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 1st, 2015A Literary Pilgrimage with Ralph C. Woodby Joseph Pearce

    I've recently had the pleasure of reading the Christmas Letter of the great literary luminary and scholar, Ralph C. Wood, whose works I have admired for years. It contained details of such a joyous literary romp from the Deep South to the Mystic West (of Ireland) that I've sought and received his permission to share this part of his Letter with visitors to the Ink Desk:

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  • December 31st, 2014The Magical Thinking of Devout Catholicsby Kevin O'Brien

    There was a potential murder mystery client that I was hoping to land.  He had worked with every other murder mystery company around, and at that time there were three or four others in St. Louis.  They all told me the same thing, "The man is impossible to work for."  None of them lasted more than a few years performing at his venue. 

    "But I can do it!" I said to myself.  "They can't work with him, but I can work with him!  After all, I'm more intelligent and sensitive than they are.  I do well with difficult people.  I'll win him over, get him to like me.  I can succeed where all others failed!"

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  • December 31st, 2014I am concerned.by Dena Hunt

    The Pope of the Catholic Church is not infallible. The papacy is. I understand this distinction. Spelled out, it goes like this: When the Holy Father speaks on faith and morals, he is speaking with the authority of Jesus Christ. That’s the parameter of his infallible authority. When he speaks on faith and morals, I listen. I obey. When the pope speaks on politics, scientific theory, or any other subject, I listen, but I am free to disagree, to disregard, and to choose to listen to those persons who actually do have authority in these areas.  The pope does not.

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  • December 31st, 2014The Movie and the Meta-Movie: Reflections on “The Interview”by Kevin O'Brien

    People don't realize how important we are to freedom.  The first thing a totalitarian society suppresses is its comedians. - Groucho Marx

    John Lennon said something similar, which was that nobody would ever take him seriously enough to try to assassinate him the way they assassinate politicians, because he and Yoko were just fools - just comedians.  Of course, this was before he was assassinated.

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  • December 31st, 2014Physical Disabilities and the Origins of the Cosmosby Joseph Pearce

    I sent the article about the origins of the cosmos, which I posted to the Ink Desk earlier today, to an atheist friend of mine in England. His response was good and enlightening. I was particularly touched by this paragraph, full of the humility that is sadly lacking from so many advocates of scientism:  

    We don't really know all that much. Our physics is known to be seriously incomplete. The theory of the Very Large (General Relativity) conflicts in serious respects with the theory of the Very Small (Quantum Physics), so one or both are definitely incorrect (this is not controversial). Also both Theories end up with 96% of the mass/energy in the Universe comprised of Unknown Stuff ("Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy"). A body of physical theory that can only explain 4% of the Universe and even then contradicts itself is no basis for hubristic bragging....

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  • December 31st, 2014Voegelin and the Two Waysby Kevin O'Brien

    I am in the midst of reading a number of excellent books, including several by Eric Voegelin, a brilliant writer, who has been recommended to me before.  Blog reader Marianne Bacon is the latest to suggest him - and I'm glad she did, as I've been devouring whatever ebooks I could find of his since last week.  He gives a name to the nameless heresy of our age, and writes profoundly about what I've been calling Unreality, and he analyzes it philosophically, psychologically and historically.

    I plan on writing about Voegelin at length and in detail soon.

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  • December 31st, 2014The Best of all Impossible Worldsby Joseph Pearce

    G. K. Chesterton once said that we don't live in the best of all possible worlds, we live in the best of all impossible worlds. As this article from the Wall Street Journal illustrates, it seems that science is finally beginning to agree with Chesterton: 

    In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.
    Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

    Read the rest here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/eric-metaxas-science-increasingly-makes-the-case-for-god-1419544568
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  • December 30th, 2014Is the Catholic Church Elitist?by Joseph Pearce

    I've just replied to an e-mail correspondent who seemed to be suggesting that the literary converts at the heart of the Catholic Revival were "upper class" and that "it is not surprising that so many of the upper classes of Europe were drawn to Catholicism with its rigid emphasis on the divine right of the hierarchy and natural inequalities between people".

      Here's my response:

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  • December 30th, 2014Big Hearted Big Businessby Joseph Pearce

    The pernicious secularism promoted by big business was epitomized for me during a visit to Walgreens on Christmas Eve. As I searched for the tinsel that my six-year-old had requested for the tree, I heard a commercial for flu shots to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Since the word "Christmas" is verboten in the language of modern big business, the singer in the commercial altered the words to remove the offensive language. If my memory serves me correctly, he sung words to the effect that "on the first day of the holidays" his true love had given him the flu. With this admittedly trivial effort by Walgreens to inoculate its customers against the harmful effects of Christmas ringing in my ears, I was heartened upon my return home to discover a wonderful commercial being shown in the UK this Christmas season for the supermarket chain, Sainsbury's. It takes as its theme the famous Christmas Truce in the trenches in 1914. It presents a profoundly Christian message and rekindled my faith in the ability of big business to be big hearted. 

