Dmitri's Reviews > The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens
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's review
Apr 09, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: polemics
Recommended for: anyone but the staunchest Catholics.

This book, written before Hitchens drank the Cool-Aid and re-discovered himself as a conservative---or perhaps discovered that conservatives pay larger speaking honorariums---is the only objective treatment I have seen of the subject. "Mother Teresa" has become a synonym in modern culture, however, after reading this book I would challenge any open-minded reader to justify that synonym's current meaning.
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Robert I wish you had specified what "Mother Teresa" is a synonym for. In my experience, and this is the most irritating part of the legend, it is a synonym for absolute unquestionable virtue and goodness without alloy, the perfect life of service and devotion, the model that if followed by all of us would soon lead to a perfect world. Of course what we really have is a religious fundamentalist running a franchise of kindly looking death camps (this harsh judgment based on the systematic denial of basic medical care, primitive and unhygienic procedure, and failure to refer curable conditions to a more appropriate facility. The use of pain relief at her facilities is too primitive to qualify them as even a decent hospice.) devoted to obtaining conversions by any means. She kowtowed and fawned before any and all capable of significant contribution, accepting money, dirty money, blood money, stolen money, any money from all sources. All against her stated principles and intentions. (Does the word "hypocrite" apply here?) Apparently the great Christian life of our times must be built on duplicity, propaganda, and expediency.

It is not in this book, but I have seen video(*) of her putting flowers on the grave, appearing to give her blessing to, the late Albania despot Enver Hoxa, one of the last true Stalinists in power (Kim Jong Il may be the last) and ruthless oppressor of religion including her own in her homeland.
(*) Hell's Angel. Hitchens' BBC documentary viewable in three parts on You-Tube.

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