The Doctor is In – December 14, 2009

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    Topic One – How Goes the Christmas War?

    Earlier this month in the New York Times, there was an article about White House social secretary Desirée Rogers. In it, reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote: “When former social secretaries gave a luncheon to welcome Ms. Rogers earlier this year, one participant said, she surprised them by suggesting the Obamas were planning a ‘non-religious Christmas….’” This same participant said that “the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display” (this was confirmed by the White House). Indeed, as Stolberg wrote, “there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.” In addition to this disappointment, the regular Christmas shenanigans are well underway. We talk with Bill Donohue about the “Christmas Wars.”

    Topic Two – Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America

    When Wall Street Journal reporter John Fialka set out to tell the story of America's Catholic nuns, he knew he faced a daunting challenge. Church histories contained little about the women he calls "America's first feminists," though they built 800 hospitals and more than 10,000 private schools. We hear a well-told history of these remarkable women from the time of their arrival in America in 1790 to the present, when their numbers have dwindled considerably. Against the backdrop of the Apostolic Visitation of Women’s Religious in America, currently underway, nuns will appreciate his treatment of their lives, as will Catholics pondering a church with diminishing numbers of the women who helped shape it.

    Topic Three – Sisters Supporting the Apostolic Visitation

    Women religious, upset their orders are not cooperating with a Vatican study of their religious congregations, are using the Internet to bring together like-minded souls. They have formed a Yahoo group and are working with author Anne Carey who is to moderate contributions. The Vatican announced last January an Apostolic Visitation of some 340 U.S. women religious congregations, saying its purpose is to assess the quality of life in the communities. The study has stirred controversy with some women religious vocally opposed to the effort and others supportive. Ann Carey came up with an idea for a Yahoo group - first of all because it was free. Also, since some sisters fear retribution from their superiors for their support of the visitation. The site allows sisters to exchange information and ideas while still protecting their identity if they so choose. We talk to Ann about the Visitation and the Website.


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