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 25th, 2014A Lenten Meditationby Dena Hunt

    There is in Catholicism a doctrine, tradition, a “teaching.”  God sends us suffering, crosses. We each have our cross, and we are not only to accept our cross, but to embrace it. By the standards of modern psychology, or even by the standards of reason, that’s a very unhealthy attitude. By those standards, we should rail against suffering, overcome it, conquer it. If there’s a problem—solve it. If there’s pain or disease, or deprivation, find a remedy—cure it. It’s when we can’t solve it, cure it, overcome it, that modern psychology counsels us to find a way to accept it and make peace with it somehow, usually by looking at the other parts of our lives and finding some respite or fulfillment there. Vagueness here is necessary, for our crosses are as individual, as customized as DNA.

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  • March 24th, 2014Defending Pius XIIby Joseph Pearce

    Here's Gary Krupp's excellent defence of the great pope, Pius XII, in a recent interview with Raymond Arroyo:
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  • March 24th, 2014Tea with Chesterton and Henry Jamesby Joseph Pearce

    My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative grapples with notions of America from a European perspective. It culminates with an amusing tea party in which a chat between Chesterton and Henry James is gatecrashed by Belloc bellowing for bacon and beer. Read on:

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  • March 24th, 2014The Hound of Heaven Revisitedby Joseph Pearce

    In early January I traveled to England with a film crew to film a documentary on the life and legacy of Francis Thompson. The documentary is part of a multimedia project by Emblem Media to present Thompson's classic poem, "The Hound of Heaven", in various forms. The first of these to be released is "The Hound of Heaven: A Modern Adaptation", an animated and dramatic presentation of a modern interpretation of the poem. Inspired by one of the masterpieces of English poetry, it is a significant work of art in its own right. Here's the link:

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  • March 24th, 2014The Church Tells Us What the World Won’t: Eros is Deadlyby Kevin O'Brien

    Thomas Mann's Death in Venice is about a guy who's got a problem.
    He's got a thing for little boys. 
    And slowly but surely his perversion ruins him - eats away at him from the inside like a cancer.  It's one of those intellectual novels of despair and effete ennui, but it tells the truth of concupiscence in a way that it probably doesn't intend to and in a way that's hard to forget.  It's almost a fictional version of the story of Oscar Wilde - who learns, like the protagonist of Mann's tale, that our Eros is not always to be trusted - our desires are not to be deified. 
    But why is this?

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  • March 23rd, 2014Radical Christianityby Kevin O'Brien

    Every now and then, Catholic sites on the internet rise above petty squabbles and inside-the-Roman-beltway gossip and, seemingly out of nowhere, prophecy pours forth. 

    Take, for example, an October 2012  post by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.  Fr. Dwight for some reason

    shared some excerpts from this post on Facebook today, even though the original was published 18 months ago.

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  • March 21st, 2014Reviling Russiaby Joseph Pearce

    Why are the left and right united in their hatred of Russia? Why is Putin treated as though he were the new Stalin or Hitler? What's the real issue in the Crimea? These questions, and others, are discussed in an interview I've given to the National Catholic Register:


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  • March 21st, 2014Tolkien’s Beowulfby Joseph Pearce

    Exciting news just received. Tolkien's long awaited translation of Beowulf is finally being published. It will be available for purchase in May, almost ninety years after the Master of Middle-earth finished it.

    Here's the link to the news story:


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  • March 20th, 2014Death of a Living Martyrby Joseph Pearce

    Martyrdom normally means being put to death for the Faith. Sometimes, however, the persecution faced by Catholics throughout the whole of their lives constitutes what might be termed a living martyrdom. Such was the living martyrdom of Bishop Fan, who has recently passed away, after a life of suffering at the hands of China's communist regime. Here's his obituary:


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  • March 19th, 2014Crimes Against the Humanitiesby Joseph Pearce

    What do T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Evelyn Waugh and Hilaire Belloc have in common? Well, amongst other things, they warn us against the hollow men and the waste land of modernity. Read of their role in exposing the hollowness and waste of modernity in "Crimes Against the Humanities", my latest article for The Imaginative Conservative:

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  • March 19th, 2014Tolkien and Womenby Dena Hunt

    Many years ago, at the height of my infatuation with Tolkien, I participated in a forum of discussion on things Tolkienian, but especially on the films, which had just been released.

