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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

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Pat Malone

Carl,
This statement by Hitchens about Mother Teresa reminds me of GK Chesterton's comments in Orthodoxy about those who object to christianity. In GKC experience it was the agnostics/atheists who eventually convinced him of christianity. GKC points out that it was not a complication of disease's in christianity that was the issue, but a complication of disease's in the individual's attacking christianity. The statement made by Hitchens about Mother Teresa- "...a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud, and millions of people are much worse off because of her life, and it’s a shame there is no hell for your bitch to go to.” This proves to be a statement that adequately describes Hitchens himself. Other atheists see this too as evidenced by your previous article from the professor at FSU.

Mark Brumley

Unhitched from reality.

If, in the end, we're all mindless matter in motion, with no purpose or significance, and will cease to exist at death, really, what does it matter whether or not Mother Teresa caused people to be worse off than they would otherwise be? They won't recall it after death because they won't be anywhere. Sure, they may be suffering now--if you accept Hitchen's fallacious premise. But so what? Eventually, it will be as if they never existed. Their suffering will be as morally significant as hydrogen atoms undergoing fusion into helium in the middle of a star.

And one day the universe will run down, all life will have long since ceased to be--not that it meant anything while it existed, anyway--and that will have been it. The whole "story", of course, will not have been a story because there will be no minds to recall it and even if there were it would mean absolutely nothing.

Mr. Hitchens gets animated about religion. I can understand that his particular history as a biological organism with a certain set of psychological/biological responses has given rise to certain likes and dislikes in him and that religion is one of his dislikes. Why that should have any relevance to anything or anybody else, except emotional fellow travelers and as an annoyance to those of us to have a different set of likes and dislikes, is beyond me. I have yet to hear a coherent explanation from him. He seems to be on a moral campaign but it is hard to see how such a campaign means anything in the objectively meaningless universe Hitchens is convinced this universe is.

Jack

He is starting to sound possessed. Nauseating language. You read something like this and you wonder how awful it must have been for Jesus to die to redeem an arrogant, obnoxious soul like his.

twitter.com/diddlemorf

(http://radiotime.com/program/p_123379/The_Dennis_Miller_Show.aspx) is a link to the discussion. It was a dialog with Douglas Wilson of Christianity Today with Dennis Miller moderating, and the opinion is well known by people who know anything at all about Hitchens who wrote an book on his opinion about Mother Teresa. Miller does snicker at the comment, but I think more at Hitchen's audacity, than at thinking the comment was funny. The comment comes in toward the end of the interview, and is the last thing discussed.

Jackson

"...a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud."

A model of projection.

Warren Allen

Ahh the more to be pitied. Poor CH. Imagine having risen to such a point in ones career only to have to resort to cheap card tricks to get attention. Please don't encourage him in this behavior which is only to get attention.

Sadly this is the state of affairs in the post journalistic media where a good joke or cleaver opinion suffices for thought. He's probably of the ilk that laments of all the "horrors" of the Church and longs for a "godless" society neglecting the recent exact experiments of Stalin, Mao et al.

Unfortunatly he is just the effluence of the current media which is so dimwitted and only the tip of the ignorant iceberg lurking on your cable tv.

Warren Allen

MarkAA

Hitchens just makes me want to be just like him, have the love for my fellow humans that he so obviously exudes. Let him keep talking; I'm sure he is just drawing thousands to the warm, welcoming worldview he expresses.

Ed Peters

More and more, I'm thinking, Rutler was right.

wheat4paradise.wordpress.com

The only good thing about Hitchens is that he dispels the myth that Blessed Teresa didn't want to convert people. Hitchens knows that Blessed Teresa wanted to bring souls to Jesus and he HATES her for it. Like the demons who recognized the Divinity of Christ (to their utter damnation), Hitchens knows exactly what Blessed Teresa was about ... and it makes him froth at the mouth like one possessed.

David Casson

Ed - I'm curious - your reference to Rutler was lost on me. I don't suppose you'd mind sharing?

Carl E. Olson

David: Ed was referring to this September 2007 exchange between Fr. George Rutler and Hitchens.

Gordon Wilkinson

Dr. Peters:

What was Fr. Rutler right about? I have never heard of Fr. Rutler but your comment piqued my interest so I googled his name and started reading some of his essays. Thanks

W.

Though Hitchens does believe what he is saying, the way and tone he says things is often entertainment for him.

When one interviewer (Hugh Hewitt) questioned him about something he had said against religion, he responded to the tune of, "Well, I'm a provocateur. That's what I do. I don't care about being respectful. I try to provoke ...."

It opened the ears and eyes of a lot of people listening. Like I said, he does believe these things but his tone and disrespecting rants are part of a shtick.

And, yes, Rutler was right.

