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Dottoré!

A Confession At The Holy Church Of Therapy

"Who do you think I am," our Naples psychiatrist asks her patient, "a priest?"

Photo of the hand of a statue and a statue of an angel inside a Naples church

Statues in a Naples church

Mariateresa Fichele

As soon as I arrive at work, I get a call from a patient who says he urgently needs to talk to me:

"Ciro, what’s the matter? What happened?"

"Nothing, don’t worry! There’s just something I need to confess!"

"And why should I be the one you confess to? Who do you think I am, a priest?"

"Dottoré, what am I supposed to do? The churches are closed! If I die now, does this mean I have to carry my sins on my conscience forever? So I was thinking: If I come to you, you’d listen — and as penance, you can give me a little bit more therapy!"

"Ciro, what can I tell you. If you want to come, I am here."

"Thank you, Dottoré, you are a saint! But there’s something else I wanted to ask: You know that I don’t pay for our sessions because I am unemployed ... Well, while we’re at it, if I pay the regular fee, would you also be able to give me absolution?"


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And on another continent, parts of the U.S. are legislating to ensure that women can no longer have a legal abortion. In both cases, lurking patriarchal beliefs were allowed to reemerge when political leadership failed. We have an eerie feeling of travelling back through time. But how long has patriarchy dominated our societies?

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