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.

  • July 28th, 2014Beauteous Truthby Joseph Pearce

    Having just returned from a mini-speaking tour of northern California which culminated with my participation at this year's Napa Institute Conference, I'm delighted to find this review of my latest book on Randy Hain's Integrated Catholic Life website: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/07/randy-hain-joseph-pearce-and-beauteous-truth/

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  • July 25th, 2014A “Gay Catholic Romance Novel”?by Dena Hunt

    I’m particularly gratified with this review of The Lion’s Heart from Aletia. The novel is new, and while reviews have been good, it’s always a pleasure to hear from a reader who just seems to “get it,” regardless of how they title their reviews:


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  • July 24th, 2014Parsing Tolkien’s Letter on Love and Romanceby Kevin O'Brien

    Tolkien's amazing letter to his son Michael deserves a closer look.  Here it is again, with some commentary by me in boldface.  


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  • July 22nd, 2014Joseph Conrad’s Prince Romanby Daniel J. Heisey

    Thirty-one years ago in the journal Conradiana, C. F. Burgess had an essay, “Conrad’s Catholicism.”  As Burgess noted, critics tend to dismiss the notion of Joseph Conrad’s Catholicism, preferring to see him as a secular unbeliever.  As with any great artist, Conrad can get projected onto him the image of many of his admirers.

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  • July 22nd, 2014Stratford Caldecott: Go With Godby Michael Lichens

    On July 17th, Stratford Caldecott fell asleep in the Lord after a long battle with prostate cancer. Already, many have written great words of mourning for one of the most powerful voices of Catholic cultural renewal. The author of several books (and a contributor to many more) and the co-founder and editor of Second Spring, a Catholic journal he and his wife Léonie long edited along with the UK/Irish version of Magnificat; it is hard to put into words how much of an impact this man of Christ had on so many. This is especially hard for me, as Mr. Caldecott was a friend who greatly encouraged my own work and how I view Christ in the world. In short, I am of the opinion that we will never be thankful enough for the great work of Stratford Caldecott.

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  • July 21st, 2014The Arabic Writing on the Wallby Joseph Pearce

    In between travels. Just back from Florida and soon destined for California. In haste. Here's my latest for the Imaginative Conservative:


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  • July 21st, 2014It’s that business of pronouns again…by Dena Hunt

    …and I keep coming back to it. As ridiculous as it sounds, sometimes it seems that what we need most of all is a good lesson in grammar. Okay, so I’m a caricature of an old maid English teacher. I wear reading glasses on the bridge of my nose, and I even wear my hair in a bun sometimes (though I never stick a pencil it.) But look at all the woes that could be remedied if we paid attention to our pronouns. What is this third-person we use so reflexively? Ever notice reflex> reflexive> reflexive pronouns? Well, it’s a stretch, I admit, but-- Every single complaint one has against one’s mate, friend, parent, child, or anyone “other,” has to be—first of all—recognized. How does recognition happen? It is a re-; i.e., repetition, of cognition—which means knowledge, knowledge in the sense of familiarity, something we know by personal experience of it. We must first possess cognition before we can go for recognition.

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  • July 21st, 2014Tsar Nicholas II—Saint or Egomaniacby Brendan D. King

    It is far from uncommon to find admirers of both the House of Romanov and of Tsar Nicholas II. He is seen as a loving family man and a well meaning, but ineffectual ruler. As this post shall reveal, however, there was also another side to the personality of the Last Tsar.

    Throughout the Great War, the French Ambassador to the Russian Imperial Court, Maurice Paleologue, kept a detailed diary. Following his return to France, M. Paleologue published his diary in three volumes. In 1925, George H. Doran & Company published an English translation under the title, "An Ambassador's Memoirs." 

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  • July 17th, 2014Memory Eternal, Stratford Caldecottby Michael Lichens

    I just received word that Stratford Caldecott, a good friend to many of us here at StAR, has fallen asleep in the Lord. There will be many more good words and articles written about this amazing man. He was a true man of faith, a lover of theology and comic books, and a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Please join us prayer for him and for his dear family. 

    Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant, Stratford Caldecott,who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins he has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin. 

    For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant Stratford, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen

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  • July 17th, 2014To Live is To Loveby Kevin O'Brien

    I have been hired to write a short biographical drama on the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

    And although I believe she had a strong influence upon me (behind the scenes) at the Chesterton Conference in Emmitsburg, Maryland four years ago, it has taken her a while to grow upon me.  But the more I read of her, the more I like her.  She was, among other things, a woman who valued Friendship most highly among all earthly blessings.

