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 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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  • January 4th, 2015Join Me and Fr. Dwight Longenecker in Englandby Joseph Pearce

    June will be here before we know it, and for those of you who have not yet registered and yet would like to join me and Father Dwight Longenecker on the “English Martyrs & Catholic Writers” tour of June 3 – 12, 2015, there is still time to register.

    The registration form is due by February 28th with the final deadline of March 31st. Late registrations will be accepted with a small late fee according to the terms.

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  • January 1st, 2015A Literary Pilgrimage with Ralph C. Woodby Joseph Pearce

    I've recently had the pleasure of reading the Christmas Letter of the great literary luminary and scholar, Ralph C. Wood, whose works I have admired for years. It contained details of such a joyous literary romp from the Deep South to the Mystic West (of Ireland) that I've sought and received his permission to share this part of his Letter with visitors to the Ink Desk:

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  • December 31st, 2014The Magical Thinking of Devout Catholicsby Kevin O'Brien

    There was a potential murder mystery client that I was hoping to land.  He had worked with every other murder mystery company around, and at that time there were three or four others in St. Louis.  They all told me the same thing, "The man is impossible to work for."  None of them lasted more than a few years performing at his venue. 

    "But I can do it!" I said to myself.  "They can't work with him, but I can work with him!  After all, I'm more intelligent and sensitive than they are.  I do well with difficult people.  I'll win him over, get him to like me.  I can succeed where all others failed!"

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  • December 31st, 2014I am concerned.by Dena Hunt

    The Pope of the Catholic Church is not infallible. The papacy is. I understand this distinction. Spelled out, it goes like this: When the Holy Father speaks on faith and morals, he is speaking with the authority of Jesus Christ. That’s the parameter of his infallible authority. When he speaks on faith and morals, I listen. I obey. When the pope speaks on politics, scientific theory, or any other subject, I listen, but I am free to disagree, to disregard, and to choose to listen to those persons who actually do have authority in these areas.  The pope does not.

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  • December 31st, 2014The Movie and the Meta-Movie: Reflections on “The Interview”by Kevin O'Brien

    People don't realize how important we are to freedom.  The first thing a totalitarian society suppresses is its comedians. - Groucho Marx

    John Lennon said something similar, which was that nobody would ever take him seriously enough to try to assassinate him the way they assassinate politicians, because he and Yoko were just fools - just comedians.  Of course, this was before he was assassinated.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?