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 23rd, 2015Comments on the StARby Joseph PearceI recently received the following comments on the latest issue of StAR from Fr. Peter Milward, SJ. » Continue Reading
March 23rd, 2015Anger is an Enemyby Joseph Pearce
What does Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols have in common with Christ in the Temple? All is revealed in my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative:» Continue Reading
March 22nd, 2015And Furthermore…by Dena HuntJoseph’s recent post (“What is Catholic Literature?”) is succinct. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I’ve found that the singular characteristic of truth is that it’s simple, and it’s usually brief. Things that call themselves “complex” or “it’s complicated” are generally obfuscations, camouflaged avoidances or distractions. There are a few quotes I’m going to lift from his post and comment on in a furthermore fashion. » Continue Reading
March 20th, 2015What is Catholic Literature?by Joseph Pearce
I’ve just responded to some questions on the meaning and essence of Catholic literature asked to me by a student at Benedictine College. Here are the questions and my answers:
Who, in your experience, is the best example of a truly Catholic author? » Continue Reading
March 20th, 2015Brides of Christ, Martyrs for Russiaby Brendan D. KingIn her essay "The Church and the Fiction Writer", Flannery O'Connor expressed disgust at the pious cliches which then masqueraded as Catholic literature during the 1950's. Rather than take joy in fully formed characters with mixed flaws and virtues, Catholic readers preferred the simplistic, the sentimental, and the shallow. This problem is not only confined to Catholic fiction. » Continue Reading
March 19th, 2015Why America is Flounderingby Joseph Pearce
The indomitable Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, has written a simply brilliant article in today’s Crisis Magazine. As with all great articles, all further comment would be superfluous. I will, therefore, simply point you to the link and keep a respectful silence:» Continue Reading
March 18th, 2015Savagery Silver-Giltby Daniel J. Heisey
Some actors seem to define a role for all time, so that few people can imagine Thomas More as anyone but Paul Scofield or T. E Lawrence as anyone other than Peter O’Toole. So, too, Allan Quatermain will always be Stewart Granger, tall and handsome and clean-shaven. However, Quatermain is much the opposite, bearded and described, for example, in the brief tale “Hunter Quatermain’s Story,” as a “curious-looking little lame man” who has “short grizzled hair, which stood about an inch above his head like the bristles of a brush.”
That description was most closely depicted on film in 1937 by Cedric Hardwicke, but it is the 1950 interpretation by Granger that determines how most people think of this fictional hero. Portrayals by Richard Chamberlain and Patrick Swayze scarcely bear mentioning, while Sean Connery, as he can with any role, conveyed Quatermain’s shrewdness and grit.
March 18th, 2015When Tolkien Met Danteby Brendan D. KingAbout a year ago, while reading Dorothy Sayers' translation of "The Divine Comedy" aloud to a terminally ill friend, I was struck by the behavioral similarities between the demons in Dante's "Inferno" and the Orcs in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". Both share a viciousness toward their prisoners, both have to be forced to follow the orders of senior ranks, and both are just as prone to attack each other when no one else is within reach. The parallels were so similar that it seemed impossible for them to be mere coincidence. » Continue Reading
March 18th, 2015Unlocking the Catholicism of “The Lord of the Rings”by Joseph Pearce
Joseph Pearce To Discuss Lord Of The Rings At Christendom: Renowned author, speaker, and professor Joseph Pearce will deliver a lecture titled “Unlocking the Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings” to the Christendom College community on March 30 at 7: 00 p. m. in St. Lawrence Commons. Launching the college’s Major Speakers Program for the spring semester, the talk is open to the public.» Continue Reading
March 18th, 2015The Mysterious Virtue of Detachmentby Kevin O'Brien
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Mat. 10:37)These words of Jesus are about what the Church calls Detachment.
