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The Making of a Saint
October 18, 2003 9:11 PM   Subscribe

The Final Verdict. Mother Teresa will be beatified today. While the media mostly uncritically reproduced even the wildest claims about her life and work, Calcutta-born writer Aroup Chatterjee has the hard facts on her case. Unlike Christopher Hitchens' polemic "The Missionary Position", Chatterjee's book is full of citations and paints a grim picture of the "gutter saint". The entire book, sans pictures, is available for free online. The reality: Aside from her fanatical opposition to abortion, condoms and the pill, which dominated much of her life since the 1970s, her order's activities often did more harm than help, it celebrates pain and suffering to an absurd extent, and was not involved at all in the major crises and disasters of the subcontinent. If you don't have time to read 400 pages, the Wikipedia article about her gives a much more balanced picture than most media reports.
posted by Eloquence (63 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
it's time we put an end to this barbaric practice once and for all. i was once beatified quite badly in college, and i can't imagine someone actually attacking mother teresa in such a brutal manner. crime is out of control. i blame bush.
posted by quonsar at 9:16 PM on October 18, 2003 [2 favorites]


One assumes that the calumny that Mother Theresa has received (some of it deserved, some of it not, IMHO) is a direct result of her having been alive within the past six years. Too many living people with too many differing viewpoints on the person.

In normal practice, beatification takes place as much as a couple of hundred years after the person has passed on. Therefore, the attention of the public is generally only invited to those aspects of the person for which the person is being elevated to sainthood (e.g., miracles ascribed to, good works without benefit of polemicists like Hitchens, etc.).

That being said, I have always been puzzled by the vitriolic nature of a lot of the criticism of Mother Theresa over the issue of her strong stance on abortion. She was a Roman Catholic nun. They do sort of have that thing about abortion being murder. Those who are not Catholic are not expected to understand because you're not a member of the club.
posted by MAYORBOB at 9:23 PM on October 18, 2003


The catholics must need a hero, quick.
So, who is in charge of papal PR nowadays?
posted by mischief at 9:27 PM on October 18, 2003


St. Quonsar of the Holy Smock? ; >

I hate that I can't admire her any more--the more you learn, the less good it seems like she really did--and those secret baptisms (from the wikipedia) are just abhorrent. How dare she, a religious person, ignore the religions of the people she supposed to be caring for. Money is much better given to reputable charities than on her "missions" i guess.

I'm with the husband on the "miracle." And fast-tracking her for sainthood is not such a good idea. Don't you need more than one miracle to become a saint anyway?
posted by amberglow at 9:33 PM on October 18, 2003


i guess all the soup kitchens were some sort of mass hallucination on the part of the poor.

you know something ? i had no idea roman catholic nuns were opposed to birth control , i can actually see the veil being lifted from my eyes as i'm typing,what a naive creature i have been.

where were you when people were starving , smartass ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:37 PM on October 18, 2003


One of my mother's closest friends was a Catholic priest, even though none of the family were Catholic (or even churchgoers). One night when he was around for dinner, and after a few Chardonnays, the subject of Mother Teresa came up, and he started his rant about her, basically iterating what Hitchens et al. have said for years -- that she was a political figure, not a religious one, and that the Mission of Charity was a cult of personality centred around her. So I don't think that the acceptance of her as a saint (or Saint) is universal throughout the church.
posted by John Shaft at 9:42 PM on October 18, 2003


>They do sort of have that thing about abortion being murder.

The criticisms have a lot more to do with abortion.

From here
Free Inquiry: According to polls, Mother Teresa is the most respected woman in the world. Her name is a by-word for selfless dedication in the service of humanity. So why are you picking on this sainted old woman?

Christopher Hitchens: Partly because that impression is so widespread. But also because the sheer fact that this is considered unquestionable is a sign of what we are up against, namely the problem of credulity. One of the most salient examples of people's willingness to believe anything if it is garbed in the appearance of holiness is the uncritical acceptance of the idea of Mother Teresa as a saint by people who would normally be thinking - however lazily - in a secular or rational manner. In other words, in every sense it is an unexamined claim.

