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.

  • June 10th, 2014More on My Visit to Spainby Joseph Pearce

    Another article about my recent visit to Spain has just been published in a Spanish website. Here's the link for Spanish speakers:

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  • June 9th, 2014On Reading Dracula (or Any Other Novel)by Joseph Pearce

    Continuing my recent practice of sharing my correspondence with visitors to the Ink Desk, I was intrigued to receive an e-mail from someone who is beginning to read Bram Stoker's Dracula for the first time. Being a wise and discerning reader, he had selected the Ignatius Critical Edition of the novel but wondered whether he should read the introduction before or after reading the novel. He was concerned that the introduction would contain spoilers which would take away the joy of surprise in plot twists, which is part of the pleasure of reading a work for the first time. Here's my reply:

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  • June 8th, 2014On the Lighter Sideby Dena Hunt

    For some light, entertaining reading, I want to recommend Don’t You Forget About Me, by Erin McCole-Cupp. The best part of the story is its protagonist, Mary Catherine Whelihan, aka Mary Cate Wheeler, children’s author. Under extreme pressure from her publisher, she returns to her Jersey roots and Our Lady of the Seven Dolors Elementary School for a reunion of the class of ’84 and a re-encounter with her overweight and very uncool childhood self. She also encounters murder, decades-old mystery, corporate conspiracy, and of course, romance. Mary Catherine is a funny romantic heroine in the best tradition of that type—one thinks of really good old movies with stars like Rosalind Russell, Lucille Ball, etc. It’s a fun, uplifting read for those times when there’s been a bit too much heaviness going down for a bit too long. I hope there’s a sequel for Mary Catherine and her childhood crush—now doctor-hero boyfriend (who reminds me of Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, or Fred MacMurray). 

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  • June 8th, 2014Customs and Habitsby Fr. Simon Henry

    “Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.”

    Fr Hunwicke draws attention to the "mutual enrichment" between the ancient and the newer forms of the Mass, picking up on a theme in an interview by the Abbot of Fontgombault, reported on Rorate Caeli and elewhere

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  • June 7th, 2014Solzhenitsyn on the Crisis in the Ukraineby Joseph Pearce

    My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative highlights the prophetic prescience of Alexander Solzhenitsyn regarding the crisis in the Ukraine and also outlines the solution to the crisis in accordance with Solzhenitsyn's principles:


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  • June 6th, 2014The Top Ten English Poetsby Joseph Pearce

    Further to the earlier correspondence about the greatest English writers, which I’ve already shared on the Ink Desk, I’ve received a follow-up e-mail, which I’ve also decided to share. This time, my correspondent asked for a list purely of poets. By way of clarification and justification, I should probably confess that my “top ten poets” is tinged or tainted by favouritism, which is to say that I’ve allowed myself to be swayed by my own subjective preferences and have not necessarily sought to provide an objective list. If I had tried to be strictly objective, I would have been forced reluctantly to put Milton on the list and, less reluctantly, Donne, Herbert and Tennyson.

    Here’s the note from my correspondent:   

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  • June 6th, 2014Unreality: The Spirit of Antichristby Kevin O'Brien

    Unreality is the shirking of the cross.

    What is Unreality?  It is the creation of a controllable substitute for reality, a house of cards, a false life that excludes from its borders anything that would challenge us or take us out of our comfort zones; it excludes therefore the Holy Ghost.  Art and fiction are not necessarily examples of Unreality, for art and fiction can convey elements of reality that non-fiction can not.  But our lives can be examples of a kind of fiction that avoids reality rather than imaginatively portraying it or celebrating it.

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  • June 6th, 2014The Greatest English Writersby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received an e-mail question, which I had fun in answering and thought I'd share with visitors to the Ink Desk. Here's the text of the e-mail:

    Who do you think is the third greatest British ( English? which is the right word?) writer? Remember Eliot is really American. I am talking of fiction.... novelist, playwright, poet .... in the nonfiction category I think I might say Chesterton or Newman. Churchill would rank high I think .... and I say that as one who has mixed opinions about Churchill. (It just hit me.... is either Dickens/Tolkien or Tolkien/Dickens. No drama about number 1.)

    My response:

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  • June 5th, 2014Preview of the July/August issue of the St. Austin Reviewby Joseph Pearce

    The next issue of the St. Austin Review will soon be winging its way to the printers. The theme is St. Robert Southwell: Priest, Poet, Martyr.

    Highlights include:

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  • June 5th, 2014The Murder of Merrie Englandby Stephen Brady

    Central to the Whig interpretation of English history with which generations of English – and indeed American – schoolchildren have been imbued is the idea that England is, and in some sense always was, an essentially Protestant nation.  For over 400 years Catholicism has been portrayed as a foreign, alien imposition which the English people gladly threw off, thereby forsaking the dark clouds of the Middle Ages for the blue skies of happy Modernity.

