In Paradise Lost John Milton tried to “justify the ways of God to man”. Stephen Fry did the opposite in more recent times on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne, castigating him for what he saw as his cruelty to, among others, children.The latter is a theme that’s apposite to this tale of a Waltons-like family trying to come to...

I thought I’d be writing this a week ago, but the start of the much anticipated drama Broken (BBC One, Tuesday nights) was postponed by a week out of sensitivity over the Manchester bombing, though I’m not quite sure as to why.Seán Bean stars as Fr Michael Kerrigan, an inner city priest struggling with his own demons and the problems...

“I don’t mind being called a dumb blonde,” Dolly Parton likes to say, “because I’m not dumb – and I’m not a blonde.”Pamela Anderson has parlayed a similar trajectory in her career, playing into the sexist stereotypes that proliferate around her.  One joke goes: “The longest anything stayed...

Last week I wrote about a drama (Little Boy Blue) that told the true story of a murdered young boy. I wasn’t expecting another such story to come along so soon, but it was worth it.Damilola, Our Loved Boy (BBC One, last Sunday night) told the tragic story of Nigerian schoolboy Damilola Taylor, stabbed to death in London in 2000, and the...

Valerie RocheIt is difficult in this era of global communications to imagine what it must have been like for Sr Maura Clarke to leave behind the familiar, stable life in the convent in Ossining, New York and set out for Central America in 1959. It is true that when Maura joined the Maryknoll Sisters she was well aware that she would be...

J. A. GaughanThis is a collection of essays about war written from a feminist perspective. In the opening essay Diane Urquhart focuses on Anna Parnell, an archetypal feminist firebrand. Born in 1852, Anna was a sister of Charles Stewart Parnell. With others she founded the Ladies’ Land League in 1881. Its aim was the same as that of the...

Frank LittonCardinal Spellman (1889-1967) and Dorothy Day (1897-1980) were both important figures in the history of north American Catholicism in the 20th Century.Both were based in New York. Spellman presided over the archdiocese from his residence on 5th Avenue; Day’s ‘House of Hospitality’ in Lower East Side gave shelter to...

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