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.

  • December 4th, 2014Sex and the Virus that Makes Us Madby Kevin O'Brien

    Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD's hand, making the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore, the nations go mad.  (Jer. 51:7)

    It's like a virus, this thing.  It infects you.  We drink of the wine of Babylon and we go mad.  We don't just get drunk, we go mad.

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  • December 3rd, 2014The Painter of the Popesby Joseph Pearce

    I'm delighted that the interview that I did with the great Russian artist, Igor Babailov, has been published by the National Catholic Register, not once but twice! In October it was published in the web edition and last week it was published in the print edition. The latter was shorter because of space constraints in the print edition. Here are the links to both versions:




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  • December 2nd, 2014Pearce in the Pacific North Westby Joseph Pearce

    I've been travelling more than ever in recent months but keep forgetting to announce my destinations on the Ink Desk. Recent weeks have seen me in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Minnesota. This week I'm going to be in Washington State and Idaho. On Thursday evening, I'm giving a talk on the Catholicism of Middle-Earth at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. On the following afternoon, I'll be telling my own conversion story to the Socratic Club at Gonzaga. Both events are open to the public and I hope that anyone in the area reading this post will try to join me. On Saturday, I'm giving a talk at St. Dominic's Priory in Post Falls ID on "Roads to Rome from Newman to Tolkien".  

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  • December 2nd, 2014The Lord of the World and the Chariot of the Agesby Joseph Pearce

    A friend has recently followed my suggestion that he should read R. H. Benson's dystopian classic Lord of the World. Having done so, he's written to me of the prescience with which Benson foresees the rise of the democratic demagogue and the apparent triumph of the secular fundamentalism that he preaches. Here is my response

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  • December 1st, 2014Father Marquette’s Heroic Virtueby Daniel J. Heisey

    In the December, 1984, issue of American Heritage magazine, historical novelist Walter D. Edmonds wrote that he wished he had been present on 18 May, 1675, when Father Jacques Marquette, S. J., breathed his last.  Edmonds (1903-1998) had an eye for the dramatic moment:  In 1936 he secured his literary reputation with Drums along the Mohawk, a novel that sold almost as many copies as that year’s runaway best-seller, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.  Like her novel of the American Civil War, Edmonds’, about the American Revolution, became in 1939 a major motion picture, in this case one that was directed by John Ford and that starred Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert.

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  • December 1st, 2014Immortal Longings and the Human Soulby Kevin O'Brien

    Our souls have been flattened.  And we don't even realize it.

    Here is a two-minute clip of Dr. David Allen White giving a fantastic lecture on Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.  What he says is so important that I'll even transcribe it for you below (my emphasis in bold) ...

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  • November 30th, 2014Muddle-Heads and the Middle Agesby Joseph Pearce

    My latest article for the Imaginative Conservative tackles muddle-headed modernism and its ignorance and arrogance, comparing it with the Middle Ages:


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  • November 28th, 2014“Affection at a Distance” vs. the Point of the Piercing of Christby Kevin O'Brien

    There is nothing cheaper than affection at a distance.
    We can love the poor, as long as we don't have to deal with them up close.  We can love our neighbor, as long as he stays on his side of the privacy fence. 

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  • November 26th, 2014Shakespeare: Another Jesuit Connectionby Joseph Pearce

    One of the exciting things about studying Shakespeare is that it's akin to a detective story in which one is always finding new clues connecting the Bard of Avon to the Catholic Church. The latest clue to emerge is the discovery of an early Shakespeare manuscript that was owned by a Catholic recusant connected with the Jesuits. Read on:


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  • November 25th, 2014Conferences, Performances and Events in 2015by Kevin O'Brien

    In addition to the murder mystery dinner theater shows, which I perform somewhere in the U.S. every weekend, you can catch me doing things that are a bit more dignified, such as ...

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  • November 25th, 2014Think Thanksgiving is a Puritan holiday?by Dena Hunt

    Think Thanksgiving is a Puritan holiday? Actually, it’s Catholic:

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  • November 25th, 2014Francis Thompson: Hounded by Heavenby Joseph Pearce

    The great Victorian poet Francis Thompson has always been a favourite of mine. I named one of the chapters of my biography of Oscar Wilde "Hounded by Heaven" to illustrate the parallels between Wilde's flight from God and that of Thompson, whose own flight is recorded in his wonderful poem, "The Hound of Heaven", lines from which served as the epigraph to the Wilde chapter. Last week, I was delighted to be able to host "An Evening with Francis Thompson" at Aquinas College in Nashville, along with those with whom I worked on the film documentary of Thompson, for which I served as historical consultant. I'm delighted to see that the documentary is beginning to receive the attention it deserves in the wider Christian world. Follow this link for more: 


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  • November 25th, 2014Jorge Luis Borges on Verse Translationby Brendan D. King

    During the late 1960s, Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges gave a series of Harvard Lectures about the subject of poetry.

