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.

  • October 22nd, 2014Marriage, Divorce and the Modern Mindby Kevin O'Brien

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article over the weekend that examines the case of a divorced couple, with the ex-husband seeking an annulment over the ex-wife's objections. 

    The ex-wife, a Protestant, is not at all bothered that her husband divorced her and "re-married", contrary to the clear teachings of Jesus Christ.  The thought of renouncing the vows you make to the person you promise to love for the rest of your life is apparently no big deal (by the way, for each of them it was their second marriage).  What bothers this woman is the thought that her second marriage "never happened".

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  • October 22nd, 2014Here it is…by Dena Hunt

    About two years ago, I posted a suggestion that the Church get out of the marriage business as soon as possible. I proposed that it’s actually a violation of the Constitutional separation of church and state that clerics of any sort should have the authority to perform legally binding ceremonies, which are actually a function of government and not of religion. (The emphasis here is on “legal,” not on “marriage.”) Couples could have a religious ceremony if they want one and if the clergyman is willing to perform it, but the clergyman should not have any legal authority to make such a ceremony binding in any way. All couples would have to enter into a government-composed binding contract in order to be legally married.

    I remember that a couple of comments were appalled by the idea that the Church should surrender any influence at all on public civil life.  Here’s the reason:


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  • October 22nd, 2014Arguing with G. K. Chestertonby Joseph Pearce

    Having had the foolhardy audacity last week to argue with C. S. Lewis about “love”, I have picked a fight this week with another giant, G. K. Chesterton, this time about the “common man”.

    Watch the fight here:  


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  • October 20th, 2014Tolkien on Lewis’s Christianityby Joseph Pearce

    I write from Nashville, where I’m currently teaching my class on “Modern Christian Writers”. Today we were tackling Chesterton’s Man Who was Thursday. Returning to my office from the classroom, I came across an e-mail in my in-box enquiring about Tolkien’s attitude to Lewis’s conversion to Anglicanism. The exact wording of the e-mail is given below. My brief response follows.

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  • October 18th, 2014On St. Luke’s Feastby Dena Hunt

    I’ve heard that St. Luke’s Gospel is the favorite of women. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s my favorite and I’m a woman. Men prefer St. John’s, so I’ve been told, which might be a little surprising, since St. John’s is called the “poetic” Gospel.

    I never knew why I liked St. Luke’s best, but one minor bit of obscure history may help a little to explain it. The testimony of women is notably absent in the New Testament. That’s because the women’s testimony was never permitted – never deemed credible – in the Jewish society of Jesus’ time. It may be noted that Mary Magdalen’s testimony that Jesus was risen, that she had seen him and spoken with him, was disbelieved by the apostles, still in hiding, on that Easter morning.

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  • October 18th, 2014Approaching what is Real: Don Quixote, God, and the Rest of Usby Kevin O'Brien

    For they had bartered the reality of God for what is unreal, and had offered divine honors and religious service to created things, rather than to the Creator--He who is for ever blessed. Amen. (Rom. 1:25)

    As we drive around the country performing murder mystery dinner theater shows, my actress Maria Romine and I listen to audio books.  We've lately been listening to Don Quixote, the unabridged version, read very well by George Guidall.

    It's a 40 hour long production, and we're only about five hours into it.  But we're listening to parts that I've never read (my printed version is abridged). 

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  • October 16th, 2014Hobbit-Sized Saxonsby Joseph Pearce

    A friend of mine in England has just started a hobbit-sized business making miniature figures of Anglo-Saxon warriors. Tolkien would certainly approve! If you're able to support this noble venture by starting your own miniature army of warriors, please do so!


