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.

  • November 17th, 2014The Sacramental in Tolkienby Joseph Pearce

    I’m in receipt of an e-mail from a student working on a thesis on the Sacramental in Tolkien, and what it means to have "Sacramental Vision".  The student requested a list of “any helpful articles, books, quotations, etc. regarding the Sacramental, Imagination, Tolkien or Chesterton, and so on”.

    Here’s my brief response.

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  • November 17th, 2014The Suburban Parish and the Heresy of Inconsequentialismby Kevin O'Brien

    I have come to a conclusion.  Most Catholics don't believe in God.
    At least they don't believe in the Christian God, the God who became man to save us from sin and who died on a cross and rose again, calling us to participate in a life of sacrifice until He comes to call us to participate in his resurrection by raising us bodily from the dead at the Last Judgment, where some will find they've chosen eternal life, others eternal damnation.

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  • November 12th, 2014Little Things Mean a Lotby Dena Hunt

    We all know that we make big decisions that determine the course of our lives, like choosing a college major or choosing a mate, perhaps the decision to commit our lives to Christ or to join a church. These are momentous choices; we remember them and probably reflect often, especially as we age, on how they affected our lives.

    But it’s the little decisions, the ones we might not even notice, that really determine everything. The 23rd psalm is an example. Actually, this psalm has been prayed by literally everyone, whether they’re conscious of it or not, because it’s not a prayer but a choice everyone makes. “I shall not want….” is not merely a line in verse; it’s a decision. To want means to not have. One chooses to want or not to want. It should not be mistaken for, I shall get or not get, achieve or not achieve, but I shall have, or else, I shall not have. The sole action involved is the decision itself. They are mutually exclusive terms and mutually exclusive conditions; therefore, we have to choose between them. We cannot both have and want.


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  • November 11th, 2014Contemporary Catholic Fiction Free E-Book Offerby Joseph Pearce

    As we're always keen to promote contemporary Catholic literature on the Ink Desk, I thought I'd mention that, for a limited time, Ignatius Press is giving away a free e-book by author T.M. Doran.

    The free e-book being given away is Doran's novel, Terrapin. Also included is his new short mystery story, The Linden Murder Case Mystery. This giveaway will only be available until November 24. 

    Here is a link about this limited time offer:

    http://www.ipnovels.com/blog/2014/11/terrapin-available-as-a-free-e-book 

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  • November 11th, 2014Two Generals, Three Popesby Daniel J. Heisey

    On two successive pages of a recent weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal appeared book reviews of new biographies of two famous generals, Napoleon Bonaparte and George C. Marshall.  The juxtaposition in those pages gives the historian pause for thought.  Each general stands as a symbolic figure, one embodying the worst, the other the best in his respective century.

    Napoleon (1769-1821) is admired by his newest biographer, but the dictator who sought to conquer Europe, from the Iberian Peninsula to the Ural Mountains, deserved his exile to a remote island in the South Atlantic.  Marshall (1880-1959), whose new biography apparently tries to cut him down to size, deserved the many honors recognizing his service during war and his peacetime restoration of a Europe ravaged by the war begun by National Socialist Germany.

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  • November 11th, 2014In These Dark Days, the Church Needs Her Menby Kevin Kennelly

    Msgr Charles Pope has written a superb article entitled " In These Dark Days , The Church Needs Her Men To Be Men." If I could wave a magic wand and pick one thing that ( I think) would benefit our society the most it is this: That men go back to being men and women go back to being women. The romance of men and women .....they way they interact, the different strengths and weaknesses they have, the way they look after each other , accept each other's foibles,  take different risks for each other , see the world (somewhat ) differently.....the whole amazing lovable cocktail.....is a great gift of God.

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  • November 6th, 2014The Distributism of the Shireby Joseph Pearce

    My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative takes up where my recent post on "Tolkien, Belloc and Political Force" left off. As I suspected, it has caused an element of controversy and a good deal of discussion. Read it here:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/11/distributism-shire-political-kinship-tolkien-belloc.html

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  • November 6th, 2014A New Catholic Revival in the Artsby Joseph Pearce

    I am increasingly excited by the signs of a new Catholic Revival in the arts. There are several very gifted novelists writing today and an increasing number of small Catholic publishers willing to publish new Catholic fiction. As a response to this new springtime for Catholic literature, the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Nashville, of which I am the Director, has launched the Aquinas Award for Fiction. Apart from fiction, there is also a host of exciting new Catholic poets. We do our best to publish this new verse in the "New Voices" feature in the St. Austin Review and will continue to do so. In addition, Kaufmann Publishing has an impressive catalogue of new volumes of Catholic verse by an exciting new generation of poets.

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  • November 5th, 2014Agreeing with G. K. Chestertonby Joseph Pearce

    A week or so ago I wrote an article for the Imaginative Conservative in which I argued with Chesterton about the nature of the vulgar mob. Feeling a little guilty for disagreeing with the great man, even though I think I'm right and the he is wrong, I have written another article (possibly in penance!) in which I agree with him on the perversity of so-called philanthropy:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/10/man-men-misanthropy-agreeing-g-k-chesterton.html

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  • November 5th, 2014My Dear Weedrotby Edward Lawrence

    Inspired by, and written in honour of, C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters

      My Dear Weedrot,

    I’ve been meaning to write to you for some time about the dangers and opportunities presented to us by the Internet. The recent events at the Synod have given me a marvellous and delightful chance to talk about the opportunities. The dangers I will discuss another time.