It's unexamined journalistically - no one really takes a look at what she does. And it is unexamined as to why it should be she who is spotlighted as opposed to many very selfless people who devote their lives to the relief of suffering in what we used to call the "Third World." Why is it never mentioned that her stated motive for the work is that of proselytization for religious fundamentalism, for the most extreme interpretation of Catholic doctrine? If you ask most people if they agree with the pope's views on population, for example, they say they think they are rather extreme. Well here's someone whose life's work is the propagation of the most extreme version of that.

That's the first motive. The second was a sort of journalistic curiosity as to why it was that no one had asked any serious questions about Mother Teresa's theory or practice. Regarding her practice, I couldn't help but notice that she had rallied to the side of the Duvalier family in Haiti, for instance, that she had taken money - over a million dollars - from Charles Keating, the Lincoln Savings and Loans swindler, even though it had been shown to her that the money was stolen; that she has been an ally of the most reactionary forces in India and in many other countries; that she has campaigned recently to prevent Ireland from ceasing to be the only country in Europe with a constitutional ban on divorce, that her interventions are always timed to assist the most conservative and obscurantist forces.
posted by skallas at 9:45 PM on October 18, 2003


I highly recommend the rest of that interview if one wants to understand the controversy surrounding M. Theresa. I'm not going to cut and paste the juicy parts.
posted by skallas at 9:52 PM on October 18, 2003


St. Quonsar of the Holy Smock?

I, personally, would be equally disposed to St Stavrosthewonderchicken of the Most Holy and Mysterious Bottle of Empty Tasty Beverage.
posted by PeteyStock at 10:19 PM on October 18, 2003


MetaTalk, with regret.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:20 PM on October 18, 2003


*dons Holy Smock, covers pentagram with throw rug, hurries down to St. Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast*
posted by quonsar at 10:41 PM on October 18, 2003


Hey! He stole the margarine!
posted by yhbc at 10:52 PM on October 18, 2003


For a moment there, I read "Mother Theresa will be beautified today".

/obvious
posted by timyang at 11:04 PM on October 18, 2003


where can I buy Mother Teresa(tm) relics?
posted by titboy at 11:20 PM on October 18, 2003


Here.
posted by emf at 12:33 AM on October 19, 2003


Just a strange little news blurb that I hadn't encountered before: Archbishop: Mother Teresa underwent exorcism.
posted by taz at 12:48 AM on October 19, 2003


I guess it didn't work...
posted by dabitch at 6:25 AM on October 19, 2003


One of the most salient examples of people's willingness to believe anything if it is garbed in the appearance of holiness is the uncritical acceptance of the idea of Mother Teresa as a saint by people who would normally be thinking - however lazily - in a secular or rational manner.

That's a beautiful sentence.
posted by rushmc at 7:05 AM on October 19, 2003


You know, even though I understand the criticisms of the author of the book and people here, I still find this whole exchange incredibly depressing.

Being raised catholic, Mother Teresa was always held up to us as an example of selflessness and charity, and even though her political zealotry was in favor of causes I disagreed with strongly, I was always willing to overlook that because well, she was taking care of orphans and lepers and what the hell was I doing that I could take potshots.

Now, a large chunk of the world is going to make her a saint. Another chunk of the world dosen't see it that way, indeed is picking her apart with glee. I dunno where my opinion finally lies on the subject, but I always liked the idea that there were "saintly" people out there, it gave me a weird kind of hope for humanity. And Teresa was always the living example of this for us. And it seems to be getting torn away, yet another hope biting the dust. Depressing.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 AM on October 19, 2003 [1 favorite]


Being raised catholic...
Many of the naysayers are non-catholics, and as such, their opinions have no bearing on what the Vatican decides.
posted by mischief at 8:24 AM on October 19, 2003


eek. I'm supposed to be Catholic, by education and baptism, and I say "Nay" (to mostly everything). Is the Vatican listening now?
posted by taz at 8:38 AM on October 19, 2003


Being raised catholic, Mother Teresa was always held up to us as an example of selflessness and charity

I think this is exactly the point being made, that you have been sold a bill of goods, and that few bothered to assess the reality of the situation, content to swallow the package as presented.
posted by rushmc at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2003


As a Wiccan I really can't see why I should care one way or the other.
posted by nyxxxx at 8:56 AM on October 19, 2003


As a Jew, I am craving a pastrami sandwich.
posted by adrober at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2003


This Pope, he just cranks out these saints!

They sure do bring home the bacon.

