Downton Abbey Creator Says Finale Rewards “Decent People Doing Their Best”

03/07/2016 Comments (10)

(Photo Credit: garybembridge, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

[SPOILER ALERT! Readers: please be aware that this post discusses the long-awaited final episode of Downton Abbey.]

After the last episode of the final (sixth) season of Downton Abbey, Louis Bayard, who writes for the New York Times’ Arts Beat Blog, declared:

I think it’s fair to say that Julian Fellowes has given us an American happy ending. And why shouldn’t he? Haven’t we loved these foolish Granthams with all the fervor of their countrymen? 

Over the years, Bayard has provided a hilarious running commentary on Downton's plot twists. Here’s part of his amusing summary of the show’s finale: “Robert accepts the fact that he’s married to a high-powered health care chief executive....READ MORE

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Oscar-winning “Spotlight” Producer Tells Pope to “Protect the Children”

02/29/2016 Comments (32)

At the Oscars last night, “Spotlight”, the critically-acclaimed film about the Boston Globe's investigation of clergy sexual abuse of children, won Best Picture

 “This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,” said producer Michael Sugar, who accepted the award with his co-producers. “Pope Francis, it is time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

That message will resonate with Catholics across the nation. They have been deeply shocked by the cascading series of revelations regarding the problem of clergy sexual abuse and administrative cover-ups that surfaced in the wake...READ MORE

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At Father's Funeral, Fr. Paul Scalia Proclaims Jesus Christ to Entire Nation

02/22/2016 Comments (15)

(Image: YouTube)

These days, preaching on the Four Last Things—death, judgment, heaven, and hell—is almost as rare as a homily on Humanae Vitae. As a result, many Catholics now view a funeral Mass as a vehicle for “celebrating the life" of the deceased. Yet the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that a funeral homily must “avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy and illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ.”

With this modern tendency in mind, mourners who gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception had reason to believe that Father Scalia was extolling his father, when he began his homily with these stirring words:

We are gathered...READ MORE

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Vatican on the Zika Virus: Attack the Disease, Not the Victims

02/16/2016 Comments (1)

Ana Carolina Cáceres (Facebook photo via CNA)

Amid growing fears that the  Zika virus epidemic sweeping Latin America could result in a surge of children born with birth defects, the Vatican repudiated efforts by UN agencies and other international organizations to call for the liberalization of abortion laws in the region.

On Feb. 16, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations released a statement that acknowledged the potential health threats posed by the epidemic, which the World Health Organization described as an international "emergency." But the Holy See said concerns about a possible link between transmission of the virus and a potentially serious birth defect did not justify the promotion of abortion...READ MORE

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Downton Abbey's Own Year of Mercy (Spoiler Alert)

02/03/2016 Comments (1)

(Photo Credit: garybembridge, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


Lady Mary Crawley, the eldest child of the Earl  and Countess of Grantham, has been at war with her sister, Lady Edith, since childhood.  And though most viewers expected Mary would call a truce by now, the satisfaction she derives from wounding her unequal rival has yet to abate.  

Indeed, when commended for being uncharacteristically nice to Edith, in a recent episode during the 6th Season of Downton Abbey, Mary replies with her trademark drawl: “A monkey will type out the Bible if you leave it long enough.” 

Now, Mary's sharp ears have picked up a delicious tidbit that could destroy Edith's reputation. Overhearing a fragment of a conversation between her parents, Mary...READ MORE

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Cruz Tops Trump in Iowa With Boost From “Religious Conservatives”

02/01/2016 Comments (15)

Ted Cruz speaking in Des Moines, Iowa on October 31, 2015. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Tonight, amid record turnouts for the 2016 Iowa caucuses, Texas Senator Ted Cruz scored his first victory in the hard-fought race to secure the Republican Party's nomination for president. And with this closely watched accomplishment, Cruz also demonstrated something of even greater importance—the Donald Trump juggernaut must confront two rivals that are far more accomplished and competitive than previously thought.

The Washington Post confirmed Cruz's triumph, with 

 99% of the precincts reporting, Cruz was besting Trump by more than 5,100 votes, with fellow senator Marco Rubio of Florida a close third. Cruz appeared to capitalize on deep support from religious and social conservatives...READ MORE

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National Review Thumps Trump as Candidates Stump in Iowa

01/26/2016 Comments (41)

As Iowa Republicans prepare for their party's first presidential caucus on Feb. 1, National Review has officially thrown down the gauntlet and repudiated Donald Trump as a nominee conservatives can support. Here's one salient passage from the magazine's leading editorial in its latest issue—"Against Trump."

If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support, what would that say about conservatives? The movement that ground down the Soviet Union and took the shine, at least temporarily, off socialism would have fallen in behind a huckster. The movement concerned with such “permanent things” as constitutional...READ MORE

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Could New Tests Lead to “Extinction” of People with Down Syndrome?

01/22/2016 Comments (7)

By a follower of Jan Joest of Kalkar, via Wikimedia Commons

As pro-life Americans prepare for their annual March for Life to end abortion, it is worth remembering that the culture of death engendered by Roe, combined with prenatal screening for birth defects, have conspired to dramatically reduce the number of children born with Down Syndrome.

Now, a British journalist has raised the possibility that people with Down Syndrome will one day be extinct.

“Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignorance” read the headline in the British newspaper, The Telegraph.

The words stunned me for a moment, as the  people I know with Down Synrome came to mind: sisters Mary and Margaret, Amy, Danny and another Mary.


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About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..