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 6th, 2014Catholicism and Capitalism: Friends or Enemies?by Joseph Pearce
Always willing to court controversy, I'm speaking this Thursday evening at Holy Cross College in Worcester MA on the contentious topic of the Church's social teaching. I hope that any readers of the Ink Desk within driving distance of Holy Cross will come and see the fun or join the argument:http://news.holycross.edu/blog/2014/09/30/noted-catholic-author-to-discuss-capitalism-in-the-church/» Continue Reading
October 6th, 2014Voting for the Devilby Joseph Pearce
In my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative, I offer an Englishman's perspective of Scotland's recent referendum:» Continue Reading
October 6th, 2014The Dominican Optionby Joseph Pearce
As I continue to settle into my new position as Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College, I am getting a deeper insight than ever into the role and place of Dominican spirituality in the modern world. The College is part of the multifaceted apostolate of the Nashville Dominicans, the work of which I have admired for many years. As I contemplate my own small part in this work, I was intrigued by an article on "The Dominican Option" in First Things. It suggests that the Dominican Option might be a better model for the renewal of Christian culture than the oft-touted Benedictine Option. Read on:» Continue Reading
October 6th, 2014TOLKIEN, MINAS TIRITH AND THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLEby Stephen Brady
I have always liked Orthodox Church music and now find it is on the Internet in English. This is a Hymn to Maria Theotokos, Mary Mother of God.» Continue Reading
October 1st, 2014It’s Like Kaddishby Dena Hunt
Every Sabbath, Jewish services conclude with the Kaddish prayer for the dead, recited when someone dies and every year thereafter on the “yahrzeit,” or anniversary of their death.
Kaddish, if I’m not mistaken, simply means praise.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
“My father,” Isaac says to Abraham, who holds the knife poised above him, “Is there nothing your God may not ask of you?”» Continue Reading
October 1st, 2014On Heroesby Matthew Elam
Gilbert Keith Chesterton once said, "We may, by fixing our attention almost fiercely on the facts actually before us, force them to turn into adventures; force them to give up their meaning and fulfil their mysterious purpose." Unfortunately, the "facts actually before us" are the things which get the least of our attention. What we call extraordinary is often merely novel, while the mundane contains amazing things. In fact, the most amazing things are precisely those things which seem to us most ordinary.
The divergence between what is novel and what is truly amazing can be demonstrated in the case of Superman. Superman can fly. No doubt, the prospect of flying is exciting, but the idea that a superhuman creature can fly offers me no hope of doing it myself. There was, however, one time when I was deeply impressed by a man flying. The most amazing thing about him wasn't that he wore tights and a cape and came from outer space; the most amazing thing was that he dressed like any other man, save that he wore tiny golden wings pinned to his lapel. He even gave me a pair of wings like his, as if to say, “You, too, can fly.”» Continue Reading
September 30th, 2014The Hound of Heaven in Hollywoodby Joseph Pearce
As readers of the Ink Desk might recall I've been involved in a multi-media re-presentation of Francis Thompson's superb poem, The Hound of Heaven. My own involvement has included the role of consultant and participant in the 30-minute documentary on Thompson's life, and also as the writer of the introduction to a new published adaptation of the poem. There have also been an animated film of the modern adaptation of the poem and even a new country-style song inspired by the poem.» Continue Reading
September 30th, 2014Hope at Hopeby Joseph Pearce
Three weeks ago I had the privilege and pleasure of giving talks on consecutive days at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. I am extremely gratified to have just received a delightful report of the visit to Hope College, written by a student with whom I had lunch. The report also contains links to videos of two of the talks that I gave at Hope:» Continue Reading
September 27th, 2014Kairos and Chronosby Dena Hunt
Msgr. Charles Pope posted this brief reflection on, as it turns out, my birthday. I’d been hoping for some kind of little present from the Lord, and I think this may be it. Msgr. Pope says,
“I have considered the task that God has appointed for the sons of men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done (Eccles 3:10-11).
“Somewhere in our hearts is something that the world cannot, and did not give us. It is something that is nowhere evident in the world, and yet, though not perceiving it, we still know it. This passage from Ecclesiastes calls it ‘the timeless.’ We also often refer to it as eternity, or even infinity.”» Continue Reading
September 26th, 2014Little Gidding’s Comedyby Daniel J. Heisey
More than forty years ago Russell Kirk wrote Eliot and His Age, and in it he argued that future literary historians will see the twentieth century as the Age of Eliot, since “what Dante was to the fourteenth century, or Shakespeare to the sixteenth, Eliot became to the twentieth century.” Recipient of the Nobel Prize and the Order of Merit, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) still has his ardent admirers, but the jury remains out on whether he dominated an era and will have his name attached to it.
