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 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: 


    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:


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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.









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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!


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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:


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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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  • January 10th, 2015Inside Out - Actors and Catholicsby Kevin O'Brien

    I have known some actors who have an extrinsic view of their careers.  In other words, they see their success in show business as a kind of thing an actor acquires, an adornment, a sort of garment to be put on - and they seek with tireless energy the luck that will throw them that garment.

    Others focus on the love they have for their craft and on doing good work and figuring out a way to make a living doing what they love.  The difference between the two is the difference between a man who marries a woman because he likes how she looks when he parades her in public and a man who marries a woman because he loves her and would do anything for her.  If, in the latter case, she happens to look good on a date, that's a bonus, but it's not the heart of the matter.

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  • January 10th, 2015Holy Motherhoodby Joseph Pearce

    A few months ago I was honoured to be asked to write the foreword to a book celebrating the life of Rosie Gil, a woman who epitomized the path to sanctity to be found in the openness to life. A pioneer of Catholic homeschooling, Rosie Gil's devotion to her faith and family is truly inspiring. 

    The book is now available: www.seeyouinheavenbook.com

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  • January 7th, 2015Africa’s Catholic momentby Kevin Kennelly

    Why do we have a hard time accepting that the poor are more likely to accept  Christianity (and remain faithful) than the rich, the beautiful, the self satisfied.  This thought is nothing if not well documented in the New Testament and verified by history. Ireland was poor but Catholic; Ireland is rich but not Catholic. As the first world shamefully sheds its beliefs, the faith thrives in Africa. In my hometown , we have several OUTSTANDING African priests ......missionaries , I suppose, to a flagging culture. Mr. George Weigel Africa's Catholic Moment on this subject is well worth reading.


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  • January 7th, 2015The Politics of Tolkienby Joseph Pearce

    Years ago, I had the honor of writing the foreword to Bradley J. Birzer's excellent book, J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth. Today I have the pleasure of posting a truly excellent article by Dr. Birzer on Tolkien's politics:


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  • January 6th, 2015Pope Pius XII on Stalinism and Other Evilsby Brendan D. King

    Pope Pius XII to "an enormous crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square" to protest the show trial of Cardinal Mindszenty, February 20, 1949.

    Excerpted from "His Humble Servant: Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert's Memoirs of Her Years of Service to Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII". Page 150.

    "Do you want a Church that remains silent when She should speak; that diminishes the law of God where she is called to proclaim it loudly, wanting to accommodate it to the will of man? Do you want a Church that departs from the unshakable foundations upon which Christ founded Her, taking the easy way of adapting Herself to the opinion of the day; a Church that is a prey to current trends; a Church that does not condemn the suppression of conscience and does not stand up for the just liberty of the people; a Church that locks Herself up within the four walls of Her temple in unseemly sycophancy, forgetting the divine mission received from Christ: 'Go out the crossroads and preach the people'? Beloved sons and daughters! Spiritual heirs of numberless confessors and martyrs! Is this the Church you venerate and love? Would you recognize in such a Church the features of your Mother? Would you be able to imagine a Successor of St. Peter submitting to such demands?"

    In reply to the Holy Father came a single cry like thunder still ringing in our ears: "No!"

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  • January 6th, 2015The Theology of the Bawdyby Joseph Pearce

    I enjoy the literary musings of Sean Fitzpatrick and his latest piece on "The Theology of the Bawdy" is particularly good:


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  • January 5th, 2015Absolute Comfort Corrupts Absolutelyby Joseph Pearce

    My latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative makes the unlikely connection between Homer and Pink Floyd to show that comfort is the great corrupter:


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What are your thoughts on the subject?