Skip to comments.Why libs hate Mother Teresa, Part III: M. Teresa, the Clintons and Gore
Posted on 09/06/2007 1:51:23 PM PDT by fabrizio
On February 3,1994, Mother Teresa came to Washington and gave a speech that left the entire audience dazzled and part of it dismayed, including a United States senator who turned to his wife after Mother Teresa concluded and said, Is my jaw up yet?
It was the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Hotel and three thousand people were there, including most of official Washington. The breakfast is always an interesting and unusual gathering in the capital in that it is informed by an unspoken goodwill and because famous people, usually political figures, are invited to talk about what they rarely talk about in public: their understanding of God, their pursuit of him, his place in their lives. The assumption is that they will speak candidly, and from what Ive seen they pretty much do. I have attended three of the breakfasts over the years and been touched by the candor and also the sweetness of much of what I have heard. (I wish Id been at the one back in the 70s when the Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen began his remarks with a mock-stern, Fellow sinners, and turned to President Carter to say, And that means you, too. Carter and the audience roared.)
By tradition the president of the United States and the first lady always attend, and on this day in 1994 Bill and Hillary Clinton were up there on the dais, as were the vice president and Mrs. Gore and a dozen other important people, senators, and Supreme Court justices.
The busy ballroom hummed. Everyone seemed happy to be there, they were friendly and talkativeit was 7:30 in the morning and people had the undefended, approachable look morning sleepiness can give. There was an air of excitement and anticipation: An appearance by Mother Teresa was always an event, for she was not only a saint but a very old one who would not be with us forever.
In the families of the West, she said, it is not unusual that [the] father and the mother are so busy they have no time for their children, or perhaps they are not even married or have given up on their marriage. So the children go to the streets and get involved in drugs and other things. This is tragic, she said, for it is within the child that the love and peace of adulthood begin, therefore it is within the family that love and peace must begin.
There was a bit more shifting now, for an audience composed of humans is an audience composed of sinners, and an audience dominated by busy boomer parents is composed of veterans of sin, the unmarried and divorced.
She continued, But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, If you receive a little child, you receive me. So every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus, the neglect of receiving Jesus.
Well, silence. Cool deep silence in the cool round cavern for just about 1.3 seconds. And then applause started on the right hand side of the room, and spread, and deepened, and now the room was swept with people applauding, and they would not stop for what I believe was five or six minutes. As they clapped they began to stand, in another wave from the right of the room to the center and the left.
But not everyone applauded. The president and first lady, seated within a few feet of Mother Teresa on the dais, were not applauding. Nor were the vice president and Mrs. Gore. They looked like seated statues at Madame Tussauds. They glistened in the lights and moved not a muscle, looking at the speaker in a determinedly semi-pleasant way.
I was applauding at my table, and most of my tablemates were standing, and I turned to look at what the friendly and intelligent woman to my right was doing. We had had a nice conversation before the speaking began. She was a lawyer, the wife of a member of the Clinton administration, a modern and attractive blond-haired woman in her late forties or early fifties.
She was not applauding. She was staring straight ahead, impassively, if you can call white lips and a stricken expression impassive.
Now, Mother Teresa is not perhaps schooled in the ways of world capitals and perhaps did not know that having said her piece and won the moment she was supposed to go back to the airier, less dramatic assertions on which we all agree.
Instead she said this:
[Abortion] is really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love . . . The father of that child, however, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to live, but kills even her own child to solve her problem. And by abortion, the father is taught that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into that world. So that father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
Again applause, and I looked once more to the woman on my right. As the applause spread she sat back in her chair and folded her hands on her lap. Then she briskly reached for her purse and took out a notepad. She took out a slim gold pen. It gleamed in the ballroom lights. She started writing down words.
I couldnt resist, I peered as un-obviously as I could to see what she was writing. Shop Rite, it said on the hospital-white pad. Cleaners.
She was making a To Do list. That was how she detached from the moment. She did not like what she had just heard but she couldnt walk out, couldnt boo, so she made a little list of things to do.
I looked toward the dais. Hillary Clinton was still staring straight ahead, unmoving. I imagined her looking at my tablemate and yelling over, Dont forget the Tide.
Mother Teresa now spoke of fighting abortion with adoption, of telling hospitals and police stations and frightened young girls, Please dont kill the child. I want the child. Give me the child. Im willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.
Later I was to remember this part as Mother Teresas carpet bombing. Then she dropped the big one:
I know that couples have to plan their family, and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life or loving through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self, and so it destroys the gift of love in him and her. In loving, the husband and wife turn the attention to each other, as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that loving is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily. Thats why I never give a child to a family that has used contraception, because if the mother has destroyed the power of loving, how will she love my child?
It was at this point that the senator turned to his wife and asked if his jaw was still up.
