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Synopsis: In a frank expose of the Teresa cult, Hitchens details the nature and limits of one woman’s mission to the world’s poor. He probes the source of the heroic status bestowed upon an Albanian nun whose only declared wish is to serve God. He asks whether Mother Teresa’s good works answer any higher purpose than the need of the world’s privileged to see someone, somewhere, doing something for the Third World. He unmasks pseudo-miracles, questions Mother Teresa’s fitness to adjudicate on matters of sex and reproduction, and reports on a version of saintly ubiquity which affords genial relations with dictators, corrupt tycoons and convicted frauds.

Review: What's next--The Girl Scouts: The Untold Story? How could anybody write a debunking book about Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity order? Well, in this little cruise missile of a book, Hitchens quickly establishes that the idea is not without point. After all, what is Mother Teresa doing hanging out with a dictator's wife in Haiti and accepting over a million dollars from Charles Keating? The most riveting material in the book is contained in two letters: one from Mother Teresa to Judge Lance Ito--then weighing what sentence to dole out to the convicted Keating--which cited all the work Keating has done "to help the poor," and another from a Los Angeles deputy D.A., Paul Turley, back to Mother Teresa that eloquently stated that rather than working to reduce Keating's sentence, she should return the money he gave her to its rightful owners, the defrauded bond-holders. (Significantly, Mother Teresa never replied.) And why do former missionary workers and visiting doctors consistently observe that the order's medical practices seem so inadequate, especially given all the money that comes in? (Hitchens acidly observes that on the other hand, Mother Teresa herself always manages to receive world-class medical care.) Hitchens's answer is that Mother Teresa is first and foremost interested not in providing medical treatment, but in furthering Catholic doctrine and--quite literally--becoming a saint.

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