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 21st, 2012Mastering Apologeticsby Joseph Pearce

    The St. Austin Review has always advocated education as if truth mattered, as the theme of a recent issue illustrated. This being so, I'd like to draw attention to an exciting new program at Houston Baptist University. It's a Masters in Apologetics, which pays due attention to the connection between faith and reason and to the importance of art and literature to what might be termed cultural apologtics, or evangelizing through the power of beauty.

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  • September 21st, 2012Politics and Narcissismby Joseph Pearce

    I'm continuing to wade through the submissions for the next issue of the St. Austin Review. Here's another book review that has not made the final cut for inclusion in the print edition of StAR but is worthy of being posted and read on the Ink Desk:

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  • September 21st, 2012Reviewby Joseph Pearce

    ... of Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World

    By Donal Foley

    (Gracewing, £2)

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  • September 20th, 2012A Musical Oasis in the Ghettoby Joseph Pearce

    In a recent post I commented on the beauty of the liturgy at the London Oratory, particularly at the 11am Latin Mass. Yesterday, whilst listening in the car to Paul Paray's sublime "Pastorale de Noël", I was reminded of the beautiful liturgy at the Assumption Grotto in Detroit, a veritable oasis of sanity and sanctity in the midst of the madness of the motown ghetto.

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  • September 20th, 2012Chesterton, Heretics and Hippy Nunsby Joseph Pearce

    It's over a century since G. K. Chesterton wrote What's Wrong with the World but the book is as relevant as ever. An article in today's Crisis Magazine shows how Chesterton's attack on early twentieth century heretics serves as an equally applicable critique of today's cafeteria Catolics and modernist nuns.

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  • September 20th, 2012Marriage, The Rock on Which the Family is Builtby Joseph Pearce

    I'm currently sifting through the mountain of articles submitted for possible publication in the next issue of the St. Austin Review. One of the challenges of editing the magazine is dealing with this embarrassment of riches, whereby it is simply impossible to publish everything one would like. It is for this reason that I've decided to publish some of the articles on the Ink Desk for which there is no room in the print edition. Here is Geneva Leonard's review of William May's book on the Catholic teaching on marriage:

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  • September 19th, 2012Curious George and the Dragonby Joseph Pearce

    As a mark of what I fear is over-scrupulosity, I am suffering from guilt-pangs for acting unjustly towards a cartoon chimpanzee!

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  • September 18th, 2012The Necessity of Purgatoryby Joseph Pearce

    It continues to baffle me that Protestants have an aversion to purgatory. Not all Protestants, it must be conceded. C. S. Lewis, for instance, made no secret of his belief in purgatory and even declared on one occasion that he believed that he was going there! Lewis was, however, a very non-Protestant sort of Protestant; indeed, one might almost say that he was a very Catholic sort of Protestant. For most Protestants, however, purgatory remains anathema, a doctrine that reeks of papist superstition.

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  • September 18th, 2012Celebrating the 75th Birthday of The Hobbitby Joseph Pearce

    This Friday will mark the 75th anniversary of the first publication of The Hobbit in 1937. Those wishing to celebrate in hobbit-fashion and Shire-style are invited to share a second breakfast at 11am on Friday with other wannabe hobbits around the world. Enough said.

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  • September 17th, 2012Creativity as a Gift of Lifeby Joseph Pearce

    Apart from the dark and murky souls who advocate "planned parenthood" and the kiling of babies, most people will see the obvious connection between pro-creation and the gift of life. Few, however, see the similar and parallel connection between sub-creation and the gift of life. Sub-creativity, i.e. the gift of poiesis, is, like the gifts of love and reason, one of the marks of God's image in Man. It is, as Dorothy L. Sayers might say, the Mind of the Maker in the mind of man. It is an understanding of the relationship between Creator and sub-creator that animates the work of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It is also at the heart of the poetic vision of the great convert poet, David Jones, whose masterpiece "The Anathemata" gives paradoxical voice to the mystical relationship between God, religion and art. The Divine source of the artistic gift explains the connection between art and life, art and wholeness, art and holiness, and art and health. It also explains why the culture of death destroys the reverence and respect for the creative gift.

