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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hitching up with Hitchens

A friend of mine has recently lost his faith. He read a book by Christopher Hitchens, which has completely destroyed what he believed. He is very, very confused and angry. What would you say to him?

Oh Goodness!  Mr. Hitchens was very confused and angry, too!  He didn't like Mother Teresa.  Who doesn't like Mother Teresa? That, right there, is enough for me to not listen to another word he had to say.  He felt she spent all her time fundraising and was therefore just an empty habit, a money grubber.

She did spend a lot of time fundraising.  She needed funds for the poor people she served. I suppose, since they were all dying, she could have just left them lie there, but the silly woman believed they should be fed and kept clean and comfortable.

I suppose she could have sent out one of her no name nuns who worked there at the hospital. Because you know, that would have really helped draw a crowd.

Clearly, Mr. Hitchens had no clue  how to fundraise or that nuns are pretty much synonymous with fundraising and has never been to a church supper, card party or Bingo game.  No wonder he was angry. He missed all the fun.

I'm sorry I don't know quite what to tell you to tell your friend.  I would start by asking him some questions and listen to his answer and not worry too much about arguing with his responses.  I'd try to find out exactly which part of what he read caused him so much consternation.

Then I'd go think that over.  And then I'd go back and talk with him about those things.

Because it really can't be everything.  There must have been something that got to him.  Some thought that was in the book that entered his brain like an earwig (or at least, the mythology of an earwig) and has eaten holes in some synapses.

Then I would suggest some other reading for him.  G.K. Chesterton springs to mind.  All Catholics love him, don't they?  Chesterton himself was a convert to the Catholic Church.  We especially love converts, because they chose the Church in  a way the rest of us have not, although in Chesterton's case he had been Anglican, or, as we like to say "Catholic Lite", so it wasn't a big leap.  Anyhow, you want to look into people who are called "Catholic Apologists".  A weird term, I know, but it refers to people who are explaining (not apologizing).

Hope this helps.  Mr. Hitchens must be very surprised these days, about all the things he got wrong.


Claudia's Genealogy Blog said...

WOW, I live to be sixty five and never heard of Christopher Hitchens, I do not have to believe in him.

Just goes to show a person, they are not as important as they think.

John said...

You should recommend to him Edward Feser and his books(http://www.amazon.com/Last-Superstition-Refutation-New-Atheism/dp/1587314517);

here is one blog post; http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/12/christopher-hitchens-1949-2011.html

katney said...

When I was in India, we visited one of the sites established by Mother Teresa's order. I don't know if Mother Teresa was involved directly with this facility at any time, but it was founded and staffed by her sisters. It was an old age home and home for mentally handicapped. The old age home came about because dying destitute people came to the sisters, and once they were there and had the care and decent meals from the sisters, they didn't die. It takes a few rupees to accomplish that.

Whitney said...

How do I know where I am supposed to work? I have a job now. My husband is job-seeking. I get job offers and interview requests frequently. How do I know if I should go to another place or stick it out here?

Anonymous said...

Christopher Hitchens had the wrong target. Mother Teresa raised a lot of funds, but everyone could see the work done by the sisters. And they spent 2-3 hours in prayer every day BEFORE they even fed the first breakfast to the first dying person. The empty habit is Mother A over at EWTN who raises MILLIONS which goes to the sisters and their shrine. Mother Teresa's sisters live with no heat, no air conditioning, no carpet on the floors, and sleep on floor mats or simple slat beds. Mother A's sisters are surrounded by alabaster, marble, leather, and gold. They fly first class, and their monasteries are priced in the millions. She's never fed or clothed anyone. But hey - they have a rockin' TV station bringing the faith into the homes of millions of... donors!

Anonymous said...

Mother, may I suggest that he read John C. Wright - a former atheist science fiction author who has converted to Catholicism, and writes eloquently and persuasively of the reality of the supernatural.

Val said...

Generally,I lurk on this blog,but I feel compelled to remark on anonymous's remark regarding Mother A...
as being an "empty habit"
Both Mother Theresa and Mother A were/are very holy Nuns.Each made tremendous sacrifices performing their work for the Greater glory of God.Their individual vocations lead them in different directions.I suggest that you investigate the life of Mother A a little more .

plainjane said...

I don't think it is fair to call religious empty habits. Entering into a community, as I understand it, does offer some protections from what we lay people have to worry about. They don't worry about food, clothing, medical care, shelter, burial plans, etc. However, they have little independence, no spending money, no sexual unions, no children or grand children, no joy over the new spring wardrobes. I don't think all orders should live the same either. Some live like the poorest poor and some do not. Anonymous, do you have heat in your home? Do you have any art or jewelry? Do you have more than one coat or pair of shoes? Judge not. Walk a mile in Sister A's shoes. She can't--she's a cripple. Has been in pain for years and years before her stroke.

Anonymous said...

@ Val - I have investigated the life of Mother A. I know several of her former nuns, and know that her community is under the administration of Benedictines after the canonical visitation. 'Nuff said? What do YOU count as research? Reading her book? The gushings of Raymond Arroyo (who is under her employ?)

Shannon B. said...