As I said at First Things blog, we should all and often pray to/through the intercession of Mother Teresa for Hitchens.

Ed Peters

Yes, that's what meant, Carl. I should have been clearer.

W.

For more on Hitchens and Fr. Rutler, you can read about it here: http://www.takimag.com/site/article/hitchens_unhinged_part_i/.

There was a video/audio of this encounter but I do not know where it is posted.

Dale Price

This is why the New Atheism is going to flame out, and rather soon at that.

Rage is a destructive fuel, and precious few people want to hang out with obsessives who regularly fly off the handle.

M. Vero

He sounds so overly angry (almost ridiculous) that it seems he "protests too much". What are you fighting, Christopher? Could it be the Hound of Heaven? I am sure Blessed Teresa is happily praying before God for your conversion...stay tuned, people.

AM

Judging the fruits of her labour I have never heard of "millions worse off because of her life". I met someone who worked with her and just hearing his experience was a gift for the bettter in my life. I find myself deeply disturbed by any woman being referred to as a "bitch" on radio or tv and I read that in another interview CH referred to Mother Theresa as a whore. If that quote was taken and Hilary Clinton's name was inserted what would the outcry be? How about Eunice Shriver or Caroline Kennedy?

Piotr

Is one person better off because of Hitchens writings?

Tom

Greetings from Australia,

We have recently had a visit from Mr Hitchens to our country. Atheism is on the rise in this country and it is important that the average Catholic familiarises him or herself with the basic arguments for theism. Judging by the comments made in response to an article written by Professor Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, in the Sydney Morning Herald: www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/a-plague-of-atheists-has-descended-and-catholics-are-the-target-20091103-hv52.html , Christians and other theists must increase their efforts to explain the rationality of theism and the irrationality of atheism.

God bless you all and your work at Ignatius Press

Tom

sarah

Mother Teresa was a Saint before she died. Those who bring forth lies about a person like her. She brought people off the streets who were dying and were not getting taken care of. She did not want them to die without being loved. She was very humble. her community only relied on God for money.
Pray for people who do not know of God's love. They are yearning, they just do not know it yet. Mother Teresa pray for us.

Adam

From AM: "I read that in another interview CH referred to Mother Theresa as a whore. If that quote was taken and Hilary Clinton's name was inserted what would the outcry be?"

It was inserted, and the world said nothing.

John Hetman

Hitchens has been obscenely attacking the Catholic Church for a couple of decades. He wrote the same slime about Mother Teresa back in the 1980s for "The Nation," that soporific Leftist journal of sophomoric thought. He also attacked St. Maximilian Kolbe when he was canonized. Many good people pay far too much attention to sewer mouths like Hitchens. He'll be a footnote to a footnote when St Teresa of Calcutta is venerated by billions for her holiness and grace while on the Earth.

joanne

I think Hitchens may actually be contributing to Blessed Teresa's cause for canonization, to which the "cult of personality" can be an obstacle. When her detractors thoroughly despise her because of her lived witness to the Gospel, it is further proof of her holy life. (Did Hitchens hate John Paul II, too? It is hard to find people who didn't love him)
CH's conversion, by the intercession of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would be icing on the cake! Let us pray!

Marianna

Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus replied: Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. (Mt9:12) Have Mercy towards Lost Souls. CH is in a battle for his eternal salvation Pray for him.

Diskarapur

Will no one at least try to refute Hitchens's assertions about her?
IF anyone has, will someone provide a link or source?

I see everyone here condemning him, but no one has addressed the **substance** of what he has claimed or reported.

NW Clerk

I have read that Hitchens' mother committed suicide after an affair with a (defrocked?) Catholic priest. If this is true, it explains a lot. (Not giving him an excuse; just a possible explanation for his frothing-at-the-mouth insanity). Can someone verify this?

Hugh

Htchens is an impressive rhetoritician; every time I hear him speak I am reminded of Slim Pickens' character's line in Blazing Saddles "Why Mr Lamar you use your tounge purdier than a $20 whore". In the end though his rhetoric is vacuous. I am actually quite amused by the fact that the Church called on him to present the negative in their deliberations about Mother Teresa. He is so in love with his own ego that when asked by the Vatican he rushed off to participate in something that he never tires of telling everyone is a dangerous delusion. The Church dangled a big fat juicy worm to satiate his ego's voracious apetite and he swallowed it whole; lure, line, rod and reel.

I wonder did he take remuneration for it, or expenses?

Jack

He will either convert and end up a great apologist like Muggeridge, or he will, in the words of Fr. Rutler, die a madman. If you took away the veneer of sophistication his English accent gives him, the comment he made to Miller would just sound sad and stupid.

Kevin C.

"Will no one at least try to refute Hitchens's assertions about her?"

I'm assuming this is a bit of a joke. Since when does this count as "substance"?