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  • October 16th, 2014Sausage-Making at the Synodby Kevin Kennelly

    It has been described as the most embarrassing document in the history of the Catholic Church. We refer to the ....words fail....disastrous , tragicomic "Relatio" released by Francis' synod. Three interpretations present themselves: a) by the modernists - the liberal view of things has triumphed . Get on board or be left behind by HISTORY. Homosexual relationships can be a "gift;" b) by real Catholics - the document is ipso facto corrupt, a historical slap in the face to all good Catholics in what is the previously civilized Judeo Christian civilization. And "c" wherein Father Robert Barron of "Catholicism" ( the TV series) fame says "....take a deep breath." Have a sense of historical perspective , read the whole document and have faith that the whole thing will play out in a productive way. It is a given that Catholic moral theology is a form of three dimensional chess ....not checkers.....but the angst remains. Oremus pro invicem.


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  • October 15th, 2014Chesterton On Demandby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received news of an exciting development from the American Chesterton Society. All of the lectures from the 2013 Conference held at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, are now available on-line. These include talks by Dale Ahlquist, Peter Kreeft, Yours Truly and many others.

    For more details: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/acs2013/107585826

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  • October 15th, 2014“American Literature and Christian Faith”by Joseph Pearce

    Preview of the Next Issue of the St. Austin Review

    The November/December issue is on the theme of “American Literature and Christian Faith”.

    Featuring Articles on Herman Melville, Henry James, Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, Jack Kerouac, Walker Percy , and Raymond Carver.

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  • October 15th, 2014William Baer on the Craft of Verseby Brendan D. King

    The following selections are from "Writing Metrical Poetry: Contemporary Lessons for Mastering Traditional Forms" by William Baer. Writer's Digest Books, 2006.

    "What Distinguishes Poetry from Prose."

    Pages 3-4,

    By William Baer.

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  • October 15th, 2014The Decline and Fall at 250by Daniel J. Heisey

    If, as Alfred North Whitehead said, the European philosophical tradition is but a series of footnotes to Plato, all of history about Rome is but footnotes to Gibbon.  From the time the first of the six volumes of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire rolled off the press (in 1776) until now, historians writing about the Roman Empire have had to take into account that smug, pudgy, eloquent little man’s version of ancient people and events.

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  • October 14th, 2014Four Ways G. K. Chesterton Engaged His Culture and Why He Still Matters Todayby Kevin Kennelly

    A big question presently on the floor is how Christians should or could engage the modern culture which has become wrong headed, vulgar and virulently if subtly anti Christian. The Christian roots of western civilization have pretty much rotted away. An Evangelical friend , upon returning from Sweden once said to me that over  there .....should you mention Moses .....there is more chance that minds would direct to Moses Malone , the professional basketball player , than to the Moses of the bible. And post Christian Europe is slouching toward us. 

    In " Four Ways G K Chesterton Engaged His Culture And Why He Still Matters Today," Chesterton is shown to be a force of nature taking on the question of how to respond to the stuff  that comes at us every day in the most weird ways. Economics, Art, Family, Politics , Human Nature .....and so on . We can not help but think .....where is today's Chesterton? 


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  • October 13th, 2014How Many Loves? Arguing with C. S. Lewisby Joseph Pearce

    In may latest article for the Imaginative Conservative, I have the temerity and some might say foolhardiness to argue with the great C. S. Lewis about the meaning of love. Am I mad, or merely arrogant, or do I perhaps have a point?

    Read on:


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  • October 13th, 2014Did Oscar Wilde say Dracula was the best novel ever written?by Joseph Pearce

    I've just received an inquiry from a Spanish journalist working in Barcelona for a cultural quiz show for Antena 3, a Spanish Television Channel (the equivalent of NBC’s ‘Who’s still Standing?’).

    Her work consists in writing the questions and checking if they are correct  and well formulated, in order to be as precise as possible and make sure that the show doesn’t spread wrong information to its contestants and audience. She was seeking to verify the question: Did Oscar Wilde say Dracula was the best novel ever written?

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  • October 12th, 2014Shylock the Puritanby Brendan D. King

    I first read Father Peter Milward's conclusions about Shylock, the Jewish antagonist of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" in Claire Asquith's "Shadowplay." According to Father Milward, a staunch believer in the Catholic Shakespeare, Shylock was a thinly disguised Puritan rather than a Jew. In arguing this conclusion, Father Milward strengthened a belief I had already held about Shylock for quite some time.