» Continue Reading
March 13th, 2015Podcast on the Catholic Literary Giantsby Joseph Pearce
A few weeks ago I did a taped interview on my book Catholic Literary Giants with Pete Socks, the “Catholic Book Blogger”. In the half hour interview we discussed many of the giants of the Catholic Revival, including especially Tolkien and Lewis. Here’s the link to the recently uploaded podcast:» Continue Reading
March 5th, 2015The Witness of Whittaker Chambersby Kevin Kennelly
In the 20th century, one of the turning points in the battle between the west and communism was the publication of Whittaker Chambers’ epic, Witness. Chambers was an odd sort ....a journalist who turned from communism as he discovered faith ...... but he was , in the end, a giant of man . He wrote: “Economics is not the central problem of this century. It is a relative problem which can be solved in relative ways. Faith is the central problem of our age.” The famed Father C J McCloskey ......delightful as always…...has written eloquently of Chambers and his epochal achievement in his recent article “A Man And A Book That Will Never Go Away.”» Continue Reading
February 27th, 2015A Johnny Cash Lentby Michael Lichens
I'm over at The Catholic Gentleman today talking about Lent, Johnny Cash, and St. Augustine. It's just how I roll.
If I could go back eleven years ago and talk to my younger self I’d give a lot of advice; “See a therapist, don’t stop taking your medication, and try to go for a walk once-in-a-while.” However, I think I’d more likely tell my young, idiot self, the wisdom of The Man in Black, “It takes a real man to live for God—a lot more man than to live for the devil.”» Continue Reading
February 26th, 2015Why Science Needs the Humanitiesby Joseph Pearce
Further to my most recent article for the Imaginative Conservative (What is Science?), in which I argued that true science (scientia) includes theology, philosophy, literature and history and the other liberal sciences (or arts), I was pleased to see this article in the Washington Post by a scientist who seems to essentially agree with such an understanding:» Continue Reading
February 26th, 2015The Conversion of Jane Austen’s Emmaby Joseph Pearce
I very much enjoyed this article on the Christian vision of Jane Austen and thought that visitors to the Ink Desk would enjoy it too:» Continue Reading
February 23rd, 2015Treason: Now on Audibleby Michael Lichens
Many of you may have already read StAR contributor Dena Hunt's Treason. For those who have not, it is now available as an audio book through Audible. As a subscriber, this now allows me to listen/read it a second time. You can buy the audio book at Amazon or Audible.
As well, if you prefer the paperback, it is on sale at a special price through Sophia Institute Press.» Continue Reading
February 22nd, 2015A Little Lenten Storyby Dena Hunt
It’s about excess and about privation.
Today, some acquaintances and I went to another town to visit a priest who used to be in our parish, one we admired and loved. I’d had difficulty making petsitter arrangements and commented on that recurring problem.
“Dogs?” scoffed an elderly lady, widowed twice. “I don’t want any dogs, no pets, no responsibilities.” Understandable. She’s blessed with family and friends who love her a great deal, but at this point, being able to go anywhere anytime at will is what’s most important to her. I’ve seen this attitude in other elderly friends. It’s especially understandable if a mate suffered a long illness before passing, but even if that’s not the case, just having raised, more or less successfully, a number of children is cause for feeling that one deserves freedom from perceived “responsibility.” They’ve had excess of a kind and are more than ready for a little privation.» Continue Reading
February 22nd, 2015How to Readby Dena Hunt
Joseph’s post (“How to Read Great Literature,” Feb. 15) reminded me of a mini-lecture I used to deliver to students at the beginning of Intro Lit, a course that met the humanities requirement of many students who were not English or Humanities majors. How does one wade through and comprehend literary texts when one hates reading even modern fast-paced thrillers? How does one find a purpose sufficient for motivation when one’s only real purpose is to somehow get through this course with a decent grade? Most of them were science/technology or business majors. I summarized Donald Hall’s classic “Four Ways to Read,” adding a twist by linking it to intellectual development.» Continue Reading
February 19th, 2015Pilgrim Journalby Dena Hunt
The intrepid young Bronwen McShea, Columbia history professor, has just notified me that a new Lenten edition of her online journal is up. If you have not yet visited PILGRIM: A Journal of Catholic Experience, you’re in for an enriching and perhaps surprising experience of excellent art, essays, poetry, and fiction:» Continue Reading
February 19th, 2015Hope in the Ashesby Joseph Pearce
I am gratified and humbled by the people with whom I am blessed to work at the St. Austin Review. Since StAR's official launch, four days before 9/11, I have been joined by a noble band of brothers and sisters in our shared labour of love to bring the evangelizing power of beauty to a world in desperate need of the presence of the Divine. Today I am especially honoured to highlight the work being done by StAR columnist, Fr. Benedict Kiely, to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. Here's a link to a recent news report on the charity that he's launched:» Continue Reading