Meanwhile, I'd make the call that Beatifying Mother Teresa is a purely political act on the part of Pope John Paul which cheapens the odd institution of "Sainthood" . Mother Teresa both helped many, and also committed some fairly nasty acts in her long nunnish life. So she was human, and sometimes saintly even. But sometimes not.

I'd make the call that Beatifying Mother Teresa is a purely political act on the part of Pope John Paul which cheapens the odd institution of "Sainthood", reducing to the level of a PR tool for the Catholic Church.

The real shame in this lies in the fact that there ARE many saints (bone fide miracles aside) out there. I've met some - they are generally unsung and little noticed. They selflessly help others, work long hours, and complain little if at all. And they have neither money nor time for self promotion to the ranks of the officially designated saints or revered figures of anyone's pantheon, whether it be Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, Subgenius or other.

Eloquence - Thanks for the post.
posted by troutfishing at 9:31 AM on October 19, 2003


Oops - "cut and paste" sin. Mea Culpa, and I'll do a thousand genuflections in the direction of St. Teresa,

"selfless-and-tireless-mother-of-grim-mercy-and-occaisonally-unintentional-sadism".


But I'll never be a saint. Damn.
posted by troutfishing at 9:40 AM on October 19, 2003


And in any case, I prefer St. Theresa

"......She was very devout and she even dreamed of being a martyr at the hands of the infidels.  But as she grew into adolescence, her religious fervor cooled and she actually became somewhat vain and sentimental.  She lost all interest in religion, and began preferring instead romance novels and beautiful clothes....."
posted by troutfishing at 9:44 AM on October 19, 2003


I hereby and forthwith sanctify you as St. Troutfishing of the Good Comment and the Bad Spelling (occaisonally?)

I've met some - they are generally unsung and little noticed. They selflessly help others, work long hours, and complain little if at all. And they have neither money nor time for self promotion... -- so true...our local cable station does a NYer of the Week highlighting some of them.
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on October 19, 2003


As a subgenious, I'm just looking for a way to make a buck off of gullible catholics.
posted by 2sheets at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2003


Meanwhile, her hometown of Skopje has been keeping the spirit of compassion and love alive, by fighting about whether she is a "daughter of Macedonia" or an "Albanian." More here.
posted by Ljubljana at 10:49 AM on October 19, 2003


Aside from her fanatical opposition to abortion, condoms and the pill

OH NO! Not abortion, our most sacred institution. Anti-saints preserve us!
posted by insomnyuk at 11:22 AM on October 19, 2003 [1 favorite]


there is quite a precedent for freaky saints...

St. Juliana Falconieri .... An extraordinary occurrence, mentioned in the oratio of her feast day, took place at her death. Being unable to receive Holy Communion because of constant vomiting, she requested the priest to spread a corporal upon her breast and lay the Host on it... (fortunately icon painters have focused more on the wafer than the puke - might seem a bit too Exorcist otherwise)

St. Agatha ... Especially inhuman seemed his order to have her breasts cut off, a detail which furnished to the Christian medieval iconography the peculiar characteristic of Agatha. (prompting ages of the dreaded parental question when icon shopping, "mommy, what are those things she's carrying on a tray?")

St. Erasemus ... has "his intestines being drawn out and wound around a windlass", gagh! I'm tempted to say NSFW, but how about just NSIYE (not safe if you are eating, sorry if it's too late now)

anyone else got any favorites?
posted by milovoo at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2003


Just as an aside, it seems that some people (here, and in the Metatalk thread,) have confused beatification with canonization. Canonization is when one is recognized as a Saint, beatification is kind of a lesser degree of recognition, however, Saints are generally beatified before canonized.
posted by Snyder at 11:43 AM on October 19, 2003


This Pope, he just cranks out these saints!

They sure do bring home the bacon.

Meanwhile, I'd make the call that Beatifying Mother Teresa is a purely political act on the part of Pope John Paul which cheapens the odd institution of "Sainthood" .


Really? I'd say it's more of the bishops and those under the Pope that are pushing for it. Those with more PR on their mind. The Pope is relatively conservative, so I'm not sure if he'd be the one pushing this forward so quickly.
posted by mkn at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2003


Hey, nothing that Christ Inc. does surprises me these days. It always strikes me that most of what comes out of the Vatican would be the modern decadence and stupidity that the biblical Christ would have fought against.

