FT: What would you say your Catholic faith provides you in a positive way, on a day-to-day basis? Jim: My faith is very associated with the notion of mercy. I understand that there is something greater than myself that does not judge me in a negative manner—or forgives me I should say. For me, being in touch with the idea that I’m not in control of everything is important. When I find myself frustrated, I have some distance from that idea I’m not in charge, for instance in how this conference call is setup. Jeannie: It’s just something that we are. We live in New York City where there’s all sorts of different attitudes and lifestyles. We don’t try to hide it . . . it’s just who we are, it’s our real life. We just had a headline, “The Gaffigan Show is not about religion, it’s about their real life.” You can’t really win sometimes. …The strong portrayal of the Gaffigans’ Catholicism extends to the priesthood. Jim and Jeannie talked about the fact that growing up there was no stigma attached to the priesthood. But after the public nature of the sex abuse scandal, Jim said, “There’s no other occupation other than maybe a McDonald’s employee where if you walk around in your uniform people know exactly what you do. Now the priesthood has become such a lightning rod. But the priests we know are eccentric, intelligent, generous people.” Jeannie added, “The priests that have been influential in our lives and have become our friends are brilliant and generous people, and that’s our experience of priests. We don’t have any other experience of priests. . . . We are tired of the priest jokes.” Jim added that they didn’t want the priest to be “comedy fodder” but a priest who could be “a teacher to Jim . . . .and the opposite of American consumerism and superficiality.”
And check out the recent posts about them by my blog neighbor Kate O’Hare.