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  • December 30th, 2014Christmas Musings by Sister Xby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received this wonderful e-mail from a religious sister whom I met on my recent travels. Whilst protecting her privacy, I thought I'd share her thoughts on Christmas, Aragorn, George MacDonald, Father Faber, the Rosary, and my own conversion: 

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  • December 30th, 2014A Note for Chestertoniansby Dena Hunt

    Father Robert Barron, the media genius responsible for the wonderful Catholicism series, is currently producing a new series entitled Catholicism: The Pivotal Players. In January, he will go to England to film an entire episode on G. K. Chesterton. Chestertonians might want to take note. Here’s an excerpt from an email mentioning his plan:

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  • December 23rd, 2014The Motto of Liberal Catholics: “Let’s Get the Green Beans Off the Buffet!”by Kevin O'Brien

    One of the readers of my latest post (It's Not the Abuse Crisis - It's the Neglect Crisis) somehow got it into his head that I was making the claim that only the liberals are to blame for the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church - which would be a pretty insane position for me to take.  Perhaps he hasn't read my criticisms of all of the so-called "conservative" bishops who have enabled abuse, such as Finn, Carlson, Niendstedt, Livieres, etc. 

    In fact, as everyone knows (but this lone reader),  the Abuse crisis cuts across the Big Divide.  If liberals could point to hung-up conservatives as abuse enablers, they would, except that conservatives can point to loosey-goosey liberals as abuse enablers.  The problem continues to be so wide-spread that every single type of bishop is guilty - and while some of the worst are from the right, some of the worst are also from the left.

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  • December 22nd, 2014Christmas in the Cradleby Joseph Pearce

    My good friend, Fr. Benedict Kiely, priest, Englishman and regular columnist with the St. Austin Review, was a guest last week on EWTN's The World Over with Raymond Arroyo. He was discussing his passionate mission to succour and support the persecuted Christians in the Middle-East, who have seen their lives in the cradle of Christian civilization transformed into a hellish existence in the cauldron of Islamist hatred. Here's the full ten-minute interview:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UvKI3A1HzI&app=desktop

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  • December 22nd, 2014No Room at the Inn: Celebrating in the Stableby Joseph Pearce

    My latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative has me musing on the spirit of Christmas:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/12/no-room-at-the-inn-celebrating-christmas-in-the-stable.html

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  • December 22nd, 2014It’s Not the Abuse Crisis - It’s the Neglect Crisisby Kevin O'Brien

    The Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church, horrible as it is, is simply the flip side of the Neglect Crisis in the Catholic Church.

    What do I mean?

    I mean that Neglect is a form of Abuse, and for the past fifty years, bishops, priests and lay Catholics have been neglecting the Faith, and the Vatican has accommodated this by neglecting the Neglect.  A predominantly homosexual clergy, covering and enabling a large number of child molesters, is simply one symptom of this Neglect.

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  • December 21st, 2014On the Duty of a Monarchby Brendan D. King

    Many years ago, my father asked my grandfather, Scottish immigrant Laurence Joseph King, about the abdication of the Duke of Windsor. My dad was then a teenager with Marxist ideas and considered it ridiculous that an abdication was insisted upon by the British Government. To Dad's shock, Grandpa Larry responded, "He could not be King because he would not do his duty." It took many years for my Dad to realize the wisdom of his father's words.

    I must say that I agree with my grandfather. It is very dangerous when the Crown rests upon the wrong head and my grandfather's words apply, not only to the Duke of Windsor, but to many other Royals from many nations and centuries. Queen Elizabeth I of England, Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary, and the last Shah of Iran definitely bear this out.

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  • December 21st, 2014The Radical Catholic: An Interview with Cardinal Burkeby Kevin Kennelly

    What to make of Cardinal Burke's steady opposition.....I do not think that too strong a word to use.....to the vector of Catholic belief and/or action being set by Francis? The good cardinal refers to having grown up in " a very beautiful time in the Church." If those days were beautiful than the present time is not ....one must conclude. One respondent writing about the interview says "Why aren't there hundreds of bishops in the church like Cardinal Burke? Why?" Not a bad question.

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  • December 19th, 2014God or Mammon? Preview of the Next Issue of the St. Austin Reviewby Joseph Pearce

    The January/February issue of the St. Austin Review is now winging its way to the printer.

    The theme of the next issue is “God or Mammon? Choosing Christ in a World in Crisis”.

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  • December 18th, 2014Tolkien on EWTNby Joseph Pearce

    The latest Tolkien special that I have written and presented for EWTN was aired this week. For those who missed it, or those who would like to see it again, it is now available on DVD: 

    http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/shop.axd/ProductDetails?edp_no=28883

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  • December 18th, 2014Elves, Hobbits, Men and DVDsby Kevin O'Brien

    There are two projects I've done with EWTN that, in my opinion, are the best things the Network has done, from a production and creative point of view.  The first is our Father Brown movie, The Honor of Israel Gow.  And the second is the show I mentioned the other day, Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings": Elves, Hobbits and Men.

    It turns out the latter is available on DVD from the religious catalog - for only ten bucks!  Well worth the price.  You can order it here.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?