I have to keep reminding myself that Christianity is nothing to do with Christ and his teachings!
posted by daveg at 11:59 AM on October 19, 2003


The Pope is relatively conservative, so I'm not sure if he'd be the one pushing this forward so quickly.

Is he? I heard a few days ago that he'd canonized more people than ALL of his predecessors put together! And he's increased the traditional number of cardinals, as well as a number of other seemingly fairly radical changes.

Here's my question: if Christians maintain that only God is qualified/justified in judging human beings (deciding who goes to heaven, "judge not lest ye be judged," etc.), then why is the Catholic church even in the business of granting special status to dead people?

"Stain" is an anagram of "saint"...coincidence?
posted by rushmc at 12:12 PM on October 19, 2003


Mother Teresa Breath Freshener. (self-link)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:52 PM on October 19, 2003


confused beatification with canonization
Splitting hairs? Or, did the old woman keep it shaved? ;-P
posted by mischief at 1:55 PM on October 19, 2003


rushmc: Martin Luther and many subsequent Protestants asked that very question, among others...
posted by unreason at 2:17 PM on October 19, 2003


Now, a large chunk of the world is going to make her a saint. Another chunk of the world dosen't see it that way, indeed is picking her apart with glee. I dunno where my opinion finally lies on the subject, but I always liked the idea that there were "saintly" people out there, it gave me a weird kind of hope for humanity. And Teresa was always the living example of this for us. And it seems to be getting torn away, yet another hope biting the dust. Depressing.

Just because Mother Theresa wasn't actually a living example of true humanity doesn't mean there aren't such examples out there in the world, though. The thing about Theresa is that she was radically devoted to religion, and hence to heaven and not earth, so the painful lives and deaths of people were not tragedies by her estimation, but rather godly acts.

Heaven's gate or jim jones people had a similar attitude and were considered nutjobs, and it seems to me that a main reason was that they were consistent, and considered themselves part of the group for whom escape from material life was a blessing. Theresa felt that the poor were holy in suffering and dying from curable diseases, but when she required medical treatment, it was somehow okay for her to fly to the best available facilities, and save her life. That's really kind of crappy.

But jonmc, I don't think that the existence of one crappy person means there's no hope for the human race. Sadly she was talked up a bit too much, when really most peace corps volunteers are doing easily as much good for the world. In a way that's positive though - there are a lot of peace corps volunteers.

I'm not trying to say she had no good intentions, by the way. But it really seems like martyrdom by proxy, which is exactly not what martyrdom is. Being near those facing a truly painful life doesn't make you saintly, and the degree of ascetism she lived was hardly unusual in the world.
posted by mdn at 2:57 PM on October 19, 2003


The world needs someone to look up to.

Unlike a lot of other important people on this earth (many of them Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings, or even Queens) Mother Theresa felt she was honestly trying to help people. And, I suspect, on the average, she certainly did.

Unlike myself, who, on the average, hasn't devoted his life to helping others.

So, the question is, who is the modern day helper? Who is it we should be looking up to? I can't think of many people, perhaps Ghandi is on the list, but then, if I were Pakistani I wouldn't be saying that.
posted by shepd at 3:06 PM on October 19, 2003


Here's my question: if Christians maintain that only God is qualified/justified in judging human beings (deciding who goes to heaven, "judge not lest ye be judged," etc.), then why is the Catholic church even in the business of granting special status to dead people?

This is why I'm a Protestant.
posted by marcusb at 3:19 PM on October 19, 2003


Unlike a lot of other important people on this earth (many of them Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings, or even Queens) Mother Theresa felt she was honestly trying to help people. And, I suspect, on the average, she certainly did.

Wrong on both counts. Most "important people," even the horrible dictators, do think they're helping people; mustache-twirling villains exist pretty much exclusively in B-movies. As for "she certainly did," did you actually read the links? Does this sound like helping people?
I don't know if she [a dying woman with TB] had any family. If she did, they would almost certainly not have been allowed to see her, because families are strongly discouraged from visiting their relatives at the home. What I do know, or at least I was told, by an American doctor working at Kalighat, was that she might have lived if she had received some hospital treatment. Yet Mother Teresa's policy is not one of intervention... God decides who lives and who dies. People are better off in heaven than in the operating theatre. Thus, instead of using her influence and income to finance a properly equipped hospital, Mother Teresa and her Sisters continue to give aspirin to patients with cancer, linctus to those with TB, and glucose drips with old needles rinsed in cold water to those in comas. And everyone, regardless of creed, gets a good Catholic funeral.
That's by Mary Louden, who spent time as a volunteer worker in one of the mission's homes. I think mdn has a pretty balanced judgment. Just because she was mainly a product of pr doesn't mean there aren't real "saints" (in the sense of people who spend their lives genuinely helping other people).
posted by languagehat at 3:24 PM on October 19, 2003


