Jenny McCarthy: From Catholic School to Playboy

“…my 8th book comes out in October called Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic!”

Full story.

Since her book comes out in October, it was difficult to find exactly what she thinks she’s “recovering” from. But I did find this quote from her elsewhere:*That one’s called Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic and it’s basically my coming-of-age story from the time I was six until now and all about the hilarious and sometimes horrific stories and being raised by nuns and sins that have gone on along the way and questioning the rules and it’s really insightful.*It’s rather telling that incorporating “Catholic” into a book’s title was considered an advantageous marketing decision. There is, after all, quite a lucrative market ready to buy that which decries the Church.

Maybe what we need are some well-heeled celebrity Catholics to be more vocal about their faith. So sick of people like her. Where are the good-guys on our side?

Lolo Jones recently came out in support of virginity before marriage, and the media mocks her as Tebow’s ideal mate, as if they are the only 2 virgins in the world.

There are a few good Catholics in Hollyweird. Personally, I’d prefer that they’re not the publicity hound that Jenny McCarthy seems to be. I’d rather have a Catholic celebrity humble than one that constantly has to toot their own horn. This is her 8TH BOOK, quite a lot for someone that has never really done anything too noteworthy other than pose in Playboy, date Jim Carrey and make tv movies/B-grade movies.

Well, there’s always Mel Gibson…

[quote=PatriceA]This is her 8TH BOOK, quite a lot for someone that has never really done anything too noteworthy other than pose in Playboy, date Jim Carrey and make tv movies/B-grade movies.

Don’t sell her short. She also hosted MTV’s Singled Out, and has been a leading activist in the movement claiming vaccines cause autism, which I assume one or two of her books have been about (though I really have no idea). has nothing on the book, so it’s too early to tell. Having been involved in deciding book titles for the media company I work for, it’s also not possible to tell if she, her agent or her publisher made the decision regarding the book’s title.

It’s a shame that a few “former Catholics” in Hollywood have gone on to bash it. But, I have a friend who was raised Catholic like me, went through an atheist phase, and is now back to being Catholic.


Our friends over at had an article about this back in October 2011 (a commenter there says she has an aunt who is a nun, so maybe there’s hope). It seems the original title was going to be “Sinner: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic”. Deacon Greg quotes her in an Entertainment Weekly article as saying:*Most young girls in my neighborhood played with Cabbage Patch dolls for fun. I played with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph dolls. I had every intention of becoming a nun someday. But hilarious events that unfolded in my upbringing made me question my future occupation and the contradictions I faced at home and at one of the most prestigious all-girl Catholic schools on the South Side of Chicago. This book tells the story of what went wrong, or, as I would put it now, what went right. Or as Hugh Hefner eventually put it, Playmate of the Year.*As I read this, it seems that she says of her upbringing that because of “contradictions” she saw, her aspiration to be a nun was “wrong” and going into porn was “right.” The school was Mother McAuley where she claims she got her hair set on fire and was bullied there. I’m no psychologist, and as has been said, the book hasn’t come out yet, but this story might point to someone who is acting out in rebellion against the symbol of the place where she had bad memories - i.e. a place iconic of Catholicism. …that her lifestyle choices amounted to “punches” at Catholicism.

Well just that statement alone makes me wonder who’s really to blame. People like her or the fact that our worst stereotypes actually exist and their mere existence perpetuates them in media 100x over?

No people, I don’t advocate getting rid of how the media magnifies them anymore. I think it’s high time we took responsibility and deal with these stereotypes at the source.

