In modern American English, 'catholic' means Roman Catholic. Yes, it once meant 'universal', just as 'quick' once meant 'living', but it's been several centuries since it was used in that sense (the sole exception being the ritual phrases "the quick and the dead" and "the holy catholic church", both in the Apostles' Creed). Hence jokes based on its archaic meaning are facing a bit of a handicap, esp. given that the whole phrase you quote is idiomatic.
As for 'brightest and most vigorous minds around', this is just a blurb: an extravagant statement of the excellence of a book or magazine's contents. Sometimes they're justified ("lightning from a clear sky"), often v. much not ("the best since Tolkien!"). In this case, since following the link leads to this specific issue's table of contents, it's easy to see the names involved and make yr own judgment: Joseph Pearce (editorial), Ken Gaertner, Michael Waldstein, Matthew P. Akers (whose piece on 'Distributism in the Shire' is available online), Marie Cabaud Meaney, Louis Markos, Th. Howard, Sophia Mason, Susan Treacy, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Fr. Benedict Kiely, Patrick G. D. Riley, Peter Ryden, Sr. Ruth Evans, and reviews by Clara Sarrocco, James Como, Pamela H. Tyrrell, & Eric Tanquist. I'm unfamiliar with most of these, but that just tells me I'm likely to get new perspectives if I were to read their pieces. In any case, I'll probably pick up this issue anyway for the Como review of the two new Barfield books, since I worked on one of these (EAGER SPRING).
On Jan 18, 2010, at 2:20 AM, ferretolk wrote:
> "The St. Austin Review (StAR) is the premier international journal of Catholic culture, literature, and ideas. In its pages, printed every two months, some of the brightest and most vigorous minds around meet to explore the people, ideas, movements, and events that shape and misshape our world."
"some of the brightest and most vigorous minds around " ? does not sound very catholic to me...
(and around what ?)