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.
September 30th, 2014Hope at Hopeby Joseph Pearce
Three weeks ago I had the privilege and pleasure of giving talks on consecutive days at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. I am extremely gratified to have just received a delightful report of the visit to Hope College, written by a student with whom I had lunch. The report also contains links to videos of two of the talks that I gave at Hope:» Continue Reading
September 27th, 2014Kairos and Chronosby Dena Hunt
Msgr. Charles Pope posted this brief reflection on, as it turns out, my birthday. I’d been hoping for some kind of little present from the Lord, and I think this may be it. Msgr. Pope says,
“I have considered the task that God has appointed for the sons of men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done (Eccles 3:10-11).
“Somewhere in our hearts is something that the world cannot, and did not give us. It is something that is nowhere evident in the world, and yet, though not perceiving it, we still know it. This passage from Ecclesiastes calls it ‘the timeless.’ We also often refer to it as eternity, or even infinity.”» Continue Reading
September 26th, 2014Little Gidding’s Comedyby Daniel J. Heisey
More than forty years ago Russell Kirk wrote Eliot and His Age, and in it he argued that future literary historians will see the twentieth century as the Age of Eliot, since “what Dante was to the fourteenth century, or Shakespeare to the sixteenth, Eliot became to the twentieth century.” Recipient of the Nobel Prize and the Order of Merit, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) still has his ardent admirers, but the jury remains out on whether he dominated an era and will have his name attached to it.
For example, despite occasional revivals of Murder in the Cathedral or The Family Reunion, Eliot’s verse dramas might not endure as long as Shakespeare’s. Meanwhile, Eliot’s other poems tend to feature in high school and college reading lists. Eliot himself said that the world of poetry divides between Dante and Shakespeare, and Dante especially holds the key to understanding some of Eliot’s poems.» Continue Reading
September 25th, 2014Good News from Aquinas Collegeby Joseph Pearce
I’m heartened by a news report, just published in Catholic Education Daily, which shows the success of Aquinas College in Nashville in providing a top-quality education. As readers of the Ink Desk might know, I was appointed as Director of the Aquinas College Center for Faith and Culture in July and it is from my office in Nashville that I now write. It’s good to be part of such a dynamic Catholic college. Here’s the link to the article, which also provides information about other Catholic colleges who are performing well:» Continue Reading
September 24th, 2014New Signs of EU Meltdownby Joseph Pearce
One of the most encouraging trends in global politics in the past few years has been the rise of euro-skepticism, the term applied to those resisting the undemocratic tyranny of the European Union. I was in London when the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) shook the corrupt political establishment in Britain to its foundations by winning the country’s European Election. It was a political earthquake which caused my heart to leap with seismic abandon! The same resistance to Euro-Tyranny has swept through other parts of Europe, even those parts of the so-called Euro-Zone which were considered the very core of its power. The Front National, under the charismatic leadership of Marine Le Pen, is now leading the polls in France with its demands for the restoration of the French Franc and the abandonment of the Euro. Now, in recent elections, there has been a similar upsurge in Euro-Skepticism in Germany, traditionally the most pro-EU of all the nations in the Euro-Tyranny. It can only be hoped that this is the beginning of the end for the multinational monolith at the darkened and decaying heart of Europe.
For more details about the German uprising against the Euro, click here:» Continue Reading
September 24th, 2014Ralph Fiennes on Playing A Holocaust Perpetratorby Brendan D. King
For the last several weeks, I have been writing an article about Nazi Germany for a Catholic magazine editor who shall remain nameless. In the process, I have often reflected on the following interview with actor Ralph Fiennes, in which he reflects on his performance as SS Captain Amon Goeth in Stephen Spielberg's "Schindler's List."» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014G. K. Chesterton and T. S. Eliot: Friends or Enemies?by Joseph Pearce
Following the controversy caused by my earlier article on modern art, not least of which was the suggestion that T. S. Eliot held Chesterton in evident contempt, I thought I’d write an article on the enmity between GKC and TSE – and, more importantly, the friendship:» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014An Interview on the Ignatius Critical Editionsby Joseph Pearce
My absence from the Ink Desk is a consequence of my current heavy travel schedule. Last weekend I was in Fort Collins, Colorado, giving a number of talks and teaching a class on the Catholicism of Tolkien’s work. I’m currently in Nashville, TN, teaching at Aquinas College. This week we’re studying Hopkins’ “The Wreck of the Deutschland” and Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. This weekend I’m speaking at Chesterton conferences in Buffalo and Rochester NY. It’s an exhausting but exhilarating time!
Last week, during the calm before the storm, I gave an interview with a British Catholic website on the Ignatius Critical Editions, of which I am the series editor. Here’s the link to the interview: http://catholicwriters.co.uk/the-arts/ignatius-critical-editions/» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014How I Found Religion - or - How Religion Found Meby Kevin O'Brien
Rod Dreher is asking for readers to submit stories on "How I Found Religion". Since today happens to be an anniversary date for me in that regard, I posted the following ...» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014The Fellowship of the Rings vs. John Cleese?by Brendan D. King
I must say, Peter Jackson's travestied trilogy works well with this alteration...» Continue Reading
September 21st, 2014How Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” Movies Should Have Endedby Brendan D. King
With Apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas, and the Writers of Robot Chicken.» Continue Reading
September 17th, 2014J.R.R. Tolkien on Scottish (and Welsh) independenceby Brendan D. King
To Simonne d'Ardenne.
