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.

  • June 4th, 2012Chaucer & His Age: Preview of the Next Issueby Joseph Pearce

    The next issue of StAR is with the proofreaders. Here’s a preview of what our subscribers can expect when their next issue is delivered. If you have not yet subscribed, please support our apostolate by doing so. You can subscribe online from this very site. It’s never been easier!

    The theme of the July/August issue is “Chaucer & His Age”. Highlights include:

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  • June 4th, 2012Which Fundamentalism is Worse?by Joseph Pearce

    One of the songs that I occasionally sing to my son at the breakfast table is "Morning Has Broken", which was a huge hit for Cat Stevens in the early-seventies. I like the song for its Franciscan-Hopkinsesque evocation of the spiritual beauty of nature. Recently, I thought I'd play the original track and selected it on You Tube. I noted that the person who had posted the track had warned that all abusive comments related to Stevens' conversion to Islam would be removed. For those who don't know, Cat Stevens caused controversy many years ago when he became a Muslim. He now goes by the name of Yusuf Islam.

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  • June 2nd, 2012Holy Ground?by Dena Hunt

    I’ve just returned from a vacation, the first I’ve had in—actually, I don’t know. There was a two-days trip to St Simon’s in January to visit a friend who, as it turned out, was not all that happy to see me. (Mysterious as the ways of seeming-love are those of seeming-friendship sometimes, but all that is another story.) Before that, I took a trip to Virginia for the lovely wedding of a young friend nearly two years ago. And before that, all is darkness. The perpetual problem is the difficulty of finding a good pet-sitter, but I know that, at bottom, I’m simply reclusive, practically a hermit, really.

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  • June 1st, 2012Seer: A Wizard’s Journalby Jef Murray

    Greetings!  "Seer: A Wizard's Journal", is my first book, and it was formally released yesterday, on the Feast of the Visitation. "Seer" is a collection of parables, pictures, poems, and polemics, and it takes the reader down unusual paths and byways that will hopefully amuse and intrigue.

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  • June 1st, 2012World Meeting of Families in Milanby Fr. Simon Henry

    Hundreds of thousands of people from over 140 countries are currently attending the World Meeting of Families in Milan to discuss issues affecting marriage and family life. Pope Benedict travels to Milan on Friday to meet with those attending the 5-day event and will remain in the northern Italian city until Sunday.

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  • June 1st, 2012Shakespeare: Defence and Defecationby Joseph Pearce

    I am grateful to "Recent Convert" for inspiring me to write posts in response to his comments. Yesterday I responded to his question about the Tolkien scholar, Tom Shippey; today I'm responding to the comment he appended to my post about the English Martyr, St. Luke Kirby. Specifically, "RC" wrote plaintively about the recent film, "Anonymous", in which the nonsense-notion that the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays is plunged to new levels of absurdity and depravity

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  • May 31st, 2012Voting Virtuouslyby Joseph Pearce

    Someone has just sent me this excellent video about the need to vote virtuously in the forthcoming elections. I'd seen it before but I don't think it's been posted to the Ink Desk. It's powerful, forthright and worth watching:

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  • May 31st, 2012The Real Crisis in Spainby Tom Kallene

    Some of you might have seen the headlines: Spain is in a terrible mess. “La Crisis” is the combined effort of the masters of usury, incompetent "leaders," corrupt officials and the (so-called) European Union.

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  • May 30th, 2012Tom Shippey & Tolkienby Joseph Pearce

    "Recent Convert", a regular contributor to the lively debate and discussion here on the Ink Desk, asked me, in a comment to my recent post on "The Philosophy of Tolkien", what I thought of the work of Tom Shippey, one of the world's leading Tolkien scholars. I would respond as follows:

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  • May 30th, 2012Waugh and Pearce Revisitedby Joseph Pearce

    The poet, James Morris, has just sent me an old issue of the Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies (Winter 2006) in which reviews of two of my books, Literary Converts and Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, are published. Neither review can be described as glowing and, indeed, both might be said to damn with faint praise. I even detect an element of supercilious condescension all too common in book reviews written by those who are self-consciously "academic". Nonetheless, I found the reviews of interest and am posting them in the hope that others might do so al

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  • May 30th, 2012Saint Luke Kirby – English Martyrby Joseph Pearce

    Today is the feast day of St. Joan of Arc, Patron of France, who was burned to death by the English on this day in 1431. It is also the feast day of St. Luke Kirby, English Martyr, who was put to death by the English on this day in 1582. A convert to Catholicism, Kirby was ordained to the priesthood in 1577 and took the oath of the English College of Rome on St. George’s Day, 1579 (Shakespeare’s fifteenth birthday).

