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.

  • March 9th, 2012Women v. the HHSby Sophia Mason

    Ten or twelve days ago I attended an absolutely amazing talk on the HHS mandate—a talk in which five Catholic women got together to discuss why exactly the Obama Administration's defense of the mandate as a "Women's Issue" made no sense.  Parts of that talk are now up on Youtube.

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  • March 9th, 2012Duc in Altumby Sophia Mason

    All my life I have been afraid of the dark.  I felt sheepish about this for a long time, until the year before college when I found out that St. Francis de Sales was also afraid of the dark.  Nothing like having a wise old patron saint who shares one of your weaknesses!  Of course, St. Francis reportedly "conquered his fear by spiritual wisdom," whatever that means—which I suppose just goes to show who's still a long way from being canonized.

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  • March 8th, 2012Epithalamiumby Dena Hunt

    Well, a definition first, for those (a good many people, likely) unfamiliar with the rather obscure literary term: It’s the wedding song, Greek in origin, but universal in literature. In English, its primary origin is Spenser. More broadly, it refers to the wedding, generally, or to the wedding feast. It’s the quintessential “happy ending.”

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  • March 8th, 2012Simply Beautifulby Joseph Pearce

    Stan Mattson, the indefatigible president of the C. S. Lewis Foundation, forwarded me this short two-minute video, which is worth anyone's time. It shows the power of words to transform people's undertanding and perception.

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  • March 7th, 2012The Joke’s on Youby Joseph Pearce

    Someone just sent me the following joke:

    The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

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  • March 6th, 2012Father Brown on the BBCby Joseph Pearce

    I'm delighted to see that the BBC is broadcasting new radio dramatizations of Chesterton's Father Brown stories, starring Andrew Sachs, best known for his portrayal of the Spanish waiter Manuel in the 1970s BBC sitcom, Fawlty Towers. Here's a link to the seventh and final episode of the current series.

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  • March 5th, 2012From St. James to St. Paulby Joseph Pearce

    Last week I was basking in the spiritual splendour of Santiago de Compastela, praying at the tomb of St. James, one of the oldest and most important shrines of Christendom. This week I go on a different sort of pilgrimage, moving from the the great St. James to the icy north of St. Paul, Minnesota. From St. James to St. Paul; from aureoled warmth to the aurora borealis! The reason for my trip to the Twin Cities is to give two talks on two consecutive nights.

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  • March 5th, 2012Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation —Mea Maxima Culpa?by Joseph Pearce

    I'm continuing to trudge my way thorugh Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation, the groundbreaking British television series, first broadcast in 1969. In my first post, I was somewhat scathing, describing Clark's view of western civilisation as "mindless" but added that my judgement might be somewhat prejudiced as I'd only watched the first half dozen of the thirteen episodes. Several days later, having watched the episode on the Catholic Counter-Reformation, I conceded that perhaps I'd been a little harsh, though maintaining that my central criticisms were still valid.

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  • March 5th, 2012The Catholic Shakespeare—More Solid Evidenceby Joseph Pearce

    Last summer I was one of the speakers at a conference at Portmouth Abbey College on the theme of the Catholic Shakespeare. Speakers at the conference included such illustrissimi of contemporary Shakespeare scholarship as Peter Milward, Dennis Taylor, Gerard Kilroy, David Beauregard, and Clare Asquith. I'm delighted to announce that the proceedings of the conference, including the texts of most of the papers, are now published by the Portsmouth Institute in the latest edition of the Portsmouth Review. For more details visit www.portsmouthinstitute.org.

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  • March 5th, 2012A Courageous Cardinal Attacks Britain’s Oxymoronsby Joseph Pearce

    Following my earlier criticism of the weak leadership of Archbishop Vincent Nicholls, the dithering and woolly-minded leader of England's Catholics, it's encouraging to be able to praise Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Catholics and Britain's senior member of the hierarchy. For some time, England's Catholics have been forced to look north of the border for true leadership in the face of the rising tide of secular fundamentalism. On this occasion, Cardinal O'Brien has made a reasoned and defiant stand against the oxymoronic nonsense of so-called "gay marriage". Here's the full text of Cardinal O'Brien's article in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph:

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  • March 4th, 2012Praising Spain and Putting Roy Campbell in a Spinby Joseph Pearce

    Having recently returned from a trip to Spain to promote the Spanish edition of my biography of the convert poet, Roy Campbell, and to speak at a Chesterton conference in Madrid, I am greatly encouraged at an embryonic Catholic revival, which seems to be emerging in that most esteemed of countries. Spain, lest we forget, has saved Christendom twice in her illustrous history, first from the Muslims in the Reconquista and then from the communists in the Spanish civil war.

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  • March 3rd, 2012Syria and its Christian pastby Fr. Simon Henry

    I heard Paul Conroy, the journalist injured and then smuggled out of Syria, speaking on the radio this morning from his hospital bed. The continuing tragic news coming out of Syria looks as though ordinary people are being indiscriminately massacred.  Quite by chance, apart from the news issuing out of Syria, I've been reading something of its Christian history in in Philip Jenkins' "The Lost History of Christianity", which charts the rise and fall of the flourishing Christian Churches for a thousand years in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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  • March 2nd, 2012A War for Soulsby Pavel Chichikov

    Recently I ran across this story from last week’s Lifesitenews.

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  • March 2nd, 2012A Strange Couple Of Weeks for the Pro-Life Movement in Britainby Ed West

    It has been a strange couple of weeks for the pro-life movement in Britain, enjoying the unusual, indeed unnerving sensation of winning the battle.

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  • March 1st, 2012They Wander Into Darknessby Pavel Chichikov

    There has been an article most recently in the Journal of Medical Ethics in defense of infanticide. The editor of the Journal has defended the publication of the article. Details here.

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  • March 1st, 2012The Unity of Loveby Kevin O'Brien

    It has long been a teaching in the Catholic Faith, as well as something recognizable in natural philosophy, that there is only one Truth. There is not a truth for you and a truth for me; a truth for science and a truth for religion, a truth for Monday and a truth for Tuesday.

    But the Church now teaches, with the authority of the Magisterium, according to D. C. Schindler in a brilliant essay on Pope Benedict's papal encyclical Deus Caritas Est, that there is only one love - that eros (passionate and affective love) and agape (disinterested love of neighbor) are really two aspects of the same thing - or really, two faces of the same God.

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  • February 29th, 2012Ten Reasons Why I Love Lentby Lorraine V. Murray

    It may seem strange to say that I love a season of repentance, but in fact, I look forward to Lent every year with great enthusiasm. After all, it's a time when the rubber really hits the road for Catholics, as we put aside excuses and get serious about our faith. And here's why I cherish Lent.

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  • February 27th, 2012No Weddings and Three Funeralsby Kevin O'Brien

    We had three funerals to attend three days in a row last week, all for the parents of friends or family who had died - two Catholic funerals and one Protestant.

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  • February 27th, 2012The Highlight of my Careerby Kevin O'Brien

    After years of therapy and extensive soul searching, it appears as if the reason I got into show business was so that my mother would love me.

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  • February 27th, 2012Respect for the Rights of Conscience Actby Kevin O'Brien

    One of my state's senators, Roy Blunt, has sponsored the Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act, and Catholic Vote has sent out an email urging support for it at this critical juncture in American history. Catholic Vote writes as follows:

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