It was something, the silence and surprise with which her words were received. Perhaps she didnt know that we dont talk about birth control in speeches in America. Perhaps she didnt know, or care, that her words were, as they say, not healing but divisive, dividing not only Protestant from Catholic but Catholic from Catholic. It was all so unhappily unadorned, explicit, impolitic. And it was wonderful, like a big fresh drink of water, bracing in its directness and its uncompromising tone.
And of course it was startling, too, as if someone had spoken in favor of the Volsted Act. And indeed the Clintons and Gores looked, by the end, as if theyd heard someone promise to outlaw Merlot.
And Mother Teresa seemed neither to notice nor to care.
She finished her speech to a standing ovation and left as she had entered, silently, through a parted curtain, in a flash of blue and white.
Her speech was a great success in that it was clear and strong, seriously meant, seriously stated, seriously argued, and seriously received. She spoke with a complete indifference to the conventions of speech giving, not only in her presentation reading the text as if she were reading some dry old document aloud, rarely looking up, rarely using her voice to emphasize, rarely using inflection, expression, or gesturingbut in her message. She softened nothing, did not deflect division but defined it. She came with a sword.
She could do this, of course, because she had a natural and unknown authority. She has the standing of a saint. May you pursue and achieve such standing as you think and work and write and speak
Algore: "Doesn't she know that babies increase global warming? Let's recount them!"
Thank you for posting this story.
The idea that the Clintons and Gores would show such contempt for Mother Teresa is appaling.
I guess the only redeeming quality they have here is that they remained un-hypocritical. They didn’t applaud.
Awesome. Thank you for sharing that . . .’
Here is one of my favorite pieces by Noonan, on John Paul II and the communists.
Great article by Peggy. I remember when she wrote her column on this prayer breakfast right after it happened, which was also a great column.
I notice this was written for Crisis Magazine, but I seem to have missed it there. I wonder if it appeared earlier in the Wall Street Journal? The WSJ editorial page is conservative on some things, but not on illegal immigration or abortion.
Remember that hillary tried to make use of Mother Teresa for political purposes earlier this year, but had to drop it when people started to remember and discuss what happened at the prayer breakfast.
My son survived to birth in a nation where abortions outnumber live births, and is the joy and light of our family.
Supposedly important people, Peggy, Supposedly important.
Ah, but I also recall that Hillary had to be told to remove Mother Teresa’s photo from the Hillary web site.
Thank you thank you thank you for this posting.
And yet, by an extension of this logic, I am curious that some countries do not favor extradition of criminals to the United States because the U.S. has capital punishment. Yet these are the same countries that have legalized abortions.
Powerful. Thanks for posting.
WOW! What a fabulous post for an amazing and holy saint.
I would have paid BIG BUCKS to just be a fly on the wall in that room.
She gave them a good, healthy dose of inconvenient truth.
bump for publicity
Ping to a great article
She was a fine woman.
Liberals HATE her because they are SELFISH.
Others LOVE and ADMIRE her because she was utterly SELFLESS.
A beautiful posting. I can’t help but reflect that a decade after Princess Diana’s death, she is being memorialized as the celebrity that she was - altho’ some of the luster has worn off. Mother Teresa died about the same time and her death was almost eclipsed by the commotion surrounding Diana. Yet I think we all know whose life was more meaningful - not even worth a comparison.
I think it was Graham Greene who had an old priest say, looking back on his life, “It would have been so easy to have been a saint.” Maybe not so easy, but this amazing little woman knew how to use the short time on earth given to her.
She sang beautifully despite terrible disabilities. Many wet eyes in the house, even amongst dems. Then the singer, after applause, revealed to the legislators that she was a survivor of an attempted abortion and that her disability was due to the abortion. Silence and stone faces from the left. Accusations that the pro-life senator had somehow pulled something unethical or seedy.
Many of us spend much time pretending our sins are really ok, maybe even noble. I'm certainly guilty of that. And then God does something that even the beast in us cannot deny and we are left silent and stricken before Him, for at least a moment. Some move on and some bend their knee. The dems in that instance quickly transformed their real guilt to anger and moved on. I guess if only one of them had a moment of doubt about their ugly post-modern worldview, it was a success.
Leftists recoil from the truth like vampires recoil from the cross. Or, maybe I should say, like leftists recoil from the cross.
“Some move on and some bend their knee. The dems in that instance quickly transformed their real guilt to anger and moved on.”
If only one ended up with bent knee, then it was a resounding success. Truth is, only God knows that each of us as individuals need for a life-changing event.
I,for one, would have loved hearing the singer.
On today’s threads is also one about Mother Teresa’s delivery at a National Day of Prayer Breakfast. It was, for lack of a better phrase, a real show stopper apparently.
Thanks for your post.
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