Rachel Maddow is a practicing Catholic

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On Marc Maron’s WTF, Maddow says she prays every day

NEWS

On Monday, October 14, while appearing on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said that she is a practicing Roman Catholic. “I pray every day,” she said. “I doubt the Catholic Church is happy with me but too bad, they’re stuck with me.” [The discussion of religion begins at the one-hour, six-minute mark.]

The Rachel Maddow Show, which debuted in September 2008, is one of the top-rated cable-programs in the United States, attracting millions of viewers five nights a week on MSNBC. Maddow, 46, is an unabashed liberal who features in-depth news analysis on her program. She is a lesbian who, is partnered with Susan Mikula, an artist and photographer.

Maddow was raised in the Catholic Church. Despite the Church’s homophobia, she told Maron, she never experienced a crisis of faith or abandoned her religion. As a young woman, Catholicism was relegated to the background while she focused on her self-development.

Maron, a comedian and interviewer, responded to her conjecture that the Catholic Church would be unhappy with her membership, by saying, The Church “has enough problems. You are the least of them.”

“When you have those kinds of problems though,” Maddow said, “I’m exactly the kind of problem you want to focus on.”

Maron continued, “Where do you find comfort? Were you in a darkness?”

“No,” Maddow said. “I find prayer to be helpful in my own life.”

Maron said, “I can understand that. I’ve prayed before, but I don’t know what I am praying to. The act of it is something.”

“I very rarely pray out loud,” explained Maddow. “I’m always just praying in my head. The act of stopping what your brain is otherwise going to do to do a deliberate thing, which is based around giving thanks, is both a reset—in a way that’s a psychic pause—but I also think it helps you get your head on straight. It makes me not a better person but more the person that I want to be.”

Gratitude and humility

Maron asked, “So it’s primarily around gratitude?”

“Yeah, it’s around gratitude and humility and acknowledging things that I’m doing wrong,” Maddow replied.

Maron observed, “If you say I’m going to humble yourself, that’s a well-worn psychic channel.”

“Yes!” said Maddow. “And it works, honestly. Prayer is a daily part of my life. It has made my life better, made me a happier person and made me more effective at the things I want to do.”

Asked Maron, “Have you been unhappy?”

Maddow said, “I have depression so that’s a different thing than unhappiness.”

“For your whole life?” Maron asked.

“Since I was ten,” Maddow replied.

“Do you get the heavy heart, the dread?” he asked.

“My depression is cyclical so it’s not every day. What happens is I get it for a throw of a few days every few weeks,” Maddow explained. “When it happens, I lose the will to live. Nothing has any meaning.

“I used to have a pretty even balance of mania and depression. Now I have very little mania.”

She has never used medication to treat her depression. “There are things that are good for me. Exercise is good for me. Susan can see [my depression] like a light switch. Even after living with it for 36 years, I still can’t tell when I’m depressed. Part of depression is not being able to have emotional consciousness.”

Maddow is touring the country in support of her latest book, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth. Blowout is an examination of how the oil and gas industry has contributed to the decline of democracy.

[Excerpts from Maron’s interview with Maddow have been edited for clarity.]

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