Best-selling author Mary Karr, the author of “The Liar’s Club,” "Cherry," and "Lit: A Memoir," was interviewed by actress Lena Dunham for the latest edition of the Lenny Letter, an online magazine founded by Dunham.
Karr converted to Catholicism in 1996, and Dunham asked her about her faith:
LD: When you mentioned Jesus, it brought me to another thing that I had wanted to ask you. What's it like to be a person who thinks about and cares about Jesus and has religion in your life but hangs out with the New York literati?
MK: People think I'm an idiot. You just have to understand. I say to my liberal friends, here's the great thing about the Catholic Church. There's a tradition among laypeople like Dorothy Day and whatever, the leftist nuns in El Salvador, of working with the poor. Every religion, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, everybody says, "Take care of poor people and widows and orphans." It's not like it's a particularly Christian thing, but in the Catholic Church particularly, there is a tradition of leftist, hands-on events with the poor, not just write a check, but go work in the soup kitchen and volunteer at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying.
Anybody who knew me before I became Catholic would agree that I'm a better person. I disagree with a lot of the Church, but no religious thing is about doctrine. All religious things are about practice. I would just say to anybody, "Try any religious practice for 30 days. If you're cynical about religion, pray on your knees every day for 30 days and see if you feel better."