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273 of 299 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb expose of a deeply hypocritical woman, 12 July 2008
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This review is from: The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (Paperback)
During her lifetime, Mother Teresa was as close to canonization as it was possible to get without actually being dead. The front cover of Time magazine called her a "Living Saint". A cult of holiness surrounded her and in the eyes of the media and many politicians she could do no wrong. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded numerous honors in the countries she visited.

The facts however didn't match the illusion and public perception and Christopher Hitchens had the courage to say so. He exposes her revolting attitude towards the dying, namely that they were there to die and to suffer; in that way they became closer to Christ. Care, compassion and alievement of pain were practically non-existent in her `clinics'. Standard clinical procedures and medical diagnosis was also spurned because they were materialistic. Provenance was to be preferred at all times. Hitchens also shows deceit was practiced as a matter of course towards those of other religions who were secretly baptized without their knowledge by sisters who were supposed to be caring for them.

Then there is her fawning over politicians, including some of the worst despots of the latter twentieth century. The Duvalier's of Haiti and Hoxha of her native Albania were amongst the most notoriously repressive regimes, yet as Hitchens documents, this living saint was there giving them her blessing. If she could preach her message against abortion and her present advocacy of unlimited population growth at the same time, so much the better. Not so much reducing the suffering in the world as adding to it would appear to be Mother Teresa's legacy.

There is also the little matter of money and as Hitchens points out, there is rather a lot of it, that was handed over in the name of charity or humanitarian support. Very little of this ever went to benefit the poor for whom it was intended. Rather it disappeared into unaudited bank accounts. One account in the Bronx had over $50 million dollars, yet Mother Teresa was on record as saying she wouldn't accept altruism. She was quite happy to accept money from fraudsters such as Charles Keating, but ignored a letter from the man investigating Keating's massive thefts requesting its return. It might also be asked where the money came from which allowed Teresa to fly around the world often at short notice. As far as I know, the world's commercial airlines have never operated a policy of free seats to the religious.

Hitchens' book does not set out to be a hatchet job but he has not surprisingly received a fair amount of criticism for writing it. However there has never been any convincing explanations put forward by Teresa's apologists to any of Hitchen's criticisms, yet there has been much silence since he former living saint was hoisted to a higher plane following beatification in 2003. For those who are determined to see Mother Teresa as the embodiment of religious holiness nothing will convince them of anything untoward. However, if you do have doubts about the abuse of religious power and the ways in which all manner of lies are justified on the back of adherence to religious dogma, this book will provide a most illuminating window into a highly corrupt world.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Feb 2012 22:43:20 GMT
J. Black says:
This is an exceptional review, in fact a summary of the book.
Well done and thanks
James Black LLB

Posted on 22 Mar 2012 20:20:02 GMT
I met Mother Teresa and worked for her. Years later I had first hand knowledge of how children with curable ailments were in her care and left to die as Catholics were treated.I appauad Hitchens. God forbid they make her a Saint. Not to mention Pope John Paul II - a fascist Popoe if ever there was, I did a Ph.D. on the Papacy, it makes me so angry to think that piosity is taken as spiritual maturity. Hitchens is dead long live Hitchens.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2014 09:46:54 BDT
PL Marey says:
Hello, A Ph.D. on the Papacy, could you please let me know where you did this? Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2014 19:38:39 BDT
Hello there Ms? Marey, Thank you for your comment on my post and yes I did research in the 80s at Lancaster, specifically on what constituted Orthodoxy in the Catholic Church around the time of the Anti-Modernist backlash under Pius X in the 19 noughties with the Encyclical : 'Pascendi Domini Gregis' in 1907.The context was the publication in 1908 of 'Medievalism' by George Tyrrell SJ and the clash between 2 apparent orthodoxies in the prophetic and priestly traditions of the Church. I hope this helps but I don't know where your interests lie - probably not in the arcane world of Ultramontanism of 120 years ago. Fond Regards Patrick Hannibal in Brighton
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