    All this sort of thing was new to me. I’d never been a “fan” of any kind before, and unaware at the time that I wasn’t really a “fan” of Tolkien as my fellow participants in the discussion could legitimately claim to be, I was surprised by remarks I perceived as profoundly superficial.

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  • March 19th, 201425 Years - In Thanksgivingby Joseph Pearce

    On this day, the Feast of St. Joseph, twenty-five years ago, I was received into the Mystical Body of Christ. Thus today I celebrate a quarter of a century as a Catholic. 

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  • March 19th, 2014Back to Barchesterby Daniel J. Heisey

    Last night I dreamt I went back to Barchester.  In the moonlight beneath the towers of the cathedral I was aware that the old bishop lay dying.  As the old man slowly sighed away, gently leaving this life just as, to use Cicero’s comparison, a ripe fruit falls from the tree, his son sought to influence the Prime Minister regarding the appointment of the next bishop.

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  • March 18th, 2014The Rules of Engagementby Kevin O'Brien

    Some friends and I have been discussing the implications of Tolkien's advice to his son on sex, which I posted about yesterday here and here.  The subject of chivalry has come up.  I write ...

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  • March 17th, 2014Our Father Who Art ... Here!by Kevin O'Brien

    Just today I wrote Tolkien, Sex and the Central Challenge of the Church - which is about JRR Tolkien's view of the dangers of sex.  Just two days ago I wrote Our Father Who Art ... Where?, which is about the absence of fathers and fathering both in our culture and in the Church.

    It strikes me that today's Tolkien piece is an exact illustration of why I wrote the Missing Father piece.

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  • March 17th, 2014Tolkien, Sex and the Central Challenge of the Churchby Kevin O'Brien

    Elsewhere at the Ink Desk, Josseph Pearce has linked to this article - From Father to Son: JRR Tolkien on Sex.

    It's fascinating stuff.  Here's a sample (my emphasis) ...

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  • March 17th, 2014But Where’s St. Patrick?by Joseph Pearce

    I have much to celebrate on St. Patrick's Day. It is my son's birthday. He's twelve today. It's also my mother's birthday. She would have been 75 today. Sadly she passed away five years ago. We also have enough Irish in our family to make it special. My maternal grandmother hailed from County Galway and my mother-in-law is from County Tyrone. As I write, we have life-size leprechauns adorning our home and shamrocks plastered all over the place - to say nothing of the host of green balloons.

    In our home, at least, we will not only celebrate Ireland and Irishness but also the great patron saint of that most enigmatic of Isles. It is, first and foremost, his day. With this in mind, I was intrigued by this article about the exclusion of St. Paddy from Paddy's Day in today's International Business Times:

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  • March 17th, 2014Racing with the Devil, Looking at the Starsby Joseph Pearce

    Here's a review of my book, Race with the Devil, and an interview that I gave about the power of beauty in my own conversion, both published in North Texas Catholic:

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  • March 16th, 2014For Catholic Writers (and others)by Dena Hunt

    Not too very long ago, Joseph posted a link to the First Things website and an article by Dana Gioia, “The Catholic Writer.” I followed the link and found the article substantial, comprehensive, and actually quite definitive of the peculiar situation, and the cultural context of that situation in which today’s Catholic writers find themselves. Authoritative prognosis and prescription are included. Consequently, I made a follow-up post on the subject. Now, Wiseblood Books, a new, young, Catholic publishing company, has published the essay in its entirety in a booklet form. (Apparently, we were not the only ones impressed by the essay.) For both writers and readers, and anyone else who may be interested, the paperbound 33-page booklet is available for a mere $5 from Wiseblood Books. For all those who complain, lament, bemoan, or just regret, it should be required reading.

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  • March 16th, 2014Our Father Who Art ... Where?by Kevin O'Brien

    Mindy (not her real name) was one of my actresses.  She turned 30 and panicked.  She paid thousands of dollars to a dating service and began hyper-dating, a lunch date and a dinner date every day with a different guy for several weeks straight.
    Finally she settled on a guy who proposed to her.  Disaster was written all over the relationship.  He was strange and very controlling of her.  She invited me to her wedding.
    I wrote her and told her that I could not come to her wedding because I did not think she was making a wise choice in marrying this guy.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?