    And this insight of hers in particular strikes me.  She wrote it as a note to herself on the back flyleaf of a book she was reading, The Following of Christ.

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  • July 16th, 2014The Gleam in the Eyeby Pavel Chichikov

    A few days ago I clicked on a radio interview concerning Siegfried Sassoon, the English poet who wrote so powerfully about his combat experiences in World War One. The specific subject was a poem called Atrocities, which was edited before publication to remove some of the most blunt and brutal lines. It was, after all, war time. Here is a reading of the poem and the interview:


    As the BBC writes: [The original] “version was heavily censored by publishers, with euphemisms such as 'How did you do them in?' replacing 'How did you kill them?', and other lines removed altogether.”

    The subject is the slaughter of prisoners.

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  • July 16th, 2014Famous Film Stars and the Faithby Joseph Pearce

    I've received an e-mail from Spain suggesting that I write a book about film actors and directors who are Catholics. Here's my reply:

    I think your idea for a book about Catholic actors and film directors is excellent. Unfortunately, as a British literary scholar, I know very little about American films. There are, however, two new books that overlap with your suggestion. The first is Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line by Karen Edmisten (Our Sunday Vistor, 2013), which focuses on several famous film stars and directors and which is reviewed in the latest issue of the St. Austin Review; the second is The Mississippi Flows into the Tiber by John Beaumont, a comprehensive study of American converts to Catholicism: 

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  • July 14th, 2014Hilaire Belloc on EWTN?by Joseph Pearce

    No, he has not been reconstructed through computer generated images.  Actually it is Scott Bloch of the Belloc Society on EWTN's "The Journey Home" this evening. I understand from Scott that a good portion of the program is dedicated to his conversion story (from Hollywood kid to John Senior godson) but that a surprising portion of the show is dedicated to Belloc because the host, Marcus Grodi, is quite the Belloc fan. 

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  • July 14th, 2014Futility Conqueredby Kevin O'Brien

    Today's Mass Readings were on a similar theme, a theme I've written about in the past, a theme that is close to my heart. 
    The first reading was a powerful passage from Isaiah ...

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  • July 14th, 2014When People Become Things, God Becomes a Thingby Kevin O'Brien

    Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig has interviewed Annie Lobert, the founder of Hookers for Jesus, an organization that helps women break free of the sex industry.

    Lobert's point is that prostitution is simply the extension of the basic principle of a radically capitalist culture: everything can be bought and sold, including people, including the most intimate parts of a person's body, including the most intimate parts of a person's soul.  Lobert is a former hooker, who has managed to discover that sex exists only in a much larger and more profound context (my emphasis) ...

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  • July 12th, 2014About Conventionsby Dena Hunt

    convention |kənˈvenCHən|


    a way in which something is usually done, esp. within a particular area or activity:

    • behavior that is considered acceptable or polite to most members of a society:

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  • July 10th, 2014What Britain Ain’tby Joseph Pearce

    My latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative is entitled "What Makes Britain 'Great' and England Greater". The reason for the slang in the title that I've chosen for this post will become clear upon reading the article. Here's the link:


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  • July 10th, 2014Trivia Masquerading as Cultureby Joseph Pearce

    I've just received what must be one of the most bizarre requests that I've ever received. I've been contacted by a journalist working on what he described as "a cultural quiz show for Spanish Television".

    I quote from his e-mail:

    My 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 we don’t spread wrong information to our contestants and our audience. Sometimes, to do this work, I need to contact to some experts, such as you, in this case.

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  • July 6th, 2014Book Burning: Is E-Brother Bigger than Big Brother?by Joseph Pearce

    My wife has drawn my attention to this well-written and thought-provoking article about the danger of book burning, book banning and book censorship in the internet age. If you thought that Orwell's Big Brother was frightening, you ain't seen nothing yet ...


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  • July 5th, 2014How “Frozen” Should Have Endedby Brendan D. King

    Whether or not the Disney film "Frozen" is acceptable for Christian families has caused a great deal of controversy, some of which has even spilled over onto The Ink Desk. For this reason, I have decided to give both sides the opportunity to laugh at "Frozen." The following video is therefore highly recommended.

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What are your thoughts on the subject?