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 24th, 2014New Signs of EU Meltdownby Joseph Pearce
One of the most encouraging trends in global politics in the past few years has been the rise of euro-skepticism, the term applied to those resisting the undemocratic tyranny of the European Union. I was in London when the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) shook the corrupt political establishment in Britain to its foundations by winning the country’s European Election. It was a political earthquake which caused my heart to leap with seismic abandon! The same resistance to Euro-Tyranny has swept through other parts of Europe, even those parts of the so-called Euro-Zone which were considered the very core of its power. The Front National, under the charismatic leadership of Marine Le Pen, is now leading the polls in France with its demands for the restoration of the French Franc and the abandonment of the Euro. Now, in recent elections, there has been a similar upsurge in Euro-Skepticism in Germany, traditionally the most pro-EU of all the nations in the Euro-Tyranny. It can only be hoped that this is the beginning of the end for the multinational monolith at the darkened and decaying heart of Europe.
For more details about the German uprising against the Euro, click here:» Continue Reading
September 24th, 2014Ralph Fiennes on Playing A Holocaust Perpetratorby Brendan D. King
For the last several weeks, I have been writing an article about Nazi Germany for a Catholic magazine editor who shall remain nameless. In the process, I have often reflected on the following interview with actor Ralph Fiennes, in which he reflects on his performance as SS Captain Amon Goeth in Stephen Spielberg's "Schindler's List."» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014G. K. Chesterton and T. S. Eliot: Friends or Enemies?by Joseph Pearce
Following the controversy caused by my earlier article on modern art, not least of which was the suggestion that T. S. Eliot held Chesterton in evident contempt, I thought I’d write an article on the enmity between GKC and TSE – and, more importantly, the friendship:» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014An Interview on the Ignatius Critical Editionsby Joseph Pearce
My absence from the Ink Desk is a consequence of my current heavy travel schedule. Last weekend I was in Fort Collins, Colorado, giving a number of talks and teaching a class on the Catholicism of Tolkien’s work. I’m currently in Nashville, TN, teaching at Aquinas College. This week we’re studying Hopkins’ “The Wreck of the Deutschland” and Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. This weekend I’m speaking at Chesterton conferences in Buffalo and Rochester NY. It’s an exhausting but exhilarating time!
Last week, during the calm before the storm, I gave an interview with a British Catholic website on the Ignatius Critical Editions, of which I am the series editor. Here’s the link to the interview: http://catholicwriters.co.uk/the-arts/ignatius-critical-editions/» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014How I Found Religion - or - How Religion Found Meby Kevin O'Brien
Rod Dreher is asking for readers to submit stories on "How I Found Religion". Since today happens to be an anniversary date for me in that regard, I posted the following ...» Continue Reading
September 23rd, 2014The Fellowship of the Rings vs. John Cleese?by Brendan D. King
I must say, Peter Jackson's travestied trilogy works well with this alteration...» Continue Reading
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