously as does during the Paschal Season.» Continue Reading
The reason for this is simple: it the Easter Chant "The Angel Cried," which may be compared to the Latin Hymn, "Regina Caeli, Jubila."
Two beautiful renditions may be heard below.
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:» Continue Reading
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.» Continue Reading
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.» Continue Reading
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.» Continue Reading
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:
http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/04/easter-with-flannery-oconnor?utm_source=First+Things+Subscribers&utm_campaign=863917b6d4-4_17_144_17_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28bf775c26-863917b6d4-172561709» Continue Reading
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.» Continue Reading
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.