For interfaith couples made up of Jews and Catholics, there is frequently a myriad of guilt triggers to deal with on a regular basis.
In a classic case of making derma from kishkes, the sobering statistics on interfaith marriage from the Pew Research Center’s landmark 2013 study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” have led to a booming niche in relationship therapy.
Catholics and Jews have long been regarded in both academia and popular culture as the ne plus ultra of both guilt-inducing agents and recipients. For interfaith couples made up of Jews and Catholics, there is frequently a myriad of guilt triggers to deal with on a regular basis. For example, whose mother gets to hear first about milestones, which family occasions can be skipped with the least amount of passive-aggressive fallout, and whose fault it is that the baby got sick after that walk in the park that “I told you it was too misty for him.”
Accordingly, the mental health community has been ramping up efforts to help these couples deal with all of that extra guilt. Dr. Susan Lowenstein, a noted family therapist, points out that treatment protocols like “Yours, Mine and Our Faults,” “The Fault in Our Scars” and “Faulty Powers” have all met with some degree of success.
But, she adds, there is more work to be done. “Until patients can look at their mothers’ incoming calls and not feel an immediate urge to press the ‘Ignore’ button, we still have work to do.”
*This article is part of the Exponent's Purim shpiel edition.