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  • September 17th, 2012The Faith of Fr. Faberby Joseph Pearce

    One of my favourite hymns is "Faith of Our Fathers", a celebration of Cathoic Martyrs in general and the English Martyrs in particular. It is a veritable anthem of the Church Militant, especially when Faber's words are united to the stridently upbeat tune to which it is sung in England as distinct from the mellow melody employed in the United States. It is the custom in the Pearce family to sing this hymn (English version) on the feast days of the English martyrs. The hymn was written by the the great convert priest, Frederick Faber, a friend of Blessed John Henry Newman and, like Newman, a convert to Rome from the Oxford Movement within the Anglican Church.

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  • September 17th, 2012On Sufferingby Kevin O'Brien

    If we did not have a God Who suffers, none of this would make any sense.

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  • September 17th, 2012Lessons on Morality from Shakespeare and Ferris Buellerby Kevin O'Brien

    This is from a fan of our YouTube page.  He writes to me saying ...

    As man of theater yourself, I imagine that you have had the same moral questions from time to time. Should I take this part? Should I assist in this production? And so on. For me, these questions are more difficult to answer because they involve acting and simulation. Playing the part of the sinner is different from actually being the sinner.     
    I would like to know how a Catholic goes about finding principled answers to these kinds of questions. Have you found any helpful guides or resources?
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  • September 15th, 2012The Stewardship of Loveby Kevin O'Brien

    We had to go to the 7:00 am Sunday Mass in this small town in Kansas, for we had to make it all the way back to St. Louis for a Sunday evening performance that same night.  I had hoped there would be few people and no music - there often isn't at the early Sunday Mass in most parishes.  But the church was Standing Room Only and Haugen-Haas-Schutte was being played (badly) and sung (weakly) and ruining any chance at all for prayer or solemn worship.  The priest, looking resplendent in his Ordinary Green, was ad-libbing just enough of the new translation of the Liturgy to make it annoying.

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  • September 14th, 2012Another Great New Bishopby Joseph Pearce

    Until fairly recently faithful Catholics were justifiably despondent about the lack of leadership from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. It seemed that the leadership of the Church in the United States was either weak (at best) or heretical (at worst). Now, however, and thanks be to God, we have a new generation of faithful and orthodox bishops who seem to have the courage of their convictions. The latest new appointment is Bishop James D. Conley as the new Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska.

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  • September 14th, 2012Tolkien Fever Grips New Zealandby Joseph Pearce

    It seems that the magic of Middle-earth is once again working wonders for the toutist industry in New Zealand. A decade after the release of the Peter Jackson movie adpatation of The Lord of the Rings, the prospect of the long-awaited sequel, a three-part adaptation by Jackson of The Hobbit, is rekindling the flame of what might be termed Tolkien-mania.

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  • September 14th, 2012Travelling with Orcsby Joseph Pearce

    In previous posts I have mused about “an evening with Gollum” and about “breakfast with Mr. Gullible”, whom I compared to Denethor. Continuing the theme, I’d like to recount an unpleasant hour many years ago in which I found myself in the company of orcs. It was back in England, a land that has become much like Mordor. To be precise, it was on an eastbound tube train in London.

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  • September 13th, 2012The Murdered Ambassador and the Ugly Truthby Joseph Pearce

    Politics stinks. It is an ugly, sordid business. It is also, at its worst, disastrous and deadly. The killing on the eleventh anniversary of 9-11 of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other US citizens was the work of Islamic fundamentalists. It was, however, aided and abetted by US foreign policy in the Middle East. This is the ugly truth that must be stressed.

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  • September 12th, 2012God Bless Cardinal Dolan!by Kevin O'Brien

    There are a ton of bishops and a few cardinals in the Church who are St. Louis natives, or who have served as bishops in St. Louis before moving on.  Last night I wrote about the less-than-Christian behavior of one, Bishop Finn of Kansas City / St. Joseph.

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  • September 10th, 2012It is (Never) Enoughby Kevin O'Brien

    I knew a man who was addicted to sex.  Affairs with women, sick relationships.  Two failed marriages, several failed live-ins.  He kept a journal of how many women he had taken to bed, and there were many - very many.  As Chesterton says about people who are rich, "To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it".  The same can be said for sex addicts.  If you really want to take thousands of women to bed over the course of your life, you can indeed get that - but you have to be sick enough to care, and driven enough to make that your life's vocation.  And this man did just that; he devoted his entire life - his energies, his spare time, his focus - to this one obsession.  He lost one good paying job over it, maybe more.  The last time I saw him, he was in his mid-70's, proud that he had picked up a waitress in her 30's who was living with him, and who his other girlfriend didn't know about.  Of course, she was a heroin addict and had been in and out of prison.  But she liked him and the sex was good.

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