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.

  • 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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  • May 27th, 2012Why Bad Christian Art is Anti-Christianby Kevin O'Brien

    Bad Christian art is not only bad; it's anti-christian.  Let me explain.  This may be a bit of a rant, but let me explain.

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  • May 25th, 2012I Thought I Wouldn’t Write a Post, but Then I Went to Massby Sophia Mason

    ... and it came to my attention that it is the Feast of the Venerable Bede, and that demands acknowledgment!  (What, you don't use daily Mass as your saints' calendar too?)

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  • May 25th, 2012The Philosophy of Tolkienby Joseph Pearce

    I couldn't decide whether to title this post "The Philosophy of Tolkien" or "The Genius of Kreeft". I refer to the sheer brilliance of Peter Kreeft's Philosophy of Tolkien. Dipping into it the other night, I was simply astonished at how much of it is almost epigrammatic in its quotable, memorable and dazzling succinctness. It is Kreeftkraft at its sublimely accessible best.

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  • May 24th, 2012From NH to NCby Joseph Pearce

    Considering my silence earlier this week, I thought I'd explain my absence. On Tuesday morning I flew to New Hampshire to support the noble and courageous efforts in Catholic education being made by Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts and Mount Royal Academy.

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  • May 24th, 2012Green Eggs and the Health Care Scamby Joseph Pearce

    I've been forwarded an amusing pastiche of Dr. Seuss on the subject of Obama, the HHS mandate, and other recent manifestations of "progressivist" nonsense. I hope it brings a smile:

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  • May 24th, 2012The Goodness and Truth of Beautyby Joseph Pearce

    Those in the NYC area might want to attend this event:

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  • May 24th, 2012Faith and Freedomby Joseph Pearce

    Here's an excellent article by Mary Ann Glendon on the US Bishops' resistance to the Obama administration's attack on religious freedom:

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  • May 21st, 2012Waugh and Pearceby Joseph Pearce

    For the second time today, I'm apologizing for an act of self-indulgence. This time it's the faux pas implied by coupling my name with the great Evelyn Waugh. Unkind people might suggest that such a juxtaposition is the joining of the sublime to the ridiculous! My only excuse is the inability to resist an inviting pun when it crosses my path. In any event, I was amused to read in the new issue of Evelyn Waugh Studies that my Foreword to A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes warrants a health warning to liberal Catholics. Needless to say, I consider the criticism to be a compliment. Here's the review.

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  • May 21st, 2012Blue Heavenby Joseph Pearce

    I feel that an apology is due for this somewhat self-indulgent post but I'm going to blame Kevin O'Brien for encouraging me in my sin! I'm sure that Kevin, as a man with more than a modicum of sanctity, will forgive me.

    Last year, Kevin posted a long piece in effusive celebration of the St. Louis Cardinals winning the world series. Although, like Kevin, I indulge a passion for sports, in my case soccer, I try to keep this secular aspect of my life in the background, mindful of the danger of what the Romans called panem et circenses (bread and circuses), a metaphor for worldly distractions, such as material objects and entertainment, which keep us from contemplating more important things and that hamper our ability to live a life of virtue. I readily accept that my passion for Chelsea Football Club, which has been a part of my life since I was about seven years old, is sometimes a distraction from more important things. This was the case on Saturday when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the Final of the European Champions League, thereby winning the most prestigious club competition in the world and making the Blues of Chelsea the champions of Europe. 

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  • May 19th, 2012My Train Hit a Deer Monday Morningby Sophia Mason

    Monday was something of an adventure.  It started out with my dad and I standing on the platform waiting for our daily train; and the train was late.  Ten or fifteen minutes after the whistle should have blown, we heard it blowing … from the wrong direction.  The whistle coming from the wrong direction was soon succeeded by a train coming from the wrong direction; said train backed into our station, where it proceeded to unload all 694,217 of its passengers.  It seems that the train had hit a deer, and sustained injuries which, if not actually incompatible with locomotion, were at least threatening to the riders to be locomoted in the locomotive.

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  • May 18th, 2012Broken Chinaby Joseph Pearce

    Following my recent post about the demographic crisis in Japan (land of the setting sun), I was intrigued to see this piece in today's "Crisis" about a similar crisis looming for China in the wake of its hideous one-child policy. The culture of death is dying ...

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  • May 18th, 2012Dining with Dante - Almost!by Joseph Pearce

    Yesterday I drove across the border into North Carolina to have lunch with the hugely gifted Anthony Esolen, who had flown to Charlotte to record three series of lectures for Catholic Courses (www.catholiccourses.com). As Executive Director of Catholic Courses, I am hugely honoured that we have managed to attract some of the finest Catholic academics to teach our courses. Certainly, having Anthony Esolen teaching three courses on Dante's Divine Comedy is a hugely impressive feather in our cap. For those who don't know, Esolen is the translator of the widely-respected Random House edition of Dante's classic.

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  • May 18th, 2012The Sixteenth Century Lives On … and On …by Dena Hunt

    Fr. Robert Barron, just returned from a trip to the UK, reports http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh9AiESvImM&amp;feature=uploademail on the longevity of the persecution of Catholics in the UK. It’s still not over.

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  • May 18th, 2012For Polyglots Onlyby Joseph Pearce

    I've been forwarded a link to an illustrated report of my recent visit to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I'm afraid that it's in Spanish so will not be accessible to many.

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  • May 17th, 2012His Peace She Gives Usby Kevin O'Brien

    Dawn Eden is a friend of mine and one of the most intelligent women I've ever met.  She shares with me a love for G. K. Chesterton and an adult conversion that brought her from much suffering and sin into a life of grace.  So we have some things in common, and I admire her greatly.

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