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 31st, 2012A Picture of Oscar Wildeby Joseph Pearce

    A correspondent has sent me his MA thesis on Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. Although the thesis argues convincingly for the Catholic aesthetic of the novel it contains what I consider to be a few problems. I thought that my observations might be of interest to visitors to the Ink Desk.

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  • October 30th, 2012America the Beautifulby Joseph Pearce

    In the light or darkness of the presidential election campaign, I have found much solace in the beauty of the American landscape. My travels over the past few weeks have taken me to Utah, where I had the opportunity to hike off-trail in the Rockies overlooking Ogden Canyon, and now to New Hampshire, where, in spite of the weather, I have been hiking round lakes and through autumnal woodland. In between, I climbed to Rainbow Falls in South Carolina, with my good friend, Father Dwight Longenecker, and cycled alongside the Reedy River from Greenville to Furman University, with my irrepressible four-year-old daughter babbling on excitedly from the saddle behind me. Life does not get much better than this!

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  • October 30th, 2012The Power of Hopeby Joseph Pearce

    There has been something of the smudge of smuttiness staining the United States over the past few months. The lies, counter-lies and statistics of the Presidential election have sullied the atmosphere of honest debate on the most important of issues. As election day approaches, the deluded mob threatens to storm the bastion of marriage, much as an earlier deluded mob stormed the Bastille. As the undemocratic nature of plutocratic macro-"democracy" descends to the level of mob rule, I am reminded of the words of the poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, that "all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; and wears man's smudge, and shares man's smell". The sin of man seems to stain everything it touches, choking virtue in its vice-like grip.

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  • October 29th, 2012St. Thomas: Heaven Haven in the Stormby Joseph Pearce

    As I write we are battening down the hatches here in New Hampshire, the home in which I'm staying being battered by the storm that is rather absurdly called Sandy. Classes are cancelled at Thomas More College tomorrow so I'm expecting to have unexpected time on my hands. Perhaps tomorrow, if we have not lost power, I might write something more lengthy and weighty for the Ink Desk. Tonight, however, I'd like to share an excellent quote about Thomism from The Intellectual Life by A. D. Sertillanges, O.P.:

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  • October 28th, 2012Thinking and Beingby Joseph Pearce

    Colin Jory has sent me the text of a letter that he has sent to the New Scientist. It is a superbly succinct rebuttal of the reductionist error of the Cartesian maxim, Gogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am).

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  • October 28th, 2012Lost and Foundby Dena Hunt

    Language can obscure truth, sometimes charitably, euphemistically, to avoid giving offense to others; but also sometimes to protect ourselves from what we don’t want to see. When the latter motive is in play, untangling the knotted web of deceit can be a slow, sometimes interrupted, step-by-step process, which can take months, even years, until the last knot is untangled and “suddenly” the whole thing is revealed. We feel shock then, but when the shock is past, we look back and see clearly what was so obscure before.

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  • October 26th, 2012The Thirteen Worst Reviews of Classic Booksby Joseph Pearce

    Publisher's Weekly has published an amusing list of what it claims are the worst reviews of classic books. Read and enjoy:

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  • 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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