Yes, at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, they have a gorgeous Throne for Jesus. But that's just the point, it's for Jesus. The marble and the gold and the jewels stop once you get outside the chapel. There is no carpet in the cloister, no curtains, no marble, no gold, no outlandish decorations or styles. And FYI, the marble and gold in the chapel wasn't even Mother's idea, it was the idea of the benefactors who donated the money for the Shrine. Until you know how Reverend Mother Angelica's nuns live, you really shouldn't be mocking things you do not understand.

Jenni said...

Sadly, I know people who have lost their faith after reading Hitchens too.

Maureen said...

I was educated in a Sacred Heart convent where the nuns made a point of "inviting "celebrated people from all walks of life to speak to the students; one of these talks was given by Mother Theresa herself! She was accompanied by an alumna of the school who had joined her order once schooldays were over.
I've never forgotten it.
And I am currently reading "Why I Am A Catholic "by Garry Wills.

mph said...

Interesting to read Peter Hitchens (Christopher Hitchen's brother) views on his book.


p.s. Who is Mother A? I've never heard of her and can't find anything about her on google.

Anonymous said...

I've struggled with this problem myself, the problem of just not believing. WANTING to believe is not the same and, when you've lost your faith, is actually painful.

Jana said...

(@mph) - He's talking about Mother Angelica of the EWTN network. I think for her abilities she has done a great job. She is currently residing in a convent that is cloistered and does not have the health to go far from bed. She managed to create and perpetuate EWTN to the point where all broadcasting is free for cable companies to pick up. She brought a whole bunch of apologists and evangelists together into one place and aired programs of their message. I think they have done an excellent job of spreading the faith to people who have the ability to access the channel on their tv and radio programs. They make sure to not air any priests or nuns or lay people who are under investigation by their diocese (Fr. Corapi comes to mind).

Anonymous said...

@Jana - EWTN aired Fr. Corapi for years. They only pulled him when his scandalous behavior became public knowledge. It was known privately by the insiders, but he was their "cash cow" so to speak. It's all about the money. Follow the money. It's easy to say "It's for Jesus" and "The benefactors made me do it." Well, Mother Teresa had benefactors, too. Jesus lives among them simply, just like He came among us in Bethlehem. I had to chuckle at plainjane's questions (Do I have heat in my home?) Yes, I keep it at 50 in the winter - if I turn it on. But then, I am not a "poor" Clare, either. If I were, I would probably long to live in an authentic cloister like the one in Rome, or sleep on straw like the nuns in Roswell. Mother A would have none of that, though. She literally re-wrote the definition of cloister to suit her lifestyle, and had it approved by a local bishop. It's called "American cloister" as opposed to Papal cloister, which is what every other nun in the world observes. So sad. And yes, I agree with Sister Mary Martha - God still loves us all.

mph said...

Thanks Jana, first thing I found on her was a youtube clip of her talking about the same subject I was reading a day before, about living for Jesus in everything we do, however mundane the task may seem. I admire all priests, nuns, sisters and brothers as they have made a choice to dedicate their lives to God and give up certain freedoms.

Jana said...

@Anonymous - Your arguments are not logical. In order for Mother Angelica to build in her state she must comply by building codes. Most likely she had to get approval from her bishop to be in compliance with local building codes. The buildings built in Europe, built many hundreds of years ago, would not be permitted to be built by our health standards today. Air conditioning and heating are a requirement, just like if a business were to be built in California the builders would have to have a lactation room just in case they get a female employee who would need to use it (and no the bathroom is not allowed to be a lactation room). Mother Angelica is working with what she is given where she is.

Your argument would also make someone like St. Theresa of Lisieux not eligible for being the patron saint of missionaries. She never left her convent in France and yet she is the patron saint of missionaries.

Fr Corapi's deeds are neither here nor there. What I said was that when a priest, religious or lay person who is aired on EWTN comes under investigation by their diocese, EWTN pulls the programming of that person so as to not create scandal. The outcome of that investigation will then be whether or not they will be aired again on EWTN. I only mentioned Fr Corapi because he is the most recent incident of EWTN pulling someone's program from their broadcast.


Anonymous said...

I love your enthusiasm for the faith. Welcome to the family, and congratulations on your children!
Just a word of caution - in your enthusiasm, do not rush to accept everything you read because it "appears" to be authentically Catholic. You said my argument didn't make sense (I believe you were referring to my comment contrasting Mother Teresa's convents to Mother A's) but if you read it again carefully, I did not say that Mother A had to go without heat or A/C. What I did say was that her monasteries are quite well appointed. Alabaster, gold, leather, carved wood. These are not things that poor people can afford. These are NOT materials required by a building code. The point I was making was that Christopher Hitchens had the wrong target in thinking Mother Teresa was just an empty habit raising funds. SHE USED ALL THE MONEY ON OTHERS is the main point. If Mother A wants to drive around in a limo and fly around on a private jet (when she was healthy) it is really none of my business... I am just saying that if Mr. Hitchens has a bone to pick, he could have made a more obvious choice.
I apologize if you misunderstood my comment. I would be very pleased if you would accept my apology.

Anonymous said...

Many people have been celebrating Zombie Jesus Day for years without even realizing it. Honestly, let's face a few facts:
Everything that rises from the dead is a zombie.
Easter is touted as the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So let's call a spade a spade...
...eat lots of chocolate...
...and celebrate Zombie Jesus Day!