Is Christopher Hitchens sick in the head?

What is special bone is missing from the heads of people who hate saints and holy people, especially holy women?  Of course we all suffer from the wounds to our human nature, but something else is at work in people who pour their venom on the manifestly holy.

This is from the Catholic League with my emphases and comments.

November 2, 2009


On October 30, atheist Christopher Hitchens appeared on Dennis Miller’s Internet radio show condemning Mother Teresa, yet again. Here is one of his choice statements: “The woman was a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud, and millions of people are much worse off because of her life, and it’s a shame there is no hell for your bitch to go to.”  [I once suffered in the too close company of a priest who referred to the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne (who ran a hospice) as "bitches who bilk poor people out of their money".  What is wrong with these people?]

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded today:

I once told Hitchens that one of the real reasons he hates Mother Teresa has to do with his socialist ideology: [If that is true, then he hates her because she makes him see the emptiness of his efforts?] he believes the state should care for the poor, not voluntary organizations, and he especially loathes the idea of religious ones servicing the dispossessed. Indeed, he sees in Mother Teresa the very embodiment of altruism, a virtue he cannot—with good reason—fully comprehend.

The fact of the matter is that socialism is the greatest generator of poverty known to mankind, and Mother Teresa did more to heal and rescue its victims than anyone in the modern era. This explains why she is adored by the people who knew her best—the men and women of India (she is second only to Gandhi as the nation’s most revered person).

Hitchens is positively obsessed by Mother Teresa, and that is a very telling commentary on his psyche. She is a constant reminder that reason without faith is a dark hole.

Contact Hitchens at


I can understand that perhaps a person might be a little indifferent to Bl. Theresa of Calcutta, but anyone who would hate her must be profoundly wretched and frightened. 

In his dotage it may be that the only visitors he will have will be the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The Astronomer says:

    I fear the overt venom on display by Mr. Hitchens is shared by many more people in our post-Christian culture. Remember, Our Blessed Lord said people would HATE His followers, just because of who He is…

    Mr. Hitchens is a rather defiant servant of Moloch, eh? He deserves prayers for conversion.

  2. TNCath says:

    A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

  3. chadmyers says:

    When you spend all your time sulking in the darkness, a bright light shining in your eyes is a very painful thing and may prompt the crotchety to curse it.

  4. irishgirl says:

    Father Z, your last sentence says it all with regards to Christopher Hitchens-and all who think like him.

    Now, why would a priest say such terrible things about the Hawthorne Dominicans and the Little Sisters of the Poor? He must not have been in his right mind….

  5. Father S. says:

    This may be more common than we think. I have found a good deal of Catholics (often priests) who have nothing good to say about Mother Theresa. Unfortunately, I often find these among what seem to me to be more traditional (I know, that is a dangerous word, and I certainly consider myself very traditional.) Catholics, and especially my contemporaries.

    When I was in the seminary, I used to go on Wednesday nights to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor. I would go for holy hour, benediction and Compline. When I was a deacon, I would go and preside at these and preach. I considered those hours to be among the greatest joys of my time in study. Often other seminarians and some priests would say, “Why do you go there? Those women are always begging things from us. Their chapel is ugly. Their organist is not very good.” I knew all of this, of course, but these things were of no consequence when I was with the sisters. They spent all their days in service of “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people you do unto Me.” There liturgy was licit and completely correct, if not necessarily grandiose. To be with them was a joy.

  6. chcrix says:

    I think that the idea that it is wrapped up with socialism is well founded. Socialism is after all a creed that maintains that it is valid to force people to do ‘charity’ at the point of a gun. Of course you are not to call it ‘charity’ either. Someone who shows that the only really successful way to help people is to roll up your sleeves and do it is a standing rebuke to the failed modern state.

  7. MikeM says:

    I’ve gone to a few worship services with the LSoP, and I’ve found them to be very uplifting for me. The Little Sisters exemplify what I think Catholicism should be… They live lives of service, and do so joyfully and humbly. From all I’ve seen, they also keep a strong focus on the fact that our works come about only through God’s greatness. And they maintain a love for the encounters with Christ in Catholic liturgy.

  8. KellyH says:

    Sadly, these sentiments are very common among ‘Evangelical Fundamentalists’ I have encountered. She has been referred to as ‘Mama T.’ and they have a lot of ‘supporting evidence’ they copy and paste to their online forums from others with missing cranial matter. One ‘Christian’ went so far as to say he sincerely hoped Blessed Mother Teresa was ‘rotting in the depths of hell.’ Just google her name and you will see that she is referred to as a bank-robber, scam artist, sham charity embezzler and many more disparaging titles. Satan clearly has claimed victory in the lives of the people who type such vile condemnations. I suppose she did so much good that the devil was moved to act.