March 13, 1936.
"The political situation is dreadful... I have the greatest sympathy with Belgium -- which is about the right size of any country! I wish my own were bounded still by the seas of the Tweed and the walls of Wales... we folk do at least know something of mortality and eternity and when Hitler (or a Frenchman) says 'Germany (or France) must live forever' we know that he lies."
From "The Tolkien Family Album," page 69.» Continue Reading
September 17th, 2014The Law of Loveby Kevin O'Brien
I am always surprised at how most people, and probably most Christians, think of God's Commandments and of all morality as arbitrary. This is why they think "gay marriage" can exist. We moderns think all law is man made, all rules and regulations are simply pulled out of our hats, and subject to the whims of culture and passing fancy. That the Moral Law is like the law of gravity - something inherent in nature, something discovered and not invented - is beyond the ken of most folk walking among us. In their eyes, law, like the rules of baseball, is simply conventional - something we concoct and then agree on as a group that allows us to play the game, whatever that game might be.» Continue Reading
September 17th, 2014Hilaire Belloc versus Graham Greeneby Joseph Pearce
I'd like to share an e-mail I've just received from someone who makes an intriguing comparison between Hilaire Belloc and Graham Greene. Here's the pertinent part of the e-mail; my response follows:
Reading your biography of Belloc, I found myself admiring Belloc immensely but not liking him much. There is an affability to Chesterton that made even his enemies melt. Belloc's confrontational style is off-putting. But the Chesterbelloc combination was certainly a force. I suspect each in his own and different way was used mightily by God.» Continue Reading
September 16th, 2014New Archaeological Find! The Third Epistle of Peter!!!by Kevin O'Brien
The New Testament contains two Epistles by St. Peter. A third one was recently discovered, but some are doubting its authenticity. It appears to have been written during Jesus active ministry ...» Continue Reading
September 15th, 2014Maurice Baring: In Need of a Modern Championby Joseph Pearce
I'm in receipt of an e-mail from a Spanish scholar seeking my advice with regard to Maurice Baring's suitability as the focus of his doctoral studies. Here's my response.» Continue Reading
September 14th, 2014Sense and Sensitivityby Joseph Pearce
If there's one subject on which it's difficult to have a rational discussion in these irrational times it's the thorny topic of same sex attraction. I know this from bitter experience because I was recently banned from speaking at a large secular university because I had written a book on Oscar Wilde which did not wholeheartedly endorse Wilde's desertion of his wife and children in pursuit of the homosexual lifestyle. Some things are sacrosanct, it seems, but not fidelity in marriage or the best interests of children.
One of the few places in which I have seen genuine sense and sensitivity on the subject of same sex attraction is in Dena Hunt's novel, The Lion's Heart. This being so, I was delighted to see this excellent and thoughtful appraisal of the novel's merits in the National Catholic Register:» Continue Reading
September 13th, 2014A Prophet New Inspir’dby Marie Dudzik
Francis Cardinal George of Chicago is credited with saying that he expects to die in his bed, his successor to die in prison, and his successor to die a martyr. In other words, the persecution of American Catholics is coming, and it’s a matter not of if, but of when. In a recent column in the Catholic New World, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George writes that “when” is “now”.
Cardinal George is in declining health, past the retirement age of 75, and in a position in which he has nothing to gain by clinging to the church of nice. In his column, “A Tale of Two Churches” he pits the Church founded by Christ against the religion of the current American establishment and states that the two are completely incompatible.» Continue Reading
September 11th, 2014The Lion’s Heart gains praise…by Dena Hunt
…from conservative National Catholic Register’s blogger, Sarah Reinhard. That’s especially gratifying in view of the novel’s controversial theme. It doesn’t just take courage to write certain things; it also takes courage to publish, and maybe still more, to praise:» Continue Reading
September 10th, 2014The One and the Many Againby Dena Hunt
This theme recurs again, and yet again. I’ve written several variations of it here, never in some kind of resolution mode, but only as an attempt to comprehend prevalent disharmony, injury to peace—external and internal, societal and individual. Certainly I want to avoid redundancy, but the theme seems to manifest so redundantly that it’s unavoidable and must be observed again, and yet again: All understanding, the necessary foundation of harmony, seems always to lie in the disruption of the relationship between genus and differentia—on so many levels: the individual person vs. marriage or family; tribes or races, ethnic cultures or religious affiliations vs. society at large or national identity. Never has subjective, emotional, response been more dangerous; if ever there was a time to rid ourselves of obfuscating anger and false sentiment, and try to see how the genus-differentia relationship works—indeed, how it must work—that time is now.» Continue Reading