    In a recent article in the UK’s Telegraph, author and historian Dominic Selwood lays bare the utter falsehood of all this: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/dominicselwood/100272287/how-a-protestant-spin-machine-hid-the-truth-about-the-english-reformation/

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  • June 5th, 2014Marxism, Fascism, and Narcissismby Brendan D. King

    Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi were arguing about who was more tolerant....

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  • June 3rd, 2014Poets in the Trenchesby Joseph Pearce

    A friend has sent me this fanciful but charming dramatization of the two great war poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves:



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  • June 3rd, 2014Farewell Fair Weather Christiansby Joseph Pearce

    No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. - Matthew 6:24 

    The words of Christ say it plainly enough. We cannot serve two masters. We have to choose between God and mammon. We must be moved by the Heilige Geist or the Zeitgeist; the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of the Age. We must build our faith on the Rock of Ages or follow the fads and fashions of our own time. In the language of the theologians we must remain orthodox or succumb to modernism. What is clear, as Christ says clearly, is that we cannot serve both masters. 

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  • June 3rd, 2014Money, Guns and Godby Kevin O'Brien

    Nothing is ever done in this world until men are prepared to kill one another if it is not done. - George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara.


    UNDERSHAFT. ... there are two things necessary to Salvation.
    CUSINS [disappointed, but polite] Ah, the Church Catechism. Charles Lomax also belongs to the Established Church.
    UNDERSHAFT. The two things are--
    CUSINS. Baptism and--
    UNDERSHAFT. No. Money and gunpowder. -
     - Shaw, Major Barbara.
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  • June 2nd, 2014Scientism is Bad for Your Healthby Joseph Pearce

    Scientism is not science any more than progressivism is progress. Scientism is philosophical materialism posing as science. Like the progressive, the follower of scientism treats the past and the traditional wisdom of humanity with contempt. As such, it is blinded by its own chronological snobbery and by its pride and prejudice from being able to see true science. This is as true of the science of nutrition as it is true of so many other areas of science.

    In the knowledge that scientism has poisoned the science of nutrition and, therefore, that it has also poisoned the very diet that we are being encouraged to adopt, my wife and I have long since followed more reliable guides, such as that to be found in the nutritionally traditionalist approach of the Weston Price Foundation and its journal, Nourishing Traditions

    The traditionalist approach to nutrition, which demolishes the scientism of the diet dictocrats, is advocated in this excellent article in the Wall Street Journal.
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  • May 28th, 2014The Death of a Celebrityby Joseph Pearce

    Here's my latest for the Imaginative Conservative:


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  • May 28th, 2014Just Back from England with Memories of Spainby Joseph Pearce

    Yesterday I returned home from four days in England, speaking at the Catholic Writers' Guild last Friday and at the Latin Mass Society conference on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday I indulged myself with visits to friends and family. 

    Having returned home after a month of extensive travels in the USA and Europe, I hope to be able to write for the Ink Desk with much more frequency over the coming weeks. At present, I am climbing the mountain of e-mails that awaited me upon my return.

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  • May 28th, 2014About this “Scandal Business”…by Dena Hunt

    Kevin’s post raises issues other than he might have meant it to do. The word “scandal” is worthy of meditation. The Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal, the hit TV series “Scandal,” the heartbreaking scandal of homosexual pederasty in the Church. Scandal is everywhere, near and far, “cover-up” being the worst of all—except, maybe, for the embarrassing public breast-beatings we are subjected to. Nothing shocks now.

    I don’t mean to write a public whine about this topic. That, too, has been done to death and proven to make no difference anyway. What’s worthy of meditation is the addictive nature of scandal. News junkies feed on it, media people make a living on it—the excitement, the fear (even terror), the titillation, the hold-your-breath what-will-happen-next consuming public, demanding more, and still more. As de-sensitization takes over, ever worse, more shocking shock is demanded by the addict. For that’s the nature of addiction.

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  • May 28th, 2014Lessons from Tolkien: Win by Destroying the Ringby Kevin O'Brien

    The most fascinating thing about J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is his insight into the psychology of sin. 

    The Ring is sin and while it corrupts and dehumanizes the one who holds it, he nevertheless holds it tighter and tighter.  Frodo's reluctance to sacrifice the ring at the climax of the adventure is one of the most stunning moments in all of literature.

    Our sins indeed become our "precious".  The devil leads us into infinite corridors of narrowness and darkness as we attempt to rationalize not only our sin but also the slow death and diminution our sin is dealing us.

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  • May 28th, 2014Ten Commandments for Writersby Brendan D. King

    Excerpted from Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing," pages 302-303.

    1. Thou shalt not sprinkle characters into a preconcieved plot lest thou produce hackwork. In the beginning was the character, then the word, and from the character's words is brought forth action.

    2. Thou shalt imbue thy heroes with faults and thy villains with charm, for it is the faults of the hero that bring forth his life, just as the charm of the villain is the honey with which he lures the innocent.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?