Issues

Man Alive! The Wonder of G.K. Chesterton
StAR July August 2019 _COVER

Man Alive! The Wonder of G.K. Chesterton

July/August 2019 – Man Alive! The Wonder of G.K. Chesterton

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Burke vs Chesterton: Mistaking a Friend for an Enemy – Brett Fawcett

A Canadian Catholic who believes in the virtue of patriotism faces a similar problem to that of G. K. Chesterton, during the period in which he deliberated becoming Catholic. Chesterton’s dilemma was whether he simultaneously could be a patriotic Englishman and a Catholic, given how closely tied British identity was to the Anglican Church. Yet Chesterton makes such a compelling case for the virtue of patriotism based on the need for a person to have something of his own to love. This is the animating spirit of his defense of widely distributing private property; it is what drove his case for a Jewish homeland; and it is the reason he stood opposed to British colonialism: both the colonizers and the colonized already had their own nations of which they could be proud.

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The Witness & Wisdom of C.S. Lewis
StAR May June 2019_Cover

The Witness & Wisdom of C.S. Lewis

May/June 2019 – The Witness & Wisdom of C.S. Lewis

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The American Inkling: Clyde S. Kilby and the Well of Wonder

A Well of Wonder is, indeed, a source of wonder; the sacred and satisfying kind of wonder. It is a collection of wonder-inducing essays by Clyde S. Kilby (1902–1986), one of the earliest American academics to study and introduce to students the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and others who made up the remarkable group known as the Oxford Inklings. It is no stretch to say that Kilby, a long time Professor of English at Wheaton College, Illinois, did more than any other man to incorporate the ideas and imaginative visions of Lewis, Tolkien, Owen Barfield, George MacDonald, Dorothy Sayers, G. K. Chesterton, and Charles Williams into the evangelical Christian landscape, thereby building solid bridges between many diverse denominations and sects of Christianity in America.

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Faith & Fairy Stories
StAR March April 2019_COVER

Faith & Fairy Stories

March/April 2019 – Faith & Fairy Stories

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Faith, Fact, and Fairy Tale – William Randall Lancaster

If a paradox is a seeming self-contradiction that is actually true, what, then, might we call a seeming truth that is really a self-contradiction? What might we call a mysterious miracle of a man who rejects the very mystery and miracle of his own being, only to conclude unkindly that all of humankind are simply highly evolved, self-conscious molecular configurations which are no more than advanced, arbitrary animals rather than aspiring spirits moving a little lower than the angels; that all things tangible and intangible—including his very reasoning—are the resulting culmination of a continual, colossal, cosmic accident; and that all talk of religion and faith is just a fairy tale?

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Ernest Hemingway & Graham Greene: Prodigal Sons of the Church
StAR Jan Feb 2019_Cover

Ernest Hemingway & Graham Greene: Prodigal Sons of the Church

January/February 2019 – Ernest Hemingway & Graham Greene: Prodigal Sons of the Church

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Hemingway’s Catholic Heart –  Mary Claire Kendall

“Born as the Victorian era was breathing its last, Ernest Hemingway initially only knew the Protestant world of Oak Park where he grew up, not far from Chicago.

Later, while serving with the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps in Italy in the summer of 1918, the budding writer discovered the richness of Catholicism—with all five senses. He bathed in Mary’s love and soaked up the redemptive reality of her son Jesus hanging on that wooden cross, writhing in pain, to his very sinews, the great European cathedrals he visited punctuating this reality. He was just seventeen. The experience was transformative.”

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Solzhenitsyn 1918-2018: A Centenary Celebration
StAR Nov Dec 2018 COVER

Solzhenitsyn 1918-2018: A Centenary Celebration

November/December 2018: Solzhenitsyn 1918-2018: A Centenary Celebration

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In the Camps: Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn –  Lee Congdon

It should come as no surprise that the spiritual awakening of both Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn occurred during their years of penal servitude. There were major differences between the tsarist katorga and the Soviet
GULag, but in both systems of detention reflective men were forced to confront themselves and their past as never before. Dostoyevsky’s past had been one of guilt, closely associated with a hatred of serfdom. In pleading for more money, he had, or so he believed, forced his father to increase pressure on his serfs, who murdered him in response. A Christian in a vague humanitarian sense, the young Dostoyevsky found himself drawn to utopian socialism and, for that reason, he joined the Petrashevsky Circle, a discussion group organized by Mikhail Petrashevsky, a disciple of Charles Fourier.

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The Feminine Genius of Jane Austen
Sept Oct 2018Cover

The Feminine Genius of Jane Austen

September/October 2018: The Feminine Genius of Jane Austen

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Jane Austen’s Novels: Reading and Revelation – Maria Devlin McNair

In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Colonel Brandon meets with Elinor Dashwood for a private conversation. Elinor’s neighbor Mrs. Jennings overhears a few phrases of the conversation and concludes that Colonel Brandon has proposed. She approaches Elinor afterwards with a smile: “I assure you I never was better pleased in my life, and I wish you joy of it with all my heart.”

