The Scientific Indian

Godless in the City of Joy

A CBS Video with, shall we say, new revelations on Mother Theresa.

Shortly after beginning work in Calcutta’s slums, the spirit leaves her.

“Where is my faith?” she writes. “Even deep down … there is nothing but emptiness and darkness. … If there be God — please forgive me.”

The letters were gathered by Rev. Kolodiejchuk, the priest who’s making the case to the Vatican for Mother Teresa’s proposed sainthood. He says her obvious spiritual torment actually helps her cause. ”

In the City of Joy her Spirit leaves her. And, her ‘spiritual torment’ could make her a saint. I don’t care for saints whether it’s the Pope who ordains them or the Saints proclaim it themselves, but something doesn’t seem right with all this. Maybe, I am looking for consistency where there is none. Or maybe it’s just me. (Between, couold anyone tell me what ‘Spiritual’ means? The word’s etymology is obvious. I am looking for the meaning that no one seems to have a clue about but nevertheless happily use to describe funny ideas that enter their brains while they are under ‘influence’).

Not to cause unease amongst those in thrall of Theresa, but you should know that she isn’t universally revered. Penn, Teller and Christopher Hitchens had something to say about Theresa’s charity work a while ago. (The video is not gentle. You’ve been warned.)


  1. #1 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    August 24, 2007

    Now that Mother Teresa is outed as an atheist, I wonder if Hitchens regrets doing the hatchet job on here.

  2. #2 Rose Colored Glasses
    August 24, 2007

    Spiritual? Having to do with hard liquor — vodka, whiskey, gin, et cetera — as opposed to wine or beer.

    Oh, you mean … okay, try make-believe, let’s-pretend, play, playacting, putting on a play, putting on a show, performing, acting.

    When little kids play dress-up in grownup clothes, they know they aren’t grownups. When they play at ghost stories, they know there aren’t any ghosts. When the pretend they can see invisible things, they know they’re pretending.

    Some people — several billion grownups, actually — take their pretending very seriously.

    When someone says ‘spiritual’ in my hearing, I take that as my cue to quit taking them seriously.

  3. #3 bernarda
    August 27, 2007

    I doubt that Hitchens regrets exposing Mother Teresa. As an atheist, he is interested in the truth of something, not in blindly following mythology or promoting a particular icon. If you haven’t read his book, “Missionary Position”, you can find some essentials in this interview.

    I remember almost getting kicked out of a dinner party once in the 90’s because I did some icon bashing of Teresa. That was before Hitchens’s book came out. At the end, one of the guests told me, “That was original, criticizing Teresa”.

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