Someone pointed out that the Wikipedia article about Mother Teresa was largely written by me. While that is certainly true (although it is changing as we speak), the main post of this article is Aroup Chatterjee's book, not the Wikipedia article, the latter being mostly a summary of the criticisms. So I find it hardly fair to characterize this post as self-promotional.
posted by Eloquence at 4:29 PM on October 19, 2003


But jonmc, I don't think that the existence of one crappy person means there's no hope for the human race. Sadly she was talked up a bit too much, when really most peace corps volunteers are doing easily as much good for the world. In a way that's positive though - there are a lot of peace corps volunteers.

It's not so much that I think theres no hope in the "we're all gonna DIE!!" sense, more in the "everyone's motives are suspect" sense: the Peace Corps kids wanna work off white liberal guilt, have something cool to put on their resumes, chase aborginal babes, speread western imperialism, whatever. Mother Teresa wanted to spread hardcore catholic hocus-pocus apparently. The only way to not have suspect motives is to be utterly unmotivated. I'm working very hard on that.

Oh dear.
posted by jonmc at 4:29 PM on October 19, 2003 [1 favorite]


This is why I'm a Protestant.
posted by marcusb at 5:19 PM CST on October 19


Well, marcusb, I'll be sure to mention to the St. Luke's Lutheran Church down the street that they've ceased to be Protestant. Many Protestant churches recognize and revere saints.

And while we're on the subject, the Catholic Church doesn't claim to make anyone a saint. The process of beatification and cannonization is a simple recognition by those here on earth that someone has lived a life which implies that their final stop was Heaven. We're all called to be saints, and in fact, if we make it to Heaven, we are saints, regardless of our religious practices while on earth. Saints named by the Catholic Church are done so out of acknowledgement, not by fiat.
posted by donnagirl at 4:59 PM on October 19, 2003


So I find it hardly fair to characterize this post as self-promotional.

criticising mother teresa good ,

criticising eloquence bad .

glad we got that one sorted out.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:00 PM on October 19, 2003


Well, Mr. Serenity, I do not remember "criticizing" Mother Teresa on the level on which you were "criticizing" me, namely, by calling me a "smartass". If you bothered to read even parts of Mr. Chatterjee's book, you would know that he tries very hard to be balanced and even defends Mother Teresa against some accusations. I expect those who criticize me to try to stay on about the same level of personal maturity and intellectual honesty.

As for your soup kitchen claim, again, read what Chatterjee writes. Mother Teresa systematically lied about the extent of these services, exaggerating them by orders of magnitude, and nobody called her on it. Even medium-sized charities in Calcutta do much more than Teresa's order, while Mother Teresa received much more money and attention than most of them. She deliberately exploited and nurtured this attention, and I do not think that this is fair. Furthermore, by not separating curables and incurables in her homes and denying medical help, she and her order contributed to the death and suffering of people who would have otherwise survived. The propaganda against contraception has been shown by the BBC documentary "Sex and the Holy City" to actually be taken seriously by millions of Catholics around the world, leading to more death and suffering. Mother Teresa systematically contributed to this as well -- in her later years she often spent more time proselytizing about the evils of abortion (even in rape and incest cases) and contraception than doing any work whatsoever with the poor in Calcutta.

Are you really interested in logical arguments, or do you just want to insult those who bring you information which you do not like?
posted by Eloquence at 5:40 PM on October 19, 2003


donnagirl-- The Lutherans do recognize saints, but they don't revere them. (I suspect that this is the case with most Protestant denominations.) In other words, Lutherans will say of a saint, "Yeah, they really worked to further the faith," but they won't pray to them or canonize new ones (or, really, do anything other than say nice things about them.)

