Maureen Dowd of the New York Times has been described in numerous publications as a practicing Catholic even though she’s compared the Church to the Taliban. But why might she believe that dead nuns are haunting her house because they’re upset about their vow of celibacy?

In her New Year’s column the writer talks about…well, see for yourself. She puts in her typical snarky cynicism about the whole thing but then why did she have this New Age person over?

Faith, the faith healer, is twirling a crystal over my green couch.

The pendulum is hovering above a chart, pointing to sources of negative energy in my house that need to be cleared.

The pendulum quivers and swings and slows and finally settles above the word “Curses.”

“That sounds scary,” I say.

Yes it does.

Faith, who says she is a “clairaudio,” as opposed to a clairvoyant, is talking to the pendulum, instructing the High Self Committee — which seems to be the spirit equivalent of the Co-op Board — to throw out all curses.

I’m having my house and body “cleared” for 2008, whatever that means. I’m more of a believer in mystery than mysticism. But I know for sure that New Year’s resolutions require too much discipline. An exorcism seems much easier.

Ashley Parker, a young woman who works with me, had been warning me that I was in grave karmic danger. Her mother, too, works with crystals and healing and says she was told she was a handmaiden in ancient Egypt in a past life. She instructed Ashley never to wear vintage clothes — which I often do — because bad vibes from previous owners could rub off.

Dowd described Faith Green as a pretty, curvy 31-year-old green-eyed blonde, says she has studied tribal shamanism, rolfing, Pilates, tango, movement and stretching. She calls herself a kinetic therapist. Here’s what she found in Dowd’s house:

Her crystal pendulum also identified some “discordant energy” in my house from angels who were meant to protect me but who had fallen prey to bad energy themselves, and from disconsolate spirits who may have been in a religious order.

“Was I a nun in a past life?” I ask, conjuring up a glamorous image of myself as Audrey Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story” rather than Rosalind Russell in “The Trouble With Angels.”

No, Faith explains, these bummed-out trapped souls are lurking from the past. She suggests they may just be unhappy with their vows of poverty, chastity, celibacy and obedience. You don’t need a Ouija board to know that.

This is the woman the New York Times has writing about culture and politics. Disconcerting to say the least.