  9. robtbrown says:

    Christopher Hitchens is a highly articulate polemicist, who often sometimes wanders into areas beyond his competence. Some of his comments make me think he is a walking, talking Oedipal Complex.

    His brother Peter, equally articulate, is a different sort–conservative politically and strong C of E.

    The debate can be seen and heard at

    then continued on youtube.

  10. gleaner says:

    I love the Little Sisters of the Poor, they do great work, how can he have such hatred for such good people?

    Hitchens book on Mother Theresa is a wicked distortion of the facts, full of guilt by association. He makes out as if she never had ANY moments of faith or deep spirituality which is totally untrue.

    Good on Bill Donohue, he is tough enough for guys like this. Although I would advise a slight note of caution when criticizing the worst excesses of Socialism. We should be careful not to come across as too pro-capitalist either since we know that capitalism can also be dehumanizing in it’s worst form too. Sometimes I worry that we give fuel to the unfair accusation that we care nothing for changing the causes of poverty, and in doing do play into their hands.

    What he fails to understand is that Mother Theresa first concern was for those individuals in her care. I honestly feel that the world will come to see the truth about Mother Theresa and like Opus Dei this mud will just not stick.

  11. medievalist says:

    It would be great if this got lots of play in the MSM because then the diatribes of Mr Hitchens et al. would be revealed, not as dialogue or debate, but hate pure and simple. People of all faiths and none revere Mother Theresa.

    It’s interesting to compare Mr Hitchens’ approach with Pope Benedict, the pope of Christian unity. John Allen has repeatedly commented on the Holy Father’s ‘positive orthodoxy’, which portrays our Faith as a great ‘yes, for’ something. What, exactly, does Mr Hitchens stand for, or is he simply against everything?

  12. ilovedogma says:

    What a fascinating study in pathology. I want to know if he hates her actions or if he hates her motives. Must read more!

  13. Shmikey says:

    If you read his BIO on WIKI then you will see where this man is coming from. He embraces Marxism and has become a showpiece for neocons because of his support for the War in Iraq. I have always been uncomfortable with people who showcased him because of this, and wonder why you would support your cause with the likes of him, just because you can agree on one thing. IMHO, this has done more harm than good and is like putting Satan on a pedestal just because he agrees with your support of war as a good thing. To me, this was more of an eyeopener than any argument against the war itself.

  14. Seraphic Spouse says:

    I once talked to a Hindu guy (living in Canada) who said he didn’t like Mother Teresa because she baptized the (formerly Hindu, I suppose) babies in her care. However, it is quite clear that Mother Teresa’s Hindu neighbours loved her very much.

    As for C.H., he must have some great grief in his life. (I’ve heard he drinks too much–which may be more of a symptom than a disease). I don’t think highly of the late Princess of Wales (who died mere days before Mother Teresa did), but I haven’t made it my mission to rail against her memory and upset her kajillion fans.

    Meanwhile, I am fond of C.H., the old so-and-so. He is a talented writer, and he will actually change his mind on things, admitting in public when he thinks he was wrong. 9/11 converted him from a European lefty into an American righty, and he actually had himself waterboarded, to see if it was indeed so bad. He decided it was indeed that bad. That took guts: both being waterboarded and admitting he was wrong about waterboarding.

    I hope the Holy Spirit will choose to act on C.H.’s will. After all, without prevenient grace, fuggetabowdit. Meanwhile, if we pray for C.H., it might not be wise to email him to tell him so. “I’ll pray for you” in the wrong context sounds like a slap.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Good on Bill Donohue, he is tough enough for guys like this.
    Comment by gleaner

    IMHO, Bill Donahue too often substitutes shouting and outrage for knowledge and insight.

  16. MQ says:

    I am not aware of how Dennis Miller responded to Hitchens, that would be interesting. Regardless, Hitchens possession needs to be stood up too as much as it is a cry for prayers and help. His arrogance and simpleness whether he likes it or not is a cry for mercy, hopefully it will be answered sooner rather than later.

  17. gleaner says:

    Bill Donahue too often substitutes shouting and outrage for knowledge and insight

    Yes that is true, but sometimes there is a need for a robust and even crass defence. I am thinking of soundbite situations like the Sean Hannity show or Fox News.

    Having said that I wouldn’t put him in charge of Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  18. Dr. Eric says:

    The above chronicles the event in which Fr. George Rutler called out Mr. Hitchens. Warning, Hitchens uses foul language offensive to pious “ears.”

  19. It’s not about him being a Marxist or anything else, though I’m sure there are contributing factors. It’s fairly easy to figure out, if you read the right biographical material, that he’s angry about his mother having had some kind of relationship with some kind of ex-priest, after which she killed herself, left herself where Hitchens would find her first, and made sure to leave a message blaming Mr. Hitchens for her suicide.