“The woman was a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud, and millions of people are much worse off because of her life, and it’s a shame there is no hell for your bitch to go to.”

First off, the burden of proof is on Hitchen's, not the rest of us.

Second, some things are so ludicrous that there is nothing to say in response, because the best argument doesn't stand up to Hitchen's (very low) standards.

wheat4paradise.wordpress.com

There is one saving grace for Christopher Hitchens, which is the fact that he has drawn attention to Blessed Teresa's missionary zeal (for which of course he despises her). Unfortunately, there are not a few so-called "Catholics" who will actually try to refute any claim that Blessed Teresa sought to convert souls to Christ, and they will do this in the name of false ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. Ironically, it takes a vile toad like Christopher Hitchens to set the record straight.

Nick Briscoe

I stumbled across this blog. I do find it interesting, as highlighted by the previous contributor, that no-one attempts to provide evidence that Hitchens is incorrect in his statements. Everyone seems to accept that it can''t possibly be true. She did prosletyse against contraception, which in a poor country like India will inevitably result in high infant mortality rates, so in his statement tht millions are worse off, there may be some truth in that. Hitchens asserts also that as she neaed the end of her life she found dit difficult to believe in the Bible story. She thought maybe her life's work was based on a lie. Hence the fraud bit. The 'bitch' bit was totally unnecessary, although I understand that he later apologised for his choice of words. But certainly she never claimed to have performed any miracles - to make her a 'Saint' is rather silly isn't it? And what's the point of it anyway?

Telemachus

Nick,

Do you mean things like "she let people die when they could have had medical help," for instance? That's the only interesting accusation I've heard from him. The rest is pure rant.

What people are mainly remarking on is his lack of credibility in commenting on Mother Teresa given that he is so vehemently against the Catholic Church and all Her allies. That's not a proof of wrongness, just that he's obviously not someone worth taking seriously. In fact, he seems to have simply developed a niche as nobody else appears to be taking up his banner as well. This is not true of the rest of the so-called "New Atheism" movement, which now forms a self-reinforcing sub-culture. Why no fellow anti-Teresa's?

And what's this about contraception decreasing infant mortality rates? Nonsense. Perhaps in relative, statistical terms, but the only way to decrease infant mortality rates is to:
(a) have access to basic medical care / knowledge (duh?)
(b) not expose children that you don't want because your culture imposes burdens on families with daughters

Contraception is disgusting, not only because it doesn't achieve what its supposed to (i.e. less poverty, less disease, less starvation) but also because it is a positive evil: it destroys the human bond of sexuality and makes it a mere "mutual therapy." India needs radical social reform, not contraception.

Anyways, Hitchens' accusations were brought before the Vatican council overseeing her canonization, by him as "devil's advocate" if I recall correctly, and I'll leave it to them to decide whether or not he's all wet.

W.

For those interested, The Intelligence Squared debate is happening weekend of Nov. 7-8. BBC is broadcasting it throughout both days.

The motion debated was “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.”

Arguing for the Church were, I think, Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe.

Arguing against the Church were, no surprise here, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, who played the regular game of trying to be entertaining and perhaps were more enjoyable for the crowd.

Here is the link: http://www.intelligencesquared.com/

Here is a link to their briefing booklet: http://www.intelligencesquared.com/briefings/iq2-briefing-the-catholic-church.pdf

You should be able to find it on BBC stations throughout the day of Nov. 8 and perhaps afterward.

Ed C.

Response to question above: I'm better off because of Hitchens' writings.

I read many things, from the bible to Shakespeare - words. I want to learn and think. Hitchens challenges many foolish teachings in the church that have no basis in scripture or reality. Despite his offensive rants, you cannot deny that many of his harshest accusations against unthinking religious dogma are accurate. His offensiveness against Mother Theresa does not address the accuracy of his words.

I'm not knowledgeable enough about Mother Theresa to comment on her or why he says this, but I think I'm fortunate to live in a country where it's ok to question religion and the silliness of canonization - a man-made process, not god-made. I will also say that I find the idea of saints to be very, very silly and have since I was taught it in Sunday School as a child. I'm no child anymore and can say what I was afraid to say then - that is, we're all the same on this earth. The idea of preferred people is offensive beyond measure to all of humanity.

If god is as powerful and all-knowing as is claimed, then he doesn't need our help in condemning Hitchens. We should live our own lives, not anyone else's. Leave Hitchens to his own fate. In the meantime, I think that if there is one truth in this world, it is that we are to use our minds to question and discover all we can about the world. My experience, raised Catholic, is that the church (the Catholic "religion") gets in the way of any serious connection to spirituality. I don't need the church to be connected to god, but the church sure needs me to be the church.

These are the kinds of truths that Hitchens has made me consider (after reading his book) about how I was raised and what things I was taught that simply were never true.

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