Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce a senior contributor to Crisis. He is director of book publishing at the Augustine Institute, editor of the St. Austin Review, and series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions. An acclaimed biographer and literary scholar, his latest book, Benedict XVI: Defender of the Faith, is newly published by TAN Books. His website is jpearce.co. Joseph Pearce’s latest book, The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful: History in Three Dimensions, is newly-published by Ignatius Press.

recent articles

How the Modernists Made ‘Ecumenical’ a Dirty Word

It is important to have a clear understanding of the meaning of a word before we use it. The word ecumenical is a case in point. Throughout history, until very recently, its meaning was connected to its etymological roots in Greek (oikoumene), in which it means literally “the inhabited (world)”, or more generally “the whole … Read more

Cardinal Sarah Marshals the Church Militant

One of the most encouraging developments in the Church in recent years has been the emergence of good, solid prelates from Africa. One thinks of Cardinal Arinze, whom many had thought might become the first African pope, and now there is the indomitable Robert Cardinal Sarah, whose forthright and courageous stance against much of the … Read more

William Shakespeare: Poet, Playwright—Catholic?

A recent film, All Is True, released this past May and starring Kenneth Branagh as Shakespeare and Ian McKellen as Shakespeare’s patron, the Earl of Southampton, purports to be a depiction of the Bard’s final years in Stratford-upon-Avon following his retirement from the London stage. Making no effort to remain true to the known facts … Read more

John Henry Newman: Catholic Revivalist

The canonization of John Henry Newman in Rome on October 13 will be a triumph for the light of life and love amidst the gloom and darkness of the Culture of Death. It will signify the way in which the Church transcends and outlives the evil forces that assail her, whether such assailants are the … Read more

What is Multiculturalism and Should We Embrace It?

Multiculturalism is a thorny topic. It is also a topic on which any truly rational discussion is very difficult. The problem is that many people equate criticism of multiculturalism with racism. Since nobody wants to be accused of racism (quite rightly), it is easier and safer to avoid talking about anything that might get one … Read more

Richard Crashaw and the Magnificent Seven

Were one to conduct a survey of modern-day Americans, taken at random, it is likely that not one in a hundred would have heard of the poet, Richard Crashaw. Were one to cross the Atlantic and conduct a similar experiment with modern-day Englishmen, it is likely that the result would be the same. This neglect … Read more

Everyone Expects the Spanish Inquisition

It is almost fifty years since the “Spanish Inquisition” sketch by Monty Python’s Flying Circus was first aired on British television. Today its catchphrase, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition,” has an enshrined place in popular culture. It is, however, ironic that the well-known catchphrase contradicts the grim reality of life in our increasingly secular culture. … Read more

What is Civilization?

Is civilization worth defending? Should we aim to conform to it so that we can be considered civilized? Should we aim to bring our children up according to its norms so that they can also be considered civilized? Should we try to make our country and our world as civilized as possible? The chances are … Read more

The Arabic Writing on the Wall

It takes courage to speak out against the threatening presence of Islam in today’s world. And it takes courage to defend those who have the courage to speak out. Eight years ago, after Benedict XVI gave his controversial Regensburg address, most European commentators were shamefully timid in their response. Most refused to raise their heads … Read more

Robert Hugh Benson’s Come Rack! Come Rope!

Robert Hugh Benson was born in 1871, the youngest son of E.W. Benson, a distinguished Anglican clergyman who counted the Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, amongst his friends. In 1882, when Benson was eleven-years-old, his father became Archbishop of Canterbury. Having taken Anglican orders himself, it was Benson who read the litany at his father’s … Read more

Blessed John Henry Newman: Our Guide and Inspiration

In 2010, I was honored to be among the official press commentators for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain. It was indeed a joy and a privilege to follow the Pope as he visited venues in London that resonated with Catholic significance. He visited Westminster Hall, in which St. Thomas More had stood trial, and … Read more

Solzhenitsyn: The Courage to be a Christian

In these dark days in which the power of secular fundamentalism appears to be on the rise and in which religious freedom seems to be imperiled, it is easy for Christians to become despondent. The clouds of radical relativism seem to obscure the light of objective truth and it can be difficult to discern any … Read more

Faith and Freedom: Why Liberty Requires Christianity

In an age that seems to believe that Christianity is an obstacle to liberty it will prove provocative to insist, contrary to such belief, that Christian faith is essential to liberty’s very existence. Yet, as counter-intuitive as it may seem to disciples of the progressivist zeitgeist, it must be insisted that faith enshrines freedom. Without … Read more

In Aeternum: The England that Never Changes

Recent posts about the United States and England, and especially those concerned with the decline, decay and ultimate disintegration of England have prompted my musings on the mutability of nations and cultures. Is everything subject to change? If so, is there any permanent value attached to these mutable things? Why bother about the USA or … Read more

Frodo Versus Robespierre

If a thing is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing badly. This paradoxical witticism of Chesterton was on my mind as I sat down to watch The War of the Vendée, a new film about the forgotten martyrs of the French Revolution. I was pleased that a film had been made to honour the … Read more

The Man Who Saved the Original Papers of San Juan de la Cruz

It was March 1936. A series of anti-clerical riots swept through Toledo. Churches were burnt and priests and monks were attacked in the streets. During these disturbances, several Carmelite monks, disguised in lay clothes, sought shelter in the home of the British poet, Roy Campbell, who had moved to the city with his wife, Mary, … Read more

Sir Kenneth Clark’s Mindless Civilization

I’m currently in the midst of watching Sir Kenneth Clark’s celebrated Civilisation, first broadcast by the BBC in 1969 and subsequently by PBS. I had heard so much about it, and remember watching it as a child, and was looking forward to having a guided tour of Western Civilisation by one of its most outspoken … Read more

Anything But Anonymous: Shakespeare the Catholic

Almost five hundred years after his death, William Shakespeare remains one of the most important figures in human history. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Homer and Dante, he is part of the triumvirate of literary giants who straddle the centuries as permanent witnesses of the permanent things. It is, therefore, gratifying that modern scholarship is … Read more

Maurice Baring, In the Shadow of the Chesterbelloc

Imagine one body with two heads. The twin giants of the Catholic literary revival of the early 20th century, G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, were so much associated in the eyes of the reading public that they together became the butt of the caricaturist’s humor and the satirist’s wit. Most famously, George Bernard Shaw, in … Read more

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