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.
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
September 17th, 2014Hilaire Belloc versus Graham Greeneby Joseph Pearce
I'd like to share an e-mail I've just received from someone who makes an intriguing comparison between Hilaire Belloc and Graham Greene. Here's the pertinent part of the e-mail; my response follows:
Reading your biography of Belloc, I found myself admiring Belloc immensely but not liking him much. There is an affability to Chesterton that made even his enemies melt. Belloc's confrontational style is off-putting. But the Chesterbelloc combination was certainly a force. I suspect each in his own and different way was used mightily by God.» Continue Reading
September 16th, 2014New Archaeological Find! The Third Epistle of Peter!!!by Kevin O'Brien
The New Testament contains two Epistles by St. Peter. A third one was recently discovered, but some are doubting its authenticity. It appears to have been written during Jesus active ministry ...» Continue Reading
September 15th, 2014Maurice Baring: In Need of a Modern Championby Joseph Pearce
I'm in receipt of an e-mail from a Spanish scholar seeking my advice with regard to Maurice Baring's suitability as the focus of his doctoral studies. Here's my response.» Continue Reading
September 14th, 2014Sense and Sensitivityby Joseph Pearce
If there's one subject on which it's difficult to have a rational discussion in these irrational times it's the thorny topic of same sex attraction. I know this from bitter experience because I was recently banned from speaking at a large secular university because I had written a book on Oscar Wilde which did not wholeheartedly endorse Wilde's desertion of his wife and children in pursuit of the homosexual lifestyle. Some things are sacrosanct, it seems, but not fidelity in marriage or the best interests of children.
One of the few places in which I have seen genuine sense and sensitivity on the subject of same sex attraction is in Dena Hunt's novel, The Lion's Heart. This being so, I was delighted to see this excellent and thoughtful appraisal of the novel's merits in the National Catholic Register:» Continue Reading
September 13th, 2014A Prophet New Inspir’dby Marie Dudzik
Francis Cardinal George of Chicago is credited with saying that he expects to die in his bed, his successor to die in prison, and his successor to die a martyr. In other words, the persecution of American Catholics is coming, and it’s a matter not of if, but of when. In a recent column in the Catholic New World, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George writes that “when” is “now”.
Cardinal George is in declining health, past the retirement age of 75, and in a position in which he has nothing to gain by clinging to the church of nice. In his column, “A Tale of Two Churches” he pits the Church founded by Christ against the religion of the current American establishment and states that the two are completely incompatible.» Continue Reading
September 11th, 2014The Lion’s Heart gains praise…by Dena Hunt
…from conservative National Catholic Register’s blogger, Sarah Reinhard. That’s especially gratifying in view of the novel’s controversial theme. It doesn’t just take courage to write certain things; it also takes courage to publish, and maybe still more, to praise:» Continue Reading
September 10th, 2014The One and the Many Againby Dena Hunt
This theme recurs again, and yet again. I’ve written several variations of it here, never in some kind of resolution mode, but only as an attempt to comprehend prevalent disharmony, injury to peace—external and internal, societal and individual. Certainly I want to avoid redundancy, but the theme seems to manifest so redundantly that it’s unavoidable and must be observed again, and yet again: All understanding, the necessary foundation of harmony, seems always to lie in the disruption of the relationship between genus and differentia—on so many levels: the individual person vs. marriage or family; tribes or races, ethnic cultures or religious affiliations vs. society at large or national identity. Never has subjective, emotional, response been more dangerous; if ever there was a time to rid ourselves of obfuscating anger and false sentiment, and try to see how the genus-differentia relationship works—indeed, how it must work—that time is now.» Continue Reading
September 8th, 2014Muslims and the Miasma of Multiculturalismby Joseph PearceMy latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative finds me embroiled in controversy on the thorny subjects of radical Islam and the crumbling edifice of multiculturalism:
September 7th, 2014Anton Bruckner’s Medieval Cityby Daniel J. Heisey
Listeners unimpressed by the music of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) complain that the composer did not write nine symphonies but one symphony nine times. More appreciative listeners compare those symphonies to Gothic cathedrals. Even an admirer of Bruckner’s work, though, must recognize that for some people, after a while one medieval cathedral looks much like another. Nevertheless, it can be a contemplative experience, taking one’s time pacing through one of those old cathedrals, and so it can be when entering into one of Bruckner’s vast symphonies.» Continue Reading
September 4th, 2014Father Soldierby Joseph Pearce
Fr. Leo Hetzler has been a good friend of mine for many years. A lifelong Chestertonian who attends the annual Chesterton conference in Rochester, New York, he is an inspiration to all who know him. An extremely learned literary scholar who did his doctoral dissertation on Chesterton shortly after his return from active service in World War Two, Fr. Hetzler has been an indomitable advocate of the good, the true and the beautiful. For those who have not had the honour and pleasure to have known this wonderful priest and scholar, I strongly recommend this video about his experience in Europe and the Far East during the War.» Continue Reading
September 4th, 2014Politics and Religionby Dena Hunt
People usually put these two subjects together in a phrase to identify the two subjects one should never discuss, lest argument ensue. Mailboxes have no such tender sensibilities, however, and this morning I had two forwards in my mail. One criticized Congress and concluded with a suggestion that we pass a law forbidding re-election unless the budget is balanced and the deficit is reduced. Trouble is, we would need Congress to pass that law—but never mind logic. The purpose of the email was only to vent, of course.» Continue Reading
September 3rd, 2014The Methodist in the Madnessby Joseph Pearce
The latest statistics coming from England suggest that the Methodist Church is shrivelling in size so dramatically that it resembles a shrinking iceberg crumbling into the secular sea.
It is the tried and tested fate of all the severed branches of Christendom. The madness in the "Method" leads to the Methodist in the madness! Only the True Church has the promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail. Be not afraid as John Paul II might say, but also be not surprised!» Continue Reading
September 1st, 2014Anonymous Saints: What is God About?by Kevin O'Brien
My friend Joe Grabowski sends along another example in my Anonymous Saints series.» Continue Reading
This is the story of a 99-year old woman who makes a new dress every day and donates it to a needy child in Africa.
Now, I can't help but think that my son, Colin O'Brien, who is an exact clone of me, will react to this post the way he reacted to my sharing this on Facebook ...
September 1st, 2014The Evangelizing Power of Beautyby Joseph Pearce
Last Thursday, during my first week at Aquinas College in Nashville, I gave the inaugural lecture of my tenure as Director of the Aquinas College Center for Faith and Culture. The title of my talk was "The Evangelizing Power of Beauty". Almost two hundred people attended. Here's the link to the recording of the talk:» Continue Reading
September 1st, 2014Modern Art and the Imaginative Conservativeby Joseph Pearce
My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative muses upon the meaning of modern art, discussing the impressionists, surrealists and abstract expressionists, and the works of Monet and Dali, as well as the music of Stravinsky and the poetry of Hopkins, Eliot and Sassoon. Here's the link:» Continue Reading
August 29th, 2014In Honor of Stratford Caldecottby Dena Hunt
Crisis magazine gives an in-depth review of a collection of essays honoring Stratford Caldecott. Especially for those who are devotees of this extraordinary man, here’s a link:» Continue Reading
August 29th, 2014The Real Desecration of Marriageby Kevin O'Brien
She was one of the presenters at a "Journey of Faith" class that my wife and I were taking, back when we were looking into becoming Episcopalians.» Continue Reading
She told the following story.