I can only think of Lutheran and Episcopalian churches being named after saints, and as far as I know, these all involve the original 12 apostles. Practically, (at least as far as the Lutherans go) it's just a way to differentiate your church from the other one in town.
posted by nicething at 6:46 PM on October 19, 2003


I can only think of Lutheran and Episcopalian churches being named after saints, and as far as I know, these all involve the original 12 apostles.

Nah. I've been to or know of ECUSA churches named for St. David of Wales (and I may not be the best Christian on the planet, but I'll bet you my car that none of the apostles were Welshmen) and St. Barnabas. A quick google reveals lots of ECUSA churches named for St. Augustine, St. Clement, St. Thomas of Canterbury, Gregory, George, the list goes on.

Some Episcopalians might pray to a saint for intercession, others won't. AFAIK it's in the very large range of stuff that's neither required or solid doctrine nor forbidden.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:39 PM on October 19, 2003


insomnyuk:OH NO! Not abortion, our most sacred institution. Anti-saints preserve us!

What is this a troll? So soon after the last time you've been banned?

Yes, insomnyuk, many consider Roe v Wade an acknowledgement of a women's inherent and natural right to choose. Its a human right, and perhaps you've been spoiled by your perspective in growing up in post-RvW America and the right-wing rhetoric but I'm certain you do not want to see the days of finding a back alley doctor to perform such things come back.

Educate yourself here.
posted by skallas at 8:41 PM on October 19, 2003


donnagirl: We're all called to be saints, and in fact, if we make it to Heaven, we are saints, regardless of our religious practices while on earth. Saints named by the Catholic Church are done so out of acknowledgement, not by fiat.

I believe that Catholics only recognize saints that have already performed miracles which prove that they have an especially tight relationship with God up there in heaven. It's sort of a verification system for Catholics so they know who they can pray to when they're not getting the results they hope for, so that that person can intercede with God on their behalf.
posted by palegirl at 10:27 PM on October 19, 2003


Just to be clear, the Catholic church considers its priests, and particularly, the pontiff, to have apostolic authority deriving from Christ and therefore to act on behalf of God. Determining the virtue and holiness of one's fellow man is therefore well within their theological bounds.

Oh, and J2P2 is generally considered to be a "liberal" or "moderate" pope by Catholics. Fr. Francis Arinze, the leading candidate to replace him, is considered a "conservative", to illustrate the contrast.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:02 AM on October 20, 2003


This is why I'm a Protestant.


- How gratifying it is to look down upon the idolatrous masses and sneer feeling (mother) rather superior, hierarchical christianity.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:09 AM on October 20, 2003


many consider Roe v Wade

- I am sorry skallas but I cannot make the connection between ms theresa and roe v wade, unless the supreme courts rulings now count for something in the indian subcontinent. I think president bush will make a fitting empress of india.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:12 AM on October 20, 2003


If you bothered to read even parts of Mr. Chatterjee's book, you would know that he tries very hard to be balanced

I dont need to, i used to be fed from their soup kitchens.

anytime you want an experiential argument , give me a shout.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:39 AM on October 20, 2003


How gratifying it is to look down upon the idolatrous masses and sneer feeling (mother) rather superior, hierarchical christianity.

Yeah. That's exactly what I was doing.
posted by marcusb at 5:47 AM on October 20, 2003


Yeah. That's exactly what I was doing.

- See confession can be good for the soul, now say four hail marys'
posted by johnnyboy at 6:18 AM on October 20, 2003


Many of the naysayers are non-catholics, and as such, their opinions have no bearing on what the Vatican decides.

... neither does the opinion of the catholic ones, BTW.
posted by magullo at 7:13 AM on October 20, 2003


New from Hitchens: The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.
posted by homunculus at 1:39 PM on October 20, 2003


I think president bush will make a fitting empress of india.

Well you know you're not a real empire until you've conquered the sub-continent.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:04 PM on October 20, 2003


I dont need to, i used to be fed from their soup kitchens.

are you claiming that the descriptions and facts given by the above authors are inaccurate? Or just that it's okay that they let some people with curable illnesses die, citing god's will, because they gave you free soup?
posted by mdn at 6:48 PM on October 20, 2003


This is a minor papal sin compared to the beatification of a Nazi accomplice to genocide, who in a 1943 visit to Rome:
"...justified in part the measures used against the Jews, who in our country are the greatest defenders of crimes of this kind [abortions] and the most frequent perpetrators of them."
posted by talos at 2:33 AM on October 21, 2003


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