    His own mother’s not around to be mad at. So he’s mad at a symbolic figure instead, who would never hurt him and probably prays for him often. And heck, if you have to work out your issues writing nastily about somebody, it’s probably not the worst long-term idea to scream about a saint. It’s not as if anybody will believe you, and you can always get into lots of comforting barfights and flamewars, and in the end a saint will probably haul your poor soul out.

    That said, it really isn’t Mother Teresa’s fault. If he wants to show her how it’s done, I don’t see why he doesn’t start an atheist charity in Calcutta and go do that. Much less depressing than journalism, really.

  20. Call me crazy, but Hitchens’ fire-breathing hatred actually seems to me a hopeful sign for him. For God to be able to get under his skin, Hitchens must have a chink in his armor. A person like him is probably better off than a nice person who is nevertheless blind, deaf and impervious to heaven.

    I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

    Revelation 3:15-17

  21. Franciscanmd says:

    Based on what Hitchens has been saying, it would seem as if he were possessed and could use an exorcist….

  22. Timbot2000 says:

    Justin Raimondo described Hitchens best:
    “let’s face it, anyone who, at this late date, is still defending Ahmed Chalabi has got to be … well, just the sort of person you’d expect to write a book attacking Mother Teresa. She, after all, gave away everything, and spent her life in service to the poor and downtrodden, while Chalabi the charlatan stole everything he could lay his hands on, retailed lies at high prices, and ruthlessly betrayed his benefactors when the opportunity arose. To the Satanic Hitchens – who appears to hate not only all religion, but also the very concept of human benevolence – Chalabi is a saint, and Mother Teresa is the villain.”

  23. Kimberly says:

    In our day and age and with all the junk we see in and on the media, to go after Mother Theresa is just pure diabolical.

  24. Hating Mother Theresa… pretty hard to explain without some sort of pathology being involved.

  25. tioedong says:

    Years ago, Christopher Hitchens had an interview with book editor Judith Regan (on Fox), and she asked about his mother’s suicide.

    Apparently, his father was in the Navy during WWII on the terrible convoys in the Arctic, and came back depressed (severe PTSS). His mother responded by finding a lover, but later she and the lover committed a dual suicide pact, when CH was a young boy (I think about 8 years).

    Hitchens got teary during telling the story, and said it greatly affected him…but not his younger brother, who was much younger. So when I hear his over the top writings against religion, I wonder how much is anger at God for taking his mom…

    I adopted two sons who lost their mom…the oldest had such rage in him because he was angry at his mother’s death…

    Hitchens needs prayers.

  26. Jason Keener says:

    I’m reminded of this exchange that Hitchens had with Fr. George Rutler awhile back:

    FATHER RUTLER: I have met saints. You cannot explain the existence of saints without God. I was nine years chaplain with Mother Teresa. You have called her a whore, a demagogue. She’s in heaven that you don’t believe in, but she’s praying for you. If you do not believe in heaven, that’s why you drink.


    FATHER RUTLER: That’s why you drink. God has offered us happiness, all of us. And you will either die a Catholic or a madman, and I’ll tell you the difference.

  27. Rev. Philip-Michael says:

    I believe that anyone so tormented by such a holy woman as Bl. Teresa of Calcutta will ultimately convert to the faith because of that very same saintly woman. Many people hated St Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) and in the end converted because of that very same person. I only hope that the memory and devotion of Catholics to Mother Teresa continues to torment and frustrate the sad and self-absorbed existence of Mr Hitchens and all others like him, most especially Bill Maher. And, as the Irish Proverb goes, “If God can’t turn their hearts may He turn their ankles that we may know them by their limp!”

  28. GOR says:

    There is something diabolical about people who demonstrate so much hatred for goodness. It is always hard to understand how the Devil can hate God so much and do so eternally. Pure Evil is hard to comprehend. With people, we can always finding something to excuse their hatred, to lessen their culpability, to demonstrate that they are “not all bad…”

    But with Satan there are no redeeming qualities – and never can be. He is and will always remain Evil Incarnate. He will always seek to make us like him – and he has more success with some than others. But where there’s life – and prayer – there’s hope, even for Mr. Hitchens

  29. pjthom81 says:

    I don’t think its dotage, and I don’t think its too hard to understand. I think that Mr. Hitchens considers himself a defender and heir of the enlightenment a la Voltaire, that (French based) Enlightenment thought is in contest with Christianity generally and Catholicism in particular to determining the moral compass of the West, and that Mother Teresa, by her very acts of charity has made Catholicism more of a threat. I contend that Hitchens is ultimately concerned with the intellectual and moral leadership of the West, and I note that the last time I read about Hitchens outrage at the Church it was in the context of Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address on the grounds that Benedict’s critique of Islam might be more persuasive with the public at large than Hitches’ critique of all religion.

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