Joan Frawley Desmond

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‘Lady Bird’ is an Unusual, Hopeful Movie

As an occasionally rebellious teenager, I identified with the zany, self-absorption of the title character in Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s engaging new film. The rising high-school senior, played by Saoirse Ronan, casts herself as a trailblazer,...

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Are We Crossing a Bright Red Line in the Roy Moore Case?

As powerful men in entertainment, politics and business face credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault, the Democratic Party has finally begun to reassess its response to similarly egregious claims against former U.S. President Bill...

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Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop Naumann Vie to Lead US Bishops’ Pro-Life Efforts

On Tuesday the U.S. bishops will elect the new chair of their Pro-life Activities Committee, and the outcome of this closely-watched contest serves as a “barometer of support for Pope Francis among the American hierarchy,” according to a report...

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California Gov. to Vatican: ‘Brainwashing’ Needed to Tackle Climate Change

“At the highest circles, people still don’t get it,” said Brown, during his 40-minute speech at a climate change conference organized by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences. “It’s not just a light rinse” that is needed, he added. “We need a...

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What Are Campus Protesters Really Angry About?

Why would angry college protesters on the beautiful grounds of Middlebury College attack a middle-aged professor, sending her to a hospital emergency room for treatment of a concussion? What led students at the University of California Berkeley...

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California to Offer Third Gender Option on Legal Documents

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Gender Recognition Act of 2017. The law adds “nonbinary” to male and female in official state documents. Residents who identify as transgender have applauded the new legislation,...

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Why Every Catholic Should Applaud Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nobel Prize

 Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born author of The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, and five other acclaimed English-language novels, was awarded the Nobel Prize on Thursday.  No doubt, Ishiguro’s Catholic fans, myself included, heartily...

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How Lupus Changed Flannery O’Connor’s Writing and Took Her Life

Flannery O’Connor was just 25 years old, and already a promising writer, when she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, the disease that killed her father. Told she had just five years to live, the young Catholic left New York’s...

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Sorry, George Clooney, the Southern Poverty Law Center Can’t be Trusted

This week, as the public outcry over the violent racist protests in Charlottesville continued, George Clooney and his wife, Amal, announced that their foundation would give $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center for a joint initiative to...

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3 Lessons That Help Explain Jane Austen’s Enduring Popularity

Why do readers still pore over Jane Austen’s books, two hundred years after their publication? Puzzled researches have employed data analytics to get to the bottom of this mystery. The New York Times’ data scientists explain why the author’s...