BOOKS: Changing Habits by Debbie Macomber

Has anyone else read this book? I just re-read it b/c I couldn’t believe the anti-Catholic negativity that oozed out of it.

The author claims that she wrote the book to show what it was like to be a nun in the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and Vatican II’s affects on the church and vocations.

However, the author (in my opinion) took every chance she could to make the Church be The Bad Guy. She even goes so far as to have a character in the book explain to one of the nuns: “Mary’s virginity, purgatory, and birth control are not in the bible”. The nun, a main character, reacted with surprise, quite unable to respond/defend the statement.

I just think that’s a very anti-Catholic and unfair spin on things. It appears to be a very biased, one sided view on things and I am ready to write the author a very long letter.

I am curious to know if anyone else has read it, and what impressions you were left with…

1 Like

No responses?

Maybe there is another forum in which this thread would thrive?

I posted here b/c it’s about religious vocations, and why the nuns left their order and the church.

:confused: :blush: :shrug:

You might try posting it in “Popular Media”. I’ve never read the book so can’t comment on its content.

That said, what is it about her lack of being able to defend the doctrines that is surprising? Many Catholics could no more defend those doctrines than they could fly. Other than saying, “Well, that’s what the Church teaches” which is not a defense. Were sisters better formed in theology back in the 50s & 60s? I’m not sure about that.

I read it:( I have read other books by the author and they are nice clean romances. There is often a Christian feeling (and Christians are portrayed as good guys. Some Couples even wait for marriage to make love (we know THAT is rare in popular media

BUT Don’t read this book. I hated the way the Nun was a complete idiot when a teenager brought up the “not in the Bible” line and then was told “Different Bible” by either the priest or another nun. The one nun blamed a teenager’s death by abortion on the Church. I guess because of the view on birth control. (I Don’t understand this, if you follow Church’s teaching you are not having sex as an unmarried TEEN. So why they think they can break that commandment (which of course IS directly in the BIBLE but then blame the Church for getting pregnant because they followed the BC “rule”:mad:)

I didn’t expect the Nuns to be that well educated but they really knew nothing even about the Bible.

Then at the end one of the nuns is married to the Priest and happily reports that besides teaching he acts as a priest for all these unhappy “Catholics”

I know that there really were problems with how Humana Vitae was taught.

From what I read (my mom likes her ‘regular books’ and I had tried her ‘yarn’ ones, being a knitter), Ms. Macomber was raised Catholic but no longer practices.

I feel bad (because I think she is a good storyteller, and there is a lot to be said for novels like hers which deal with a lot of people and a certain few are showcased in one book, and then another few in another book, etc., so that characters you get a ‘glimpse’ of in one book are fully fleshed out in another, and therefore you get more character development than in one single book) but the more I read her, the more the bias shows. . .

Same with another author I used to enjoy a lot–Rita Mae Brown. (actually a Virginia author). Her first books about a recent divorcee and her pets were charming. But she has recently ‘come out’ as a gay and lesbian advocate, and the last few books have been heavily politicized, to the point that the ‘nymphomanic blonde’ who broke up the divorcee’s marriage has now happily found herself as part of a healthy and charming lesbian couple. One book in particular was very anti-catholic as one of the character’s great uncle was a priest. . . and there was a fake ‘weeping statue’ and all sorts of comments about how God really wasn’t all about ‘rules and mumbo jumbo’ etc. Life is for living, dontcha know.

Even though she actually brought the heroine and her exhusband back together (remarried), the overall tone of the books now is so mocking to religion, even the ‘true and established’ episcopal, and the one sympathetic ‘older lady Bible Christian’ has lost weight, tarted up, and started to ‘date’ an old boyfriend and thus stopped wasting all her time at church. . .that I can’t enjoy the well -crafted murder and the excellent background/style of her writing. It’s just poisoned with the whole antiChristian rhetoric.

There is nothing recent about her coming out as a gay and lesbian advocate. She was involved in the Stonewall riots in the 60s and has been an activist since then. I read her first novel “Rubyfruit Jungle” 35 years ago and it dealt with explicitly with lesbianism.

That long, eh? That makes me even sadder. Gotta pray for her. So much talent going to waste on such issues.

Perhaps because the book is so inactuate in its portrayal of real religious life. I am glad that this author is successful in her other line of books, however could never recommend this [if indeed it is so misinformed[at the best] as most seem to think itis.

