Christopher Hitchens was a "champagne socialist," which in most respects discredits anything he might say. His most famous publication, "God is Not Great," which is riddled with silly errors of fact and hyperbole, puts him beside Richard Dawkins as one of the wiser fools of this world. Nevertheless I think this account of Mother Teresa deserves wider attention. Please note that while Hitchens confuses Pius IX with Pius XI this in no way detracts from what is otherwise a fair assessment of Teresa's life and work.
I never much liked Mother Teresa for the same reasons I dislike pope Francis. It's the kind of philistinism and hypocrisy that goes with humility in public and the embrace of "the poor" just in time for a photo opportunity. In other words, "it's about me." There's a scripture for that (attend ye):
"Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always." John 12:4-8.And another:
"But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:3-4.In the light of God's Word, I am astounded by the millions of people, and they're not all Roman Catholics, who are taken in by this cult of personality, the "living saint" as one man puts it, or as Hitchens puts it, this auction of credulity and hyperbole. Is it just me? Is there some mandate for this kind of celebrity poverty in Scripture that I can't see? Because it's a tendency in the Roman Catholic church that goes back at least to Francis of Assisi, that mediaeval demoniac who confused taking up the Cross with material suffering and want, and the infamous "stigmata" upon his person as a miracle rather than what I consider to be a trick born of the idolatry and superstition of the Roman church. Teresa never had "stigmata," but that was of no consequence because her personal sanctity was seen as axiomatic by the world's corrupt political class and whose missionary industry was the praise of the whole world. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22). I'd rather go with the Word of God than the silly rhetoric of Ronald Reagan about "citizens of the world."
She is not yet "Saint" Teresa of Calcutta but we can already add her to the martyrology of bogus saints we have already examined so far. The only thing that I can in Teresa's favour in this respect is that she actually existed. This series has been in abeyance for months but when I return from my short break in Her Majesty's Western Isle I might take it up again.