    Among my many consuming interests is a fascination with Jewish culture. As a result, I had already read scores of Modern and Medieval Jewish folktales, proverbs, and memoirs before reading "The Merchant of Venice". When I finally did so, I was shocked to find Shylock's whole range of expression completely foreign to me.

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  • October 12th, 2014Chesterton on the Bayouby Joseph Pearce

    It seems that Chesterton Conferences and Chesterton Academies are springing up all over the country. Regarding the former, I have spoken at three Chesterton conferences in the past two months. In August, I was one of numerous speakers at the American Chesterton Society's national conference in Illinois, and last month I spoke at two separate Chesterton conferences in Upstate New York, one in Buffalo and the other in Rochester. 

    As regards Chesterton Academies, there are several being founded around the country following the model established in the Twin Cities.

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  • October 12th, 2014Confessionby Dena Hunt

    I used to turn on the news on my kitchen TV every day at four o’clock when I started to cook supper.* It was, I thought, a way of catching up with the world, of finding out what was going on, but I discovered too often that I had to stop and lag behind where I actually was just in order to find out where the world was, and I grew weary of listening to people’s political opinions of what was going on. Speculation having replaced reporting some time long ago, the news channel has pretty much lost any real value.

    I remembered a news broadcast made on Christmas Eve (I think) back in 1980 (I think). Roger Mudd, a major news anchorman of the time reported the evening news from the Eternal City on some pronouncement or other made by Caesar, comments made by this or that senator, the quashing of some uprising someplace in the empire, etc.—all well researched and all major news events of the day, and toward the close of the broadcast, he reported on a minor phenomenon discovered by court astronomers of an unusually bright light that appeared in the night sky in a little village in the southern part of a province known as Judea.  It was very well done. Since then, attempts have been made to replicate the original broadcast, but none have been so successful. The message was very clear.

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  • October 10th, 2014The Mischievous Spirit of Oscar Wildeby Joseph Pearce

    Yesterday, at the hotel in Worcester, Massachusetts, at which I was staying during my visit to Holy Cross College, famous to Chestertonians for GKC's filmed visit there during the dark days of Prohibition, I found a few moments to read this excellent article by Sean Fitzpatrick on Wilde's "Canterville Ghost". It's a delightfully rollicking piece of writing.

    My only criticism is Mr. Fitzpatrick's quoting of Wilde's iconoclastic "moral or immoral book" aphorism without balancing it, as is surely necessary, with the other aphorisms from the same Preface (to Dorian Gray) which contradict it.


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  • October 9th, 2014Colson & Neuhausby Kevin Kennelly

    Chuck Colson and Richard John Neuhaus were each giants spiritually and in advocating the Christian world view in the realm of public policy.....what Neuhaus called the "Public Square." Colson regularly spent Easter Sunday in various prisons presenting Christ to otherwise hopeless men. His Prison Ministry lives on. Father John Neuhaus was a Lutheran priest who became a Catholic priest and one of the most brilliant and revered Christian public intellectuals  in the Unites States .On the side he was a very holy man. His deeds live on in the form of the journal First Things wherein he brought together high church Protestants, Evangelicals, real Catholics and believing Jews. In concert with Colson and others he  created a serious, balanced and deeply thoughtful movement representing the Judeo Christian tradition in the public square.

    In "Ghosts of Colson and Neuhaus ", the well-known and productive Rod Dreher reports on a recent seminar put together by Rusty Reno at the office of First Things. Mr .Dreher gracefully does not "over report" on who participated in the meeting or what was said except to the extent that certain talks are to be published in First Things and are therefore of a public nature. These talks .... by Michael Hanby, George Weigel and by Dreher ...... are vividly described by Mr. Dreher in "Ghosts." We have traversed from Ozzie and Harriet to The Simpsons to Family Matters ......not a good vector.

    The full article is found here: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/ghosts-chuck-colson-richard-john-neuhaus-first-things/

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What are your thoughts on the subject?