    Recordings of the lectures surfaced in the 1990s. They were then transcribed, annotated, and published in 2000 under the title "This Craft of Verse" by Harvard University Press.

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  • November 25th, 2014The Hobbit Prime Ministerby Daniel J. Heisey

    In the published letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, there is a gap between the years 1925 and 1937, and so most of the years when Stanley Baldwin served as Prime Minister are missing.  Although our shelves of Tolkien thus lack the professor’s thoughts about that politician, we do have four volumes of Baldwin’s collected speeches.  From them we can glean what a hobbit gone into Parliament might be like, Tolkien and Baldwin having grown up in the same neck of the woods.

    Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947) now gets at best a mediocre press.  He is overshadowed by his great contemporary, Winston Churchill, and Baldwin’s reluctance to re-arm Britain has been damned as criminal failure to prepare against the ravenous National Socialism of Adolf Hitler.  To be fair to Baldwin, he was part of a nation grieving because of the Great War:  John, the only child of his cousin, Rudyard Kipling, had been among the millions killed in the war.

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  • November 24th, 2014Cajun Chestertonby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received an excellent promotional video about next spring's Chesterton Conference in Louisiana, at which I'll be speaking alongside Dale Ahlquist, Chuck Chalberg and Kevin O'Brien. The short video is fun to watch, and suitably edifying, even if you are not planning to attend the conference.

    Here's the link:


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  • November 24th, 2014“The Internationale”, the Anthem of Marxist Revolutionby Brendan D. King

    "The Internationale," which may be seen and heard in the footage below, dates from the brief seizure of power by the Paris Commune during the Franco-Prussian War. It has since been translated into scores of languages and adopted as the anthem of militant Marxism, particularly as interpreted by Vladimir Lenin.

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  • November 24th, 2014What ‘America’s Ratzinger’ would like to ask Pope Francisby Kevin Kennelly

    I've always found Cardinal George very bright and.....and in comparison to most American bishops .....orthodox ( if not firm). In the accompanying interview , it is difficult to tell precisely what he is doing but it would appear to be a veiled criticism of Francis. Who among us has not wondered what in the world Francis means at times but then again who am I to judge?


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  • November 24th, 2014A (True) Thanksgiving Storyby Dena Hunt

    It was 1991. I commuted to teach at a high school some 45 miles away, and my car was old, starting to have problems. I had asked the mechanic who kept patching it up to let me know when it was time to worry about actually breaking down for good on the unpopulated roads I had to travel to work, and he’d just told me the week before—Dena, it’s time for a new car. Oh, no! I had no place in my tight budget for a car payment. Moreover, I’d overspent on my credit card and was about 2,000 in debt there. (That’s a big deal for someone on my budget. I could only pay the interest.)

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  • November 23rd, 2014Vibrant and Vivacious New Writing on Chesterton, Belloc and Flannery O’Connorby Joseph Pearce

    Earlier this month I paid a flying visit to Minnesota to give four talks in a little over 24 hours. I gave talks at a Lutheran church, at Chesterton Academy, at the University of Minnesota, and at the Catholic Cathedral in St. Paul. After the first of the talks, at the Lutheran church in Plymouth, I retired to a local pub/restaurant with the Lutheran pastor, Tim Westermeyer, and his friend Tod Worner, a recent convert to Catholicism who writes regularly for Patheos. Having enjoyed the lively conviviality and enlightening conversation during my visit, I have since discovered Mr. Worner's excellent articles. Here's a sampler of his writing on Chesterton, Belloc and Flannery O'Connor.

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  • November 17th, 2014The Sacramental in Tolkienby Joseph Pearce

    I’m in receipt of an e-mail from a student working on a thesis on the Sacramental in Tolkien, and what it means to have "Sacramental Vision".  The student requested a list of “any helpful articles, books, quotations, etc. regarding the Sacramental, Imagination, Tolkien or Chesterton, and so on”.

    Here’s my brief response.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?