Elinor thanks her: “It is a matter of great joy to me; and I feel the goodness of Colonel Brandon most sensibly. There are not many men who would act as he has done. Few people who have so compassionate a heart!”

Mrs. Jennings is astonished (as many of us would be) at this reaction to a proposal: “Lord! my dear, you are very modest!” But the confusion is soon clarified. Colonel Brandon was, in fact, telling Elinor that he wished to offer the parish on his estate to Elinor’s friend Edward Ferrars, who had been disinherited by his family for refusing to break off an engagement of which they disapproved. This scene shows in miniature the larger strategy at work in Austen’s novels. Her books give us a better vision of reality first by showing us how our current vision falls short. We seek the truth more earnestly once we realize we don’t already have it.

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Gerard Manley Hopkins & the Grandeur of God
July August 2018_COVER

Gerard Manley Hopkins & the Grandeur of God

July/August 2018: Gerard Manley Hopkins & the Grandeur of God

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Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Blessed Virgin Mary – Bernadette Waterman Ward

The first time the poet Gerard Manley mentions the Blessed Virgin Mary is in a letter to his father, who is dismayed that his Oxford-educated son is on the verge of converting to the Catholic Church. Young Gerard writes:

I shall hold as a Catholic what I have long held as an Anglican, that literal truth of our Lord’s words by which I learn that the least fragment of the consecrated elements in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is the whole Body of Christ born of the Blessed Virgin, before which the whole host of saints and angels as it lies on the altar trembles with adoration. This belief once got is the life of the soul and when I doubted it I shd. become an atheist the next day (October 16–17, 1866).

The first words of Hopkins about the Blessed Virgin acknowledge her as the Mother of the Eucharist. Already the young poet understands the eternal relation of the Incarnate Creator to the world. Mary is the point at which the Eternal Creator chooses to take flesh from a creature. Because God is eternal, the unity of God with His creatures is not bound by time, or by place. No time is future to Him; no time is past. His spiritual relationship with His saints is always present to Him; and so His Body is always the Body mothered by Mary—wherever and whenever he chooses His Body to be present.

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American Literature & Catholic Faith
May June 2018_COVER

American Literature & Catholic Faith

May/June 2018: American Literature & Catholic Faith

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Orestes Brownson on the Natural Aristocracy – Geoffrey M. Vaughan

In 1813, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams engaged in a correspondence on the topic of the natural aristocracy in America. These two political enemies reconciled over the question of how the new nation might raise up leaders like themselves. More than a generation later the journalist, publisher, one- time Transcendentalist and notable Catholic convert, Orestes Brownson, would revisit this same topic.

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Misfits & Mystics: Flannery O’Connor and Friends
March April 2018_COVER

Misfits & Mystics: Flannery O’Connor and Friends

March/April 2018: Misfits & Mystics: Flannery O’Connor and Friends

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Grace and the Grotesque: Redemption in the Southern Literature of Flannery O’Connor – Veronica A. Arntz

To our softened, modern sensibilities, the stories of Flannery O’Connor are shocking. They are seemingly dark with despair, fraught with the destruction of the inno- cent, and devoid of happiness or joy. In a word, her stories are part of the Southern genre called “grotesque”, which radically contradicts the modern desire for positivity and uplifting sentimentalities. It may be even more shocking to some that Flannery is a Catholic author, especially as her stories seem to portray everything but the hope of Christ’s Resurrection. And yet, beneath the grotesque surface, Flannery is deeply theo- logical, and the mystery of Christ is a con- stant theme in her stories, even if it is veiled behind the sufferings of life. Understanding the baptized imagination of Flannery O’Connor requires us to see that the redemption from sin and suffering, won for us by Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, is continually operative within her stories.

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True Love: Passionate Reason Versus Romantic Feelings
Jan Feb 2018_COVER

True Love: Passionate Reason Versus Romantic Feelings

January/February 2018: True Love: Passionate Reason Versus Romantic Feelings

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Anna Karenina: A Story of Untrue Love- Mary Leonarczyk

Recently, with the 2012 movie adaptation of Anna Karenina having been released, there has been an increasing interest in Leo Tolstoy’s classic Russian novel of doomed romance. On the surface, the book tells the story of Anna’s tragic affair with Count Vronsky in the midst of a world where such conduct is socially condemned. Many modern critics laud it as an appraisal of hypo- critical moral boundaries and a standard of male dominance in nineteenth-century Russian culture. Anna herself is envisioned as a sort of tragic hero who defies her circumstances to be true to herself and her love. In short, the doomed love in the story is widely seen as a positive thing.

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