Mother Teresa will be canonized on September 4, giving formal acknowledgment of the obvious: she led a life of heroic virtue in service to others. She’s worth emulating. Her work took her around the world, and she spent time with all kinds of world leaders. In 1994, she was the main speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. President and Mrs. Clinton were there. Mother Teresa’s words moved nearly everyone in the room to give her a standing ovation at one point. Remaining seated were the Clintons, who couldn’t quite work up the same enthusiasm for what they were hearing.
One wonders what will go through Hillary Clinton’s head as the canonization nudges her off the “trending” list for an hour or so. Will the event rate a remark from the presidential candidate?
Mother Teresa started out mildly enough at the prayer breakfast, with the prayer of St. Francis. “Make me an instrument of your peace…” Then she spoke about human dignity, service to the poor, aid to the dying, support for families. Who could object? But then she just had to get to the topic everyone knew she would, however much it might make her listeners squirm.
“…I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child…I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption – by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: ‘Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.’ So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: ‘Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.’ And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child – but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said. ‘Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.’ By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.” [Find the full transcript at priestsforlife.org.]
Boom. That’s when the ovation began. It went on without Hillary Clinton’s participation. That much made the evening news.
Last January, Sean Fitzpatrick writing at Crisis magazine offered a postscript about the encounter between Mother Teresa and the First Lady.
“The address concluded, Mrs. Clinton noted the pointed nature of the nun’s words. ‘Mother Teresa was unerringly direct,’ the First Lady recounted. ‘She disagreed with my views on a woman’s right to choose and told me so.’ Tell her so she did; but though she was direct in her disagreement, she also offered something that Mrs. Clinton could applaud. Although Hillary Clinton was, and remains, a supporter of legalized abortion, she agreed with Mother Teresa that adoption was a preferable alternative. Speaking to her afterwards, Mother Teresa told Mrs. Clinton of her desire to continue her mission to find homes and families for orphaned, abandoned, and unwanted children by founding an adoption center in Washington, DC. She invited the First Lady to assist her in this endeavor, and brought Mrs. Clinton to India with her to witness her work firsthand.
“Mother Teresa’s motions were not wasted. When Hillary Clinton returned to Washington, she took up Mother Teresa’s request with a will. Keeping in contact with the saint who called her regularly to receive updates on her ‘center for babies,’ Hillary Clinton did the necessary legwork and succeeded in opening The Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children in 1995 in an affluent section of Washington, DC. Mother Teresa joined her for the opening, and two years later passed into the arms of her Lord. But she left a bright mark on the career of Hillary Clinton, who saw something remarkable in the tiny nun, and chose to do her bidding to help save lives. Mother Teresa inspired Mrs. Clinton to do a truly good work in spite of her dedicated promotion of Planned Parenthood’s agenda for ‘safe and legal’ abortions.
The center was quietly and unfortunately closed in 2002.”
The canonization will give Hillary Clinton an opportunity to point out Mother Teresa’s opposition to abortion, which she can contrast with her own reproductive-rights song and dance. Or, Hillary Clinton can take the high road, recall the work she and Mother Teresa did together, and say something like “let’s be more like her.”
Of course, if she doesn’t want to see more people like Mother Teresa, she could say that, too.
Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at LeavenForTheLoaf.com. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire. See her earlier posts for DaTechGuyBlog: Ethics and PP’s Campaign Cash, Putting a Know-Nothing in His Place, Ads Say the Darnedest Things, Worried About the Court? Then Worry About the Senate, and Sunday Best.
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