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.

  • January 22nd, 2015Tolkien on Mortality, Myth and Moreby Kevin O'Brien

    Here are some clips of an excellent special recently aired by EWTN, in which I portray J. R. R. Tolkien, and in which author Joseph Pearce describes the Catholic elements of The Lord of the Rings.  Everything I say as Tolkien are word-for-word quotations from his writings.  The special also features artwork by Jef Murray.  As you can see, this was a very well produced program, and is well worth the $10 EWTN is selling the DVDs for.

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  • January 20th, 2015Solzhenitsyn: Triumph of the Christian Willby Joseph Pearce

    I'm honoured to have been quoted today in an excellent article about Solzhenitsyn on the Investor's Business Daily's website:

    http://news.investors.com/management-leaders-in-success/012015-735309-alexander-solzhenitsyns-exposed-ussrs-prison-camps.htm?p=full

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  • January 19th, 2015Catholic Daughters on Catholic Giantsby Joseph Pearce

    I was pleased to see a review of my book Catholic Literary Giants in Share, the magazine of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas:

    http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/mercury/CDA_Share_Winter_2014-15/#/38

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  • January 19th, 2015Eucatastrophe and The Hobbitby Joseph Pearce

    Having recently discovered a wonderful and wonder-filled new website, eucastrophe.com, I was especially gratified to discover that one of my own videos promoting the Catholic Course on The Hobbit has been uploaded to the site:

    http://www.eucatastrophe.com/?p=1133

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  • January 19th, 2015The Best of Ratzingerby Joseph Pearce

    Continuing my custom of sharing correspondence with my current and former students with visitors to the Ink Desk, here's the reply to a student asking for advice on which three books by Ratzinger (prior to his election as pope) I would recommend for special focus.

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  • January 19th, 2015Is Beauty Sacramental?by Joseph Pearce

    A former student of mine is currently embarked on a research project on the topic of "sacramental beauty". She sent me some questions related to her topic which are published here, together with my response.

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  • January 19th, 2015Chesterton and the Power of Paradoxby Joseph Pearce

    Why does Christ say that we must be child-like and St. Paul say that we have to cease being childish? Why are Bilbo and Frodo childlike? Why is Dorian Gray childish? And what did Chesterton have to say about the difference between the childlike and the childish? These questions are asked and hopefully answered in my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/01/chesterton-power-paradox.html

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  • January 19th, 2015Understanding Islamic Voluntarismby Bruce Fingerhut

    I am fully convinced that Fr. James Schall is the man possessed of the clearest mind in Christendom. Whether he writes on political theory or basketball, he is bound to offer new insights that will provide something new to the reader, whether that person is an expert or a novice. The only other person I’ve ever read who was able to do that was C.S. Lewis.

    In the short piece below, Fr. Schall brushes away the mist, the mystery, and the misstatements involving whatever everybody but our President calls Islamic terrorism. It may well be the most important short article you will read this year.

    The text of the piece is found at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/lessons_from_paris

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  • January 17th, 2015Mammon or Mohammed?by Joseph Pearce

    An article in the Wall Street Journal offers a doom-laden picture of the demise of Europe in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack: 

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-immigration-and-islam-europes-crisis-of-faith-1421450060

    Given the choice between secular fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism the only sensible solution is to echo the words of Shakespeare's Mercutio: "a plague on both their houses!" If, however, we wish to be more positive in our response to the World and to Heresy, we should do what Christ commands and evangelize the heathens! Mammon and Mohammed are the problem. Christ and the Church are the solution. 

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  • January 16th, 2015Vesselsby Dena Hunt

    I have always been fascinated by vessels. Containers that enclose…something. Not vases or open things, but vessels. In the fifties, there was a pop song that stayed on the charts forever—what was behind the “Green Door”? If the door were open, there would be no song, no mystery, no magic.

    Small boxes, wooden, maybe, like the one on the table next to me now that contains a rosary. Beautiful boxes, painted china, that rest on dressers and contain a lady’s wedding ring. Faberge eggs or “Brown paper packages tied up with string” that may contain—who knows what treasure? And there are few things more thrilling to a child’s eyes than a Christmas tree with piles of beautiful presents underneath, wrapped in colorful paper and tied with beautiful ribbons and bows. We have email nowadays and are deprived of looked-for letters from those we love, arriving in sealed envelopes, perhaps marked “swak.” Letters are a real loss, I believe. And books. Opened, they reveal vast universes of treasure.

