Following my post yesterday on abusing children Mother Teresa style, I came across Christopher Hitchens’ article in the UK Mirror, “Why Mother Teresa Should Not Be a Saint.” I will quote only a bit here for the record but really you have to read the article to get a better understanding of what Teresa was all about. (I got to know of the article from a post by Anthony Loewenstein titled Mother Teresa Slammed Again.)
Here is Hitchens writing in Jan 2003:
Actually, it’s boasting to say that I “discovered” any of this. It was all there in plain sight for anyone to notice. But in the age of celebrity, nobody had troubled to ask if such a global reputation was truly earned or was simply the result of brilliant public relations.
“Wait a minute,” said a TV host in Washington a few nights ago, when I debated all this with Mr John Donahue of the Catholic Defence League. “She built hospitals.” No, sir, you wait a minute.
Mother Teresa was given, to our certain knowledge, many tens of millions of pounds. But she never built any hospitals. She claimed to have built almost 150 convents, for nuns joining her own order, in several countries. Was this where ordinary donors thought their money was going?
Furthermore, she received some of this money from the Duvaliers, and from Mr Charles Keating of the notorious Lincoln Savings and Loan of California, and both these sources had acquired the money by – how shall I put it? – borrowing money from the poor and failing to give it back.
How could this possibly be true? Doesn’t everyone know that she spent her time kissing the sores of lepers and healing the sick? Ah, but what everyone knows isn’t always true. You were more likely to run into Mother Teresa being photographed with Nancy Reagan, or posing with Princess Diana, or in the first-class cabin of Air India (where she had a permanent reservation).
You could see her in Ireland, campaigning against a law which would permit civil divorce and remarriage (though she publicly defended Princess Diana’s right to be divorced).
You could encounter her on the podium in Stockholm, accepting yet another huge cheque and telling the Nobel audience that the greatest threat to world peace was… abortion. (Since she added that contraception was morally as bad as abortion, she essentially held the view that condoms and coils were a deadly threat to world peace. The Church does not insist on that degree of fundamentalism.)
And when she got sick, she would check herself into the Mayo Clinic or some other temple of American medicine. As one who has visited her primitive “hospice” for the dying in Calcutta, I should call that a wise decision. Nobody would go there except to check out, in one way or another.
“Give a man a reputation as an early riser,” said Mark Twain “and that man can sleep till noon.” Give a woman a reputation for holiness and compassion and apparently nothing she does can cause her to lose it.