The only problem I have with a blanket statement like that is that I don’t know a single wronged, reformed Catholic whose horror stories about the wrongs they suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church actually reflect reality. I have one friend who will talk your ear off about the bullying and abuse he suffered in grade school, and will tell you how the teachers, principals, priests and nuns were not only aware of his suffering but were actually complicit in it. The only problem with his tales is that they all stem from a single embarrassing fight on the playground which he started then lost. Another guy left the Church because of the wrongs he suffered during the abuse scandal. Granted, he wasn’t molested or abused in any way, and the wrongs he suffered were actually repercussions from the years of crime and drugs he got himself involved in after he’d left our Catholic school and started in the public school system, but it sounds a lot better to blame everything on the Church than for him to say he was an idiot. I could give you at least a dozen other examples, all of whom still or now blame the Church for things that didn’t actually happen in their lives 15-30 years ago. And none of them are fame-hungry media whores with a large financial motivation to stretch the truth a bit.

I hope the publisher doesn’t go with the tentative book cover they show on their website

And every single one of them is irrelevant because you misread my statement. What, you think I was only talking about scandalous stereotypes?

I’ve seen plenty of people on these very boards who fit the very kind of straw men the media types stitch up about our religion.

My statement stands: It’s high time we dealt with the source.

Once again, until the book comes out, we won’t know. The company I work for also puts out “tentative” covers before release. If this one creates a stir, at least among Catholics, then whoever is in charge may change it. Celebrities are essentially controlled by agents, and depending on her contract for this book, by the publisher.

As a graphic design consultant, I find the cover very offensive. Thank you for posting the link.


Don’t sell her short? This is the same woman that had Rosie O’Donnell try to get Tim Tebow to date her so she could “de-virginize” him. She’s trashy, doesn’t matter how many books she’s written about her son’s situation.

Raise your hand if you knew she was coming out with a new book.

I’m sure Jenny McCarthy thanks you for the free advertising.

Informing other Catholics of scandal is unnecessary? I’ve worked in publishing for a number of decades and I read several trade publications. I know how this works. If this book is what I think it is, it will be on the remainder table for 60 or 70% off shortly.


I don’t have your depth of experience, but I have browsed the remainder tables at Barnes & Noble a few times. What you say rings true to me.

I’m pretty sure I read it right. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t believe the negative/scandalous stereotypes exist in the numbers you think they do, and certainly not in the numbers the media would like you to believe they do. Focusing more on them would be a waste of resources. I’m sure Jenny McCarthy was thrilled to write about all the horrible, nasty caricatures of nuns she’s seen in movies over the years and apply them to her life, but that doesn’t mean she actually had Sister Mary Margaret hitting her knuckles with a yardstick or bloodying her earlobes with a clicker every weekday morning at her school Masses.

To put it in a different perspective, I’ve heard stories from about half a dozen of my grade school classmates about our own terrible times trudging through Catholic school. A good number of the stories were lifted directly from the movie Heaven Help Us (and I can assure you that I didn’t grow up with Andrew McCarthy or Kevin Dillon). None of these things actually happened to us. Based on their agonized testimonials, though, should I write the parish priest or bishop and ask that the handful of those teachers who are still around be fired? Because if you ask the ones telling the stories, those teachers are the source and ought to be dealt with accordingly.

So long as even one real-life equivalent to a stereotype exists? Why shouldn’t we eliminate them?

You’re just proving my point. You say the media blows things out of proportion. They wouldn’t if they didn’t have anything to blow out. Again, kill the source. Once the source is dead and dealt with, the magnified versions in the media will cease to exist.

It’s like when you see something big through a magnifying glass. Take out what’s being magnified and the big, frightening ant monster is no more.

My point, though, is that those things these people are complaining about didn’t actually exist in our school (I’d lay odds that the same is true for a lot of others as well). Johnny never had to kneel in front of the class holding a stack of books in each of his outstretched hands. Gary never never got slapped around by the priest for anything he said in the confessional. The teachers never raided the soda stand across the street from the school and took all our cigarettes…heck, we didn’t even have a soda stand across the street from the school. What good would it do going after these teachers, priests and nuns for these horrible misdeeds that never took place? How should we reprimand them in order to stamp out these stereotypes they didn’t propagate?

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