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.

  • October 26th, 2012A Celestial ABC: Advent, Benedictines, Chantby Joseph Pearce

    My good friend Christopher Check of Catholic Answers has sent a link to a five minute press release by the Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles in Missouri. I recommend that you take five minutes from the busy schedule of your day to watch this short and uplifting video, which promotes a new CD of chant for Advent by the sisters. You will be edified and inspired, not least by the sight of a Benedictine Prioress who looks as though she should still be in college!

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  • October 25th, 2012Maturing in Graceby Kevin O'Brien

    "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity" - Hebrews 6:1

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  • October 25th, 2012Sins of Omission and the English Martyrsby Joseph Pearce

    The Catholic calendar on the wall beside my desk lists yesterday as the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret and the day before yesterday as the feast of St. John of Capistrano. Today, however, is blank. Apparently, or so it would seem, the Church does not celebrate the feast of any particular saint today. Most Catholics, even devout Catholics who try to keep an eye on the saint of the day, will remain woefully ignorant of the fact that today is the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

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  • October 24th, 2012Faith, Football and Familyby Joseph Pearce

    I know very little about football (the American variety), though I enjoy watching it on the rare occasions when time and opportunity permit. I was, however, very pleased to see in the latest issue of The Remnant that a leading NFL player has taken a courageous stand in defence of marriage. Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens and formerly of the Minnesota Vikings went public in the press about his support for the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment, a bold stance that has sent shockwaves across the NFL.

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  • October 24th, 2012The Anchoress Weeps over the Knox Bibleby Robert Asch

    Ronald Knox's achievement depends in no small degree on his astonishing translation of the Vulgate, which some - including Evelyn Waugh - have considered one of the landmarks of twentieth century English literature. It is certainly a great translation, in some of its strengths unique. I wouldn't be without it.

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  • October 24th, 2012Defending Pius XIIby Joseph Pearce

    Colin Jory has responded to my post about Pius XII with some memories of his own about the great Pope and with a poem commemorating Pius' death by the Australian poet, A. D. Hope. Both are worth sharing ...

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  • October 23rd, 2012Prince Charles and Bilbo Bagginsby Joseph Pearce

    Who would have guessed it? Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, is a great admirer of J. R. R. Tolkien! Here's the evidence.

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  • October 22nd, 2012The Best of London and Parisby Joseph Pearce

    A friend of mine has just written to ask for recommendations of places to visit in London and Paris this weekend. Considering that visitors to the Ink Desk might also be planning or hoping to visit England or France, I thought I'd share my recommendations here. This is my reply to my friend:

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  • October 22nd, 2012Pasternak on Shakespeare and Dostoyevskyby Joseph Pearce

    My friend, Brendan King, who has contributed regularly to the print edition of StAR has forwarded me this fine piece by Boris Pasternak on the similarities between Macbeth and Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment.

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  • October 22nd, 2012Pope Pius XII: Martyred by Mendacityby Joseph Pearce

    The great Pope Pius XII has been an inspiration to me ever since I read Pollock's Mind of Pius XII many years ago. Inspired by Pius' defence of social justice against the iniquities of communism, fascism and hedonistic capitalism, I continued to learn and explore the wisdom of Catholic social teaching on my journey to eventual conversion. The great pope is, therefore, one of the figures to whom I'm deeply indebted for bringing me to Christ and His Church. More recently, Pius XII has been the victim of a smear campaign based on lies, damned lies and propaganda. Much maligned by the enemies of truth, he has been martyred by mendacity. This being so, I was delighted to see an article in defence of Pius by Father Rutler in today's Crisis Magazine.

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  • October 18th, 2012God and Macbethby Kevin O'Brien

    There is in all of reality an inherent quality that we deny at our peril.  Dorothy L. Sayers calls it "judgment".  It is what tragedy is all about.

    Take Shakespeare's Macbeth. 

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  • October 17th, 2012Real/Unreal, and the Irrelevance of Either/Bothby Dena Hunt

    I make odd connections. I don’t do it consciously—it’s accidental rather than deliberate. For example, the neurosurgeon’s adventure into the afterlife, reported in Joseph’s recent post, synched oddly with “Hobbit Day” at a children’s school in Lancashire. The basis of the weird synchronicity may have been “real versus unreal” because it brought to mind an idea I once had long ago, which I dismissed at the time.

