Many Catholics have a desire to learn more about the doctors of the Church, but few have time to dig through mounds of heavy textbooks to satisfy their curiosity – so EWTN Sr. Contributor Matthew Bunson has done the work for you! Beginning 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 20, Dr. Bunson will be hosting the Network’s newest docuseries, “The Doctors of the Church.” (The episode re-airs at 10 a.m. ET, Thursday, June 21. You can also view the premiere on EWTN’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ewtnonline. We’d love to hear your comments!)
“When you study the lives of the 36 doctors, you’re studying the history of the Church itself; you’re studying the great models of holiness and fidelity to Church teaching; you’re studying the authority of the Church and the genius of Christianity,” says Dr. Bunson. “Each episode going forward will look at the drama of the life of the doctors, why they’re saints, and what it is about their extraordinary lives that led to them being designated a doctor of the Church.”
To help viewers understand the doctors more deeply, each 30-minute episode will feature interviews with recognized experts in theology, Church history, spirituality, and more. Look for episodes throughout the year. (Eventually, “The Doctors of the Church” will become a weekly series!)
Episode 1, which premieres 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 20, features St. Athanasius of Alexandria. You will also have the opportunity to hear him discuss the series during his guest appearance on a special episode of “EWTN Live” at 8 p.m. ET the same night.
“St. Athanasius’ life as the bishop of Alexandria was taken up by his labors against the Arian heresy, which called into question the divinity of Christ,” Dr. Bunson said. “As a result, he was exiled five times by four emperors [who supported Arianism], and spent 20 years total in exile. He was sent to the frozen parts of German, to the hottest deserts of Egypt, and to Rome. At one point, he had to hide among the tombs of his family to escape murder – all because he refused to deny the divinity of Christ.”
Next up will be St. Catherine of Siena, followed by Pope St. Leo the Great, St. Robert Bellarmine, and St. Augustine.
“Who could be the next doctor of the Church?” asks Dr. Bunson. “It’s kind of fun to speculate. John Henry Neumann? John Paul II? Edith Stein? Who can say! I’ve long predicted that John Paul II would become a doctor of the Church.”
Dr. Bunson says putting this series together has been “a tremendous spiritual journey” for him personally.
“You are confronted with the holiness of these women and men,” he said. “They’re living the virtues heroically. You’re also confronted with their willingness to defend the Faith, and to explain the Faith in the face of hatred, violence, and opposition – even within the Church!”
Dr. Bunson said it was encouraging to discover that holiness did not come easy to most of them. Some had anger issues, issues with chastity, and a lot more.
“St. Jerome would beat himself with a rock in remorse for his anger,” Dr. Bunson said. “St. Augustine, one of the world’s most notorious sinners, transformed his life and became one of the greatest doctors of the Church, and one of the greatest theologians in the history of Christianity. So every one of them is a role model, in a different way, for today.”
Want to learn more? Please go to http://www.ewtn.com/doctors/. There you will find more information about Athanasius, the first doctor profiled. The website will be updated as EWTN adds new episodes. Eventually, you will be able to purchase a book on the doctors as well as a study guide.
You won’t want to miss a moment of what is sure to be a blockbuster new series!