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  • January 16th, 2015Siegfried Sassoon versus Wilfred Owenby Joseph Pearce

    A friend has just sent me a link to one of the finest and darkest war poems ever written, “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen: http://www.englishverse.com/poems/disabled

    “I can't get enough of this poem,” my friend writes, “a sense of loss, probably for a lost cause. But bravery anyway. Once cheered on by the crowd but now abandoned  in his misery. Golgotha. Oremus.”

    Here is my reply, comparing Owen’s brilliant poem with a poem by Siegfried Sassoon:

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  • January 16th, 2015The Gutter of Man and the Grandeur of Godby Joseph Pearce

    What’s the connection between gratitude and grandeur, humility and hubris, and the gutter and the stars? Read on and find out:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/01/gutter-man-grandeur-god.html

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  • January 15th, 2015‘Shouting Through The Water’: A Story of Strength in Weaknessby Michael Lichens

    Benjamin Mann, whose poetry will appear in the pages of StAR later this year, gives an introduction about his poetic gift and how his unusual style was developed by his personal and generational experience and struggles. It's well worth reading, as are any of his fine articles at Catholic Exchange. You can read it here.

    CONGRATULATIONS

    TO A NEW LOST GENERATION,

    WELCOME TO A NEW WAR

    YOU DON’T RECALL VOLUNTEERING FOR –

    BUT NOW IT’S TIME TO GO, GET UP

    AND GET YOURSELF TOGETHER

    OUT OF FRAGMENTS YOU’VE ASSEMBLED

    UNDERNEATH THE SHEET METAL

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  • January 14th, 2015Heart Speaks to Heart - with Miraculous Graceby Kevin O'Brien

    I've known Deacon Jack Sullivan for many years.  I got together with him again this past weekend, and he left with me a document that I'll be quoting from.  It's an account of his miraculous healing ...

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  • January 14th, 2015A Life of Leisure is a Civilized Lifeby Joseph Pearce

    I was struck by this very good article on the importance of leisure, properly understood and properly practiced. Read on, at your leisure!

    http://www.classicalchristianahomeschool.com/blog/the-danger-of-a-leisure-less-life

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  • January 14th, 2015The Best of Ignatius Pressby Joseph Pearce

    I’ve been asked by Ignatius Press to list six of its titles that I consider to be my own personal favourites and which I would recommend to others. Considering how many wonderful books Ignatius has published over the years, it was not an easy task. Indeed I am haunted by many significant sins of omission. In any event, here are the six titles that I selected with my brief reasons for choosing thus.

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  • January 14th, 2015King Lear Learns to Loveby Joseph Pearce

    This morning I had the great pleasure of watching a delightful production of Twelfth Night on the campus of Belmont University, here in Nashville. This afternoon, I had the pleasure of reading this excellent article onKing Lear:

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/seeing-love-reflection-king-lear

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  • January 13th, 2015My Eurekas Spring Forthby Kevin O'Brien

    I am writing this late at night in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, one of the most charming and bizarre places on Earth.  And so I pass along a few observations, which may or may not be "eureka!" worthy ...
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  • January 13th, 2015Chesterton in Tennesseeby Joseph Pearce

    This week finds me back in Tennessee at Aquinas College in Nashville. I have lots of exciting activities planned, not least of which is my first public speaking engagement of 2015. This Thursday evening I am speaking at New College in Franklin on “G. K. Chesterton: Champion of Orthodoxy”. I hope that any Chestertonians in central Tennessee will try to attend. My own talk is a curtain-raiser for Chuck Chalberg’s one-man Chesterton show (as seen on EWTN) which we’re bringing to the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College on February 24th.

    This week, on my calendar, is dinner with Catholic composer, Michael Kurek, of Vanderbilt University, who, amongst his many other achievements, has composed a ballet of Macbeth.  Continuing with the Shakespearean dimension of this week’s activities, I’m going to see the Nashville Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night. I’m also guest-teaching a class on Tolkien at Belmont University for which I’m honoured to say that my book Tolkien: Man & Myth is being used as a set text. Life is good!

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  • January 13th, 2015Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Consul”by Daniel J. Heisey

    Sixty-five years ago premiered The Consul, an English-language opera in three acts.  It won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1950, enhancing the growing reputation of its young composer and librettist, Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007).  A performance for television in 1960 is available on DVD.  That version recreated the original production, and Patricia Neway brilliantly reprised her role as Magda Sorel, the central figure in the opera.  Central, that is, unless one counts the looming presence of the never seen and unnamed Consul.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?