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  • November 5th, 2014Suffering, Addiction and Healing in The Lord of the Ringsby Joseph Pearce

    A few weeks ago I gave a talk to the Catholic Medical Association in Nashville on "Suffering, Addiction and Healing in The Lord of the Rings". The video of the talk has now been posted on the CMA's website: 

    http://vimeo.com/nashvillecma

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  • November 3rd, 2014The Son Rises in the Eastby Joseph Pearce

    Sometimes, as Chesterton insisted, we need to stand on our heads in order to see things clearly for the first time. This is clearly the case with regard to the apparent setting of the sun of Christianity in the West and its apparent rising in the East. As the USA and Europe sink into the quagmire of secular fundamentalism and its debauchery, Orthodoxy is rising from the death of atheism in Russia:

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2014/10/22/russia-has-experienced-a-spiritual-resurrection/

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  • November 3rd, 2014Tolkien, Belloc and Political Forceby Joseph Pearce

    There's a very interesting interview in Catholic World Report with Jay W. Richards, co-author of a new book examining Tolkien's political philosophy.

    The interview and the book are for the most part very good and incisive. The only blot on the otherwise edifying intellectual landscape is the suggestion that Tolkien would not have agreed with Belloc's belief that some form of political "force", i.e. legal intervention, would be necessary to restore equity in the economy through the positive assistance of small businesses to gain and retain a place in the marketplace. Bizarrely, Richards cites the chapter from The Lord of the Rings entitled "The Scouring of the Shire" to buttress his claim that Tolkien would have opposed Belloc's Essay on the Restoration of Property. Richards makes the all too common and naive mistake of equating Belloc's political philosophy with socialism and then, having done so, states, quite correctly, that Tolkien was not a socialist

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  • November 3rd, 2014Mgr. Benson’s “Lord of the World”by Brendan D. King

    I do enjoy Monsignor Benson's "Lord of the World", but there is one matter in it which deeply troubles me. It involves Fr. Percy Franklin successfully urging the Pope to ban all other Liturgies except the Latin Rite. 

    At the time Lord of the World was written, the Eastern Catholic martyrs of the Red Terror and the Armenian Genocide were still in the future. Saint Josaphat of Polotsk and the 13 Martyrs of Pratulin were not, however. 

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  • November 3rd, 2014It’s time again…by Dena Hunt

    …to reclaim time, the last night of that silly business of daylight savings time. People made ironic remarks to each other all day about getting back the hour stolen from them last spring. But the most ironic thing about this little biannual banter is that there’s no such thing in the first place. There’s no such thing as time, calculable time. We made it up. It’s a very handy abstract device for setting clocks and keeping calendars, a way to divide hours from epochs, and quite necessary to live any sort of ordered life—but, actually, nonexistent.

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  • October 30th, 2014The Evidence for Shakespeare’s Catholicismby Joseph Pearce

    I've received an e-mail from a student studying Theatre History who is doing a research project on Shakespeare's Catholicism. The student requested a list of books and essays offering evidence that Shakespeare was a believing Catholic.

    My Response:

    Regarding your question, you should check out the extensive five-page bibliography in my book, The Quest for Shakespeare. Books I would particularly recommend on Shakespeare's Catholicism (apart from my own three books on the topic!) are:

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  • October 29th, 2014Boorstin, Creativity, and Augustineby Daniel J. Heisey

    While nine of his twenty-two books are still in print, albeit in paperback, Random House, under its Vintage imprint, has brought out a new hardcover edition of Daniel J. Boorstin’s The Creators.  Boorstin (1914-2004) was a master of clear, succinct prose that went to the heart of any subject he chose to study.  Among his many interests was the theology of history presented by Saint Augustine of Hippo.

    Born in Atlanta, Georgia, but reared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Boorstin began his career as a lawyer, having studied at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford.  A Rhodes Scholar, he distinguished himself by being admitted to the bar both in America and in Britain.  He then taught for twenty-five years at the University of Chicago, and his professional life culminated with service as Librarian of Congress from 1975 to 1987.  Between 1958 and 1973 wrote The Americans, a highly-acclaimed three-volume history of the United States.  In 1962 he wrote The Image, about the trend towards publicity and celebrity being dominant features in modern life.

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  • October 29th, 2014Painter of the Popesby Joseph Pearce

    I had the inestimable honour recently of interviewing the Russian artist, Igor Babailov, now resident in Nashville, who has painted official portraits of the last three popes, as well as celebrated portraits of George Washington, George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin and many others. Babailov, indubitably one of the greatest artists alive today, is a vociferous champion of realism and is critical of much of the nonsense in modern art. In short, he is a veritable breath of fresh air in a very stale environment!

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  • October 28th, 2014Light from the Dark Continentby Joseph Pearce

    In the days of yore, the days of discovery, exploration and empire, Africa was known as the Dark Continent. Today, as the so-called developed world falls into shadow, the continent of Africa is becoming a beacon of light and a source of hope. From an EWTN program called "The Vocation Boom," this statistic.

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  • October 28th, 2014R. H. Benson 1914 - 2014: A Tributeby Joseph Pearce

    I have just received an e-mail from an Argentinian journalist writing an article to commemorate the centenary of the death of the great literary convert, R. H. Benson. He sent me some questions, the answers to which I thought would serve as a suitable tribute to Benson on the Ink Desk.

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