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Amid dour attacks on Mother Teresa's character over the past few days, this blog entry describes (and unravels) the different types of charges against the saint. One of them comes in the form of association - that she went to poor countries run by corrupt dictators and associated with them to build clinics and hospitals instead of rightfully condemning them and their power structures.

"From within the protective clamshell of laptop aggrievement, attacking her for this makes sense.  But if what matters to you is the alleviation of immediate human suffering, then maintaining a stance of absolute ideological purity doesn't get people fed and healed.  The starving and the sick and the orphan may not have the energy for revolution right now.

But still.  Do your justice work.  Fine.  Go team.  You work for that, while she makes sure the poor don't starve waiting for utopia to materialize.

What strikes me in this collection of absurdities, as it struck me when I read [Christopher] Hitchens' infinitely better written but equally preposterous character assassination pieces years ago, is how deeply the need to attack Mother Teresa rests in the mortal desire to avoid cognitive dissonance. If faith is axiomatically monstrous, and you're just sick to [flipping] death of this [maternal copulation] nun being thrown back at you as evidence of the goodness of faith, then she must be destroyed.  Datapoints must be selected and assembled into a counterargument, one that allows one's understanding of existence to be unsullied by complexity.

And that's a problem.  It creates binary thinking, the dark and bitter absolutism that sours all of human life.  Because reality is complex." -- David Williams

1 thought on “A place for charity, not just for systematic change”

  1. Mary Grace says:

    The volunteers with the Missionaries of Charity have the honor and privilege of serving those who at present cannot help themselves. It makes a difference to smile, interact, help in various ways – right here, right now. It is personal, intensely human and beautiful.
    Our Lord, through Saint (Mother) Teresa, calls the broken hearted and broken headed.
    All are invited to come and see and be vividly reminded by Jesus: you did it to me.

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