The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

Christopher Hitchens

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 1455523003

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"A religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermonizer, and an accomplice of worldly secular powers. Her mission has always been of this kind. The irony is that she has never been able to induce anybody to believe her. It is past time that she was duly honored and taken at her word."

Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than THE MISSIONARY POSITION, Christopher Hitchens's meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa.

A Nobel Peace Prize recipient beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated by heads of state and adored by millions for her work on behalf of the poor. In his measured critique, Hitchens asks only that Mother Teresa's reputation be judged by her actions-not the other way around.

With characteristic élan and rhetorical dexterity, Hitchens eviscerates the fawning cult of Teresa, recasting the Albanian missionary as a spurious, despotic, and megalomaniacal operative of the wealthy who long opposed measures to end poverty, and fraternized, for financial gain, with tyrants and white-collar criminals throughout the world.

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someretrospectiveredemption.But for those work of non-christian lands, it was decreed that the conversionwas an imPerative' 77 THE M I SSI O NARY PO SI TI O N It is, in a sense,a pity that this work will always be rememberedfor its associationeither with conquest,with religious fratricide or with imperialism. Very frequently, the main consequencewas sanguinaryconflict between different branches of Christianity itseH. (t ong after the Catholic Crusadersgot to Jerusalem,for example,they

and Bose and Mrinal Sen,and of a great flowering of culture and nationalism. There are films, theatr€s, university departments and magazines,all of a high quality. The photographs of Raghubir Singh are a testamentto the vitality of the people, aswell as to the beautyandvariety of the architecfure. Secular-leftistpolitics predominate,with a very strong internationalisttemper: hardly unwelcomein a region so poisonedby brute religion. When I paid my own visit to the city someyears ago, I immediately

filled. I had begun to fumble for a contribution when Mother Tbresa turned to me and said,with a gesturethat seemedto take in the whole scene,'See,this is how we fieht abortionand contraception.' If not for this, it would have been trifling to point out the drop-in-a-bucket contribution that suc:ha small establishment makes to such a gigantic'problem. But it is difficult to spendany time at all in Calcuttaand conclude that what it most needsis a campaignagainstpopulation control. Nor, of

newspaperswho were saying things like: '\ fe hear you've just come back from India with Malcolm Muggeridge and you were the witnessof a miracle.' And a star was born. Ken Macmillan'stestimonycame fag far too late to preventthe spread,largely by the televisual and mass-mediamethods that Muggeridge affected to despise,of the reported 'miracle'.Ratherthan 'the first authenticphotographicmiracle', this episodeis actually something considerablymore significant. It is the first unarguable refutation of

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