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  • May 30th, 2012A Rose-Breasted Meditationby Joseph Pearce

    A few weeks ago, whilst eating breakfast at our home in South Carolina, I was startled by the sight of a bird that I’d never seen before. Like me, it was enjoying its breakfast, eating the sunflower seeds from the bird-feeder on our deck. I stared transfixed at the novelty of its beauty, a configuration of colours on which my virgin eyes had never before feasted. It was large, about the size of a cardinal, and wore a resplendent red bib on its white breast. Its head was black and its wings, also black, were streaked with white. The newcomer did not seem to know the established rules of the pecking order, standing its ground when a cardinal, the customary ruler of the roost, sought to establish its dominance. The cardinal, bemused by this lack of decorum, gave way to the usurping upstart.

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  • May 30th, 2012Villainy, Inc.by Sophia Mason

    Color me naive, but I cannot understand the furor over the USCCB's continued refusal to place the rubber stamp of their approval on free contraception for all.  The issue has been in the news for months now, ever since the HHS first announced that universal health insurance meant universal coverage of contraception.  As the conservative blogosphere lights up with virtual air-fives at the bishops finally, finally doing something that makes them unpopular, the secular press has, for the most part, attacked the bishops with a steady stream of inflammatory rhetoric, flawed studies, dishonest reporting, and utter disregard for the ordinary laws of logic.

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  • May 29th, 2012Solzhenitsyn Returns to the United Statesby Joseph Pearce

    No, it's not a miracle. The great Nobel Prize winning author has not returned from the dead. It's his widow, Natalya Solzhenitsyn, who is returning to the United States to present, for the first time, her husband's Archive. It's part of a huge festival of Russian literature being held in New York City next week. Here's the press release.

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  • May 29th, 2012Clear Thinking vs. Clichesby Joseph Pearce

    I've just been sent an excellent article from the Heritage Foundation, enumerating the descent of rational thinking to the level of the banality of cliché. Apart from the comment about "national defence", which is all too often a loophole through which Big Government will continue to get bigger, the article is a rare example of cogency and clarity. Here's the article.

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  • May 29th, 2012Old Folks, a Run Down Hotel, and the Anglican Churchby Kevin O'Brien

    I was hoping to see an independent film, something without all of that Hollywood predictability, so the family and I all went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel< - a movie starring some of the finest British film actors, a very minor tale about old folks forced to live in a crummy hotel in India, whose young manager has great aspirations, and whose guests are all trying to make the best of a bad situation.

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  • May 29th, 2012Appreciating Tolkien through Hopkinsby Abigail C. Reimel

    I started writing poetry the same year I read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings for the first time.  It all began with a class assignment.  My sixth grade teacher took the class outside during our study of poetry and told all of us to spread out, sit quietly, and let our surroundings inspire us.  I remember going to sit by the garden, taking out my notebook, and just sitting there staring at the colorful flowers;  I had never gone outside, sat down, remained still, and just listened for the sake of finding inspiration.

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  • May 28th, 2012Frodo and the French Revolutionby Joseph Pearce

    Is there really a connection between Frodo and the French Revolution? Were hobbits horrified by the secular fundamentalism of the revolutionaries? Was Robespierre, instigator of the Great Terror which followed in the Revolution's wake, possessed by the spirit of Sauron? These questions are answered in "Frodo Versus Robespierre", an essay of mine published in Friday's edition of Crisis Magazine. Read it here:

      http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/frodo-versus-robespierre

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  • May 28th, 2012To Hell and Back with C.S. Lewisby Joseph Pearce

    In November of this year I will be leading the annual C. S. Lewis Retreat at beautiful Camp Allen in Texas. The theme of this year's retreat "for readers, writers and mere Christians" is Lewis' Great Divorce, specifically, as the title of the conference indicates (Choosing Heaven: Eternity in the Here and Now), it is about the eternal significance and consequences of the decisions that we make in our everyday lives. I'll be giving three talks related to this theme over the weekend of November 9-11 and there are also a host of other speakers and Christian entertainers to ensure that those attending will be surprised by the joy of spending a weekend in the company of C. S. Lewis and friends. Please see the text of the e-mail from the C. S. Lewis Foundation below for details of how to register.

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  • May 27th, 2012Thank God for Faithful Priests!by Lorraine V. Murray

    There is a priest I’ve known for 12 years, who has been instrumental in my deeper conversion. When I came back to my childhood faith, I was at first a “cafeteria-style Catholic,” refusing to accept Catholic teachings on many issues. But then in 2000 I had one of those big wake-up calls – a cancer diagnosis—and decided to get serious about my faith.

    I started taking instruction from this priest, who helped me grasp the deeper meaning of Church teachings. Over time, I left the cafeteria line and starting enjoying the full feast of Catholicism. I am writing this column as a tribute to him. He is a reflection of what a truly good priest is, and there are so many of them in the world. Here’s why I’m so grateful for faithful priests.

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