The Missionary Position – Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice – Christopher Hitchens

If you take as a workable definition of an evil person, someone who greatly increases the amount of human suffering in the world by means of deliberate and premeditated acts which can be empirically demonstrated to have that effect, then, on a reasonable application of that definition, Mother Teresa was evil.

I’ve long held that view, and was therefore looking forward with relish to reading Hitchens’s formidable powers of analysis and excoriation to have my views confirmed (this goes against the grain for me – I usually like to have my views challenged, but once in a while I allow myself a bit of indulgence).

So I was disappointed to find the book strangely restrained. It has some jolly invective, to be sure, but it’s messily constructed, and leaves some startling gaps. If MT is running some sort of propaganda organisation for the Catholic Church, where is she getting her instructions from? Who writes the speeches? Arranges the meetings with the great and the good? What happens to the money?

This falls way below Hitchens’s best.

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