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Priest-Lovers Show to Go On

May 16, 1985

BOSTON (AP) _ Despite a protest from the Roman Catholic archdiocese here, a Phil Donahue talk show program featuring two women who have had priests as lovers will go on live from Boston as scheduled Thursday, a station official said Wednesday.

″Even the archdiocese didn’t ask us to consider not to carry the program,″ Burt Peretsky, a spokesman for Boston station WCVB, said Wednesday.

The New York City-based ″Donahue″ program is originating from WCVB studios this week. The fact the syndicated, daily broadcast would be broadcast in the Boston area ″was never in question,″ Peretsky said.

He said the Rev. Peter Conley, an official archdiocese spokesman, complained earlier this week to WCVB program director, Paul Lacamera, that the program’s subject was offensive.

As a result of a similar protest last month, WBZ, another Boston TV station, dropped the showing of a Westinghouse Broadcasting Co. program featuring a book about lesbian nuns.

Peretsky said the station has received about 125 calls since reports of the protest by the archdiocese, the nation’s second largest, appeared in local newspapers.

″That’s a pretty moderate number,″ he said. ″It is no more than we would get on any controversial subject. It’s not a highly controversial subject that has not been on TV before.″

He recalled ″The Thornbirds,″ a television miniseries seen nationally during Holy Week 1983, featured a romance involving a priest who eventually became a cardinal.

Peretsky said WCVB suggested that the Donahue program consider doing a show on what he called growing anti-Catholicism in the United States. He said the Donahue producers considered the request, but decided against it.

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