Thank You tho for elaborating that there may be other of her books with some value to them

I gave up on Rita Mae Brown too. I did enjoy the mysteries. It was always kind of stupid but I liked the cats and dogs “talking”. I don’t have to approve of all of the character’s actions for me to enjoy a book but these got too preachy.

I agree with what you say here about Debbie Macomber…she has written so many books that I have enjoyed, that I was really sad to see her bashing Catholics in this one…
I have had the same experience with other writers. just when I think I have found someone with a nice light touch in writing, I get slapped with somethging that really upsets me.

As far as Rita Mae Brown is concerned, I knew she was militantly out as a lesbian, & was pleasantly surprised by the first few of the mysteries. I read them,:slight_smile: *** because*** of the talking cats & dogs.
I gave them up some time ago when they became predictable & formulaic. Since I now hear about her inserting her agenda into the more recent ones, i will quit wondering if they are good, & move on to another writer…

PS: This probably should have been posted under ‘‘popular media’’…you could ask a mod to move it, for more response…

At the beginning of the book the author explains that she was raised Catholic, 12 years of Catholic school and did “extensive research” for this book. She explained that she was comparing religious life before/after Vatican II.

Then the story goes on to show how the characters (three nuns) actually liked some of the things about Vatican II (new or no habits).

Just about every experience the nuns experienced throughout the book had such a slant that they were oppressed by their order, or couldn’t do what they wanted to do b/c of the order, marking obedience as a BAD thing that the BAD church was making them do.

There are three priests in the story: One is sinister and selfish and makes Professor Snape from Harry Potter look like Shirley Temple; one is an alcoholic who steals from the weekly offertory to support his habit, and one is very good and kind and approachable and really tries to help the nun with her problems.

Guess which one left the BAD church? Yup, that nice one. :nope:

If you read the section where the girl is questioning the nun about Mary’s perpetucal virginity, purgatory and birth control not being in the bible, you will see that it, again, is slanted to show that the Catholic church is wrong about these things, not so much that the nun didn’t know about them or them being/notbeing in the bible.

Which leads to another issue, this Catholic author who did “extensive research” failed to show the true spiritual side of the church, or how the bible came out of the church, not the other way around, or how important the Eucharist is to the church (except to mention that a character might have skpped communion out of GUILT that the BAD church made him/her feel).

So, my point is that the author did not set out to do what she would have you believe she was doing in her introduction.

I think she used the book to vent her own feelings about this BAD church and expose this BAD church to her readers for what it “really is”.

I also wonder if priests and religious everywhere might not be as offended as I was when I finished the book. Did she give a true depiction of nuns and priests? Are all nuns blindly following the faith and are unable to answer challenges brought up about their faith? Are all priests sinister alcoholics?

I would say “no”, but how many non-Catholics, worse, anti-Catholics who read this book walk away vindicated?

I think Debbie Macomber should be challenged regarding this book.

I do see your point, but this book was written in 2003. 2003!! Not 1973!!

I don’t think the author is very clear about whether our sisters are better formed in theology today than they were in the 50 and 60’s b/c I think she wants her readers to think that they are NOT.

I think that is unfair and inaccurate. I also believe that many nuns were very well informed in the 50 and 60’s but her readers are not going to hear about them.

Sorry about my ranting. I am truly interested in what those of you with a religious vocation have to say about the tone of this book. :blush:

Hello. I am new to this but I was searching for a new author, a change of genre (spys and detectives to something else:D) and I googled Debbie McComber and saw her described as Christian. However reading your comments has made me a bit cautious;) as I despise trying to filter out the anti-Catholic stuff to enjoy a story. Any good authors, besides my favorite Michael D. O’Brien?:thumbsup: (read all his). I am going through a phase of trying read less “heavy” stuff but perhaps good Catholic authors don’t do fluff. Anyway, I am enjoying this thread. Claudette

Mary HIggins Clark’s romantic suspense novels (especially her more recent ones) have a very heavy Catholic “flavor” and feature priests or nuns as characters (always portrayed in a very positive light.) I would advise avoiding “Stillwatch” and “Weep No More, My Lady” as the characters engage in extramartial affairs.

Aimee and David Thurlos’ Sister Agatham mysteries feature an extern nun in a cloistered order in northern New Mexico. She wears a habit, rides a Harley (when the convent’s “anti-Chrysler” is acting up) and has a retired police dog named Pax riding in the side car. You’ll love Sister Agatha!

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