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 25th, 2012Snergs, Hobbits and Whizzing Biscuitsby Joseph Pearce

    If nothing else, the title of this post must rate as one of the oddest ever to grace the pages of the Ink Desk. For those confused by the unlikely connection between snergs, hobbits and baked projectiles the answer is to be found in the comment posted to a very old post of mine entitled "What Would Tolkien Read?", posted way back on June 5th. Since the comment was unlikely to be read by many people, marooned as it was in the dim recessess of the archives that time has forgotten, I've resurrected it for the delectation of Ink Desk visitors. Without further ado, I invite you to read on.

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  • September 25th, 2012A to Z with C.S. Lewisby Joseph Pearce

    I have just heard from the indomitable Louis Markos that he is currently running "the A to Z of C. S. Lewis" on his website. For those who are unfamiliar with Markos, he is the author of numeous books and has taught the course on Lewis for the Great Courses series: www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=297. As one of the world's leading Lewis experts, he is ideally suited to write this series of short essays. Every week throughout the current academic year he will post a new 600-word essay on his site: twenty-six essays over twenty-six weeks covering the full alphabetic panorama of all things Lewisian. Last week he began the A to Z with "Aslan". This week is "Beauty", next week will be "Courage" and so on. This series is not to be missed! See Louis Markos' website:

    www.loumarkos.com

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  • September 22nd, 2012Magic and Wonderby Jef Murray

    Pieter Collier, of The Tolkien Library, has just published an interview we conducted this last week on Seer, on J.R.R. Tolkien, on C.S. Lewis, and on magic and wonder in general. Do take a look!

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  • September 21st, 2012Confessions of a Fornicatorby Joseph Pearce

    I'm sure many visitors to the Ink Desk have already seen this excellent trailer to the new film based on St. Augustine's incomparable Confessions but I'm posting it to make sure that as many people as possible are made aware of this important and must-see movie:

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  • September 21st, 2012A New Platform for Catholic Writersby Joseph Pearce

    In the knowledge that many Catholic writers viit the Ink Desk, I'm posting a letter I've just received from Human Life International announcing the launching of a new online publication and an invitaiton for Catholic writers to contribute to it by submitting suitable articles. Enough said. Here's the text of the letter:

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  • 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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