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  • October 16th, 2012Exposing Big Brotherby Joseph Pearce

    Eduard Volodarsky, the Russian screenwriter who died on October 8, was a powerful dissident voice in the Soviet Union whose work was banned for its depiction of the horrors of life in the Socialist Utopia. Defying communist propaganda and the deliberate falsification of Soviet history, Volodarsky collaborated with the dissident director Alexei German on several classic films that were banned until the dawn of the era of perestroika. Amongst his other achievements, Volodarsky played a significant role in the demythologising of Lenin, illustrating that the brutality of the Soviet system was initiated by its founder, not by his successor, Josef Stalin, the latter of whom merely built on Lenin's bloodthirsty legacy. Here's the obituary to Volodarsky in today's Telegraph.

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  • October 16th, 2012The Creed of Greedby Joseph Pearce

    The present economic and political crisis gripping Europe and the United States is first and foremost a crisis of morality. A lack of prudence and temperance, caused by a creed of greed and materialism, is at the root of the economic meltdown. Nor is the creed of greed restricted to one side of the conventional political spectrum. The greed of bankers and usurers, aided and abetted by the greed of credit-addicted consumers, is one half of the problem; the other half of the problem is the greed of Big Brother socialism, aided and abetted by the greed of welfare-addicted proletarians. Neither side is willing to face the moral cause of the problem because both sides are ultimately on the same side. Regardless of the extent to which the capitalists blame the socialists for the problem, or vice versa, the fact remains that both sides believe that self-indulgence is the goal of the "good life". In my book, Small is Still Beautiful (ISI Books), I echo the wisdom of the great economist and Catholic convert, E. F. Schumacher, who insisted that the practice of the cardinal virtues was the only path to genuine prosperity, for individuals and for society as a whole. The creed of greed leads to moral and material meltdown and the misery which is its consequence. A life of virtue leads to a better life here and now and to everlasting life in the hereafter. The choice facing each of us as individuals and all of us as members of a genuine brotherhood of man is not only simple but obvious. Choose virtue and we will live a free and full life; choose vice and we will find ourselves trapped in its vice-like grip.

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  • October 15th, 2012The Truth About Shakespeare’s Graveby Joseph Pearce

    I've received an e-mail enquiring about the relevance of Shakespeare's being buried in Holy Trinity church in Stratford. I'm quoting thre relevant part of the e-mail here. My answer follows below.

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  • October 12th, 2012Wine and Verseby Joseph Pearce

    My latest sojourn at Thomas More College is drawing to a close. Earlier today, having hiked in the autumnal splendour of northern Massachusetts, I returned to campus for the latest Traditio lecture, at which the entire student body assembles to watch me and college President William Fahey argue about a suitably contentious topic. Last time we discussed Waugh's classic novel, Brideshead Revisited; this time the topic was the Poetry of Faith.

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  • October 12th, 2012Hobbits in Lancashireby Joseph Pearce

    Lord David Alton has forwarded a charming link to a local television report in Lancashire about a special "hobbit day" at St. Mary's Hall of Stoneyhurst College. The young students are decidedly cute as hobbits and the teacher dressed as Gandalf exhibits the apporpriate degree of amiable eccentricity. For lovers of Tolkien, I can safely predict that this will be the happiest two and a half minutes of their day. Enjoy!
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  • October 12th, 2012What Should Children Read?by Joseph Pearce

    Today's Crisis Magazine has a rare essay by Russell Kirk on children's literature. It's an interesting piece of writing in its own right but it might prove particularly useful as a guide for parents of young children.

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  • October 10th, 2012More Popular Than Jesus?by Joseph Pearce

    Back in the 1960s John Lennon claimed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. In this, as in so little else, he could be seen to be a prophet. It was, for instance, sickeningly noteworthy that the closing rite of the London Olympics culminated in Lennon's imagining that there was no religion.

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  • October 10th, 2012The Afterlife: A No-Brainerby Joseph Pearce

    There's nothing more shocking to our materialistic culture than a scientist who insists that he has proof of the truths of religion. One can imagine, therefore, the tremors that have accompanied the disclosure of a leading neurosurgeon that the materialistic presumptions about the function of the brain have been disproved definitively and that the after-life is an actual and spiritual reality.

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