For example, despite occasional revivals of Murder in the Cathedral or The Family Reunion, Eliot’s verse dramas might not endure as long as Shakespeare’s. Meanwhile, Eliot’s other poems tend to feature in high school and college reading lists. Eliot himself said that the world of poetry divides between Dante and Shakespeare, and Dante especially holds the key to understanding some of Eliot’s poems.» Continue Reading
September 25th, 2014Good News from Aquinas Collegeby Joseph Pearce
I’m heartened by a news report, just published in Catholic Education Daily, which shows the success of Aquinas College in Nashville in providing a top-quality education. As readers of the Ink Desk might know, I was appointed as Director of the Aquinas College Center for Faith and Culture in July and it is from my office in Nashville that I now write. It’s good to be part of such a dynamic Catholic college. Here’s the link to the article, which also provides information about other Catholic colleges who are performing well:» Continue Reading
September 24th, 2014New Signs of EU Meltdownby Joseph Pearce
One of the most encouraging trends in global politics in the past few years has been the rise of euro-skepticism, the term applied to those resisting the undemocratic tyranny of the European Union. I was in London when the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) shook the corrupt political establishment in Britain to its foundations by winning the country’s European Election. It was a political earthquake which caused my heart to leap with seismic abandon! The same resistance to Euro-Tyranny has swept through other parts of Europe, even those parts of the so-called Euro-Zone which were considered the very core of its power. The Front National, under the charismatic leadership of Marine Le Pen, is now leading the polls in France with its demands for the restoration of the French Franc and the abandonment of the Euro. Now, in recent elections, there has been a similar upsurge in Euro-Skepticism in Germany, traditionally the most pro-EU of all the nations in the Euro-Tyranny. It can only be hoped that this is the beginning of the end for the multinational monolith at the darkened and decaying heart of Europe.
For more details about the German uprising against the Euro, click here:» Continue Reading
September 24th, 2014Ralph Fiennes on Playing A Holocaust Perpetratorby Brendan D. King
For the last several weeks, I have been writing an article about Nazi Germany for a Catholic magazine editor who shall remain nameless. In the process, I have often reflected on the following interview with actor Ralph Fiennes, in which he reflects on his performance as SS Captain Amon Goeth in Stephen Spielberg's "Schindler's List."» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014G. K. Chesterton and T. S. Eliot: Friends or Enemies?by Joseph Pearce
Following the controversy caused by my earlier article on modern art, not least of which was the suggestion that T. S. Eliot held Chesterton in evident contempt, I thought I’d write an article on the enmity between GKC and TSE – and, more importantly, the friendship:» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014An Interview on the Ignatius Critical Editionsby Joseph Pearce
My absence from the Ink Desk is a consequence of my current heavy travel schedule. Last weekend I was in Fort Collins, Colorado, giving a number of talks and teaching a class on the Catholicism of Tolkien’s work. I’m currently in Nashville, TN, teaching at Aquinas College. This week we’re studying Hopkins’ “The Wreck of the Deutschland” and Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. This weekend I’m speaking at Chesterton conferences in Buffalo and Rochester NY. It’s an exhausting but exhilarating time!
Last week, during the calm before the storm, I gave an interview with a British Catholic website on the Ignatius Critical Editions, of which I am the series editor. Here’s the link to the interview: http://catholicwriters.co.uk/the-arts/ignatius-critical-editions/» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014How I Found Religion - or - How Religion Found Meby Kevin O'Brien
Rod Dreher is asking for readers to submit stories on "How I Found Religion". Since today happens to be an anniversary date for me in that regard, I posted the following ...» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014The Fellowship of the Rings vs. John Cleese?by Brendan D. King
I must say, Peter Jackson's travestied trilogy works well with this alteration...» Continue Reading
September 21st, 2014How Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” Movies Should Have Endedby Brendan D. King
With Apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas, and the Writers of Robot Chicken.» Continue Reading
September 17th, 2014J.R.R. Tolkien on Scottish (and Welsh) independenceby Brendan D. King
To Simonne d'Ardenne.
March 13, 1936.
"The political situation is dreadful... I have the greatest sympathy with Belgium -- which is about the right size of any country! I wish my own were bounded still by the seas of the Tweed and the walls of Wales... we folk do at least know something of mortality and eternity and when Hitler (or a Frenchman) says 'Germany (or France) must live forever' we know that he lies."
From "The Tolkien Family Album," page 69.» Continue Reading
September 17th, 2014The Law of Loveby Kevin O'Brien
I am always surprised at how most people, and probably most Christians, think of God's Commandments and of all morality as arbitrary. This is why they think "gay marriage" can exist. We moderns think all law is man made, all rules and regulations are simply pulled out of our hats, and subject to the whims of culture and passing fancy. That the Moral Law is like the law of gravity - something inherent in nature, something discovered and not invented - is beyond the ken of most folk walking among us. In their eyes, law, like the rules of baseball, is simply conventional - something we concoct and then agree on as a group that allows us to play the game, whatever that game might be.» Continue Reading