Talk:The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

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No Point of View[edit]

Is this article following NPOV? I am sure there must be some reviews critical of this work. The Review section only seems to mention two reviews that find this book praise worthy. On the whole, the article reads more like an advertisement pamphlet for the book. Borguk 23:53, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, I would insist on a non-NPOV template since the article is highly offensive to Catholics and other Christians. There are plenty of negative reviews of this "book". --Jorgenpfhartogs (talk) 15:55, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

How exactly is this entry offensive "to Catholics and other Christians?" Hitchens, a noted author, did write a book about a famous "humanitarian," and the book itself was noted in the press and was the subject of a great many reviews. I don't see how the existence of the article itself could be considered "highly offensive." As to whether the article is NPOV, I would invite anyone who finds negative reviews of the book to add the appropriate mentions to this article. Raider Duck (talk) 22:59, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I have taken your challenge and I found a negative note : http://www.discerningreader.com/book-reviews/the-missionary-position who use the short : Thought-provoking but poorly referenced.
The trouble is that I do not know these reviewers. If someone has enough faith to know, please place this on the main page. They seem to speak for the people that were 'offended' as stated above. From the 'about' page of Discerning Reader:

Discerning Reader is a site dedicated to promoting good books--books that bring honor to God. At the same time, we hope to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God.

IvarSnaaijer (talk) 18:32, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the rules of NPOV are, but I just came to this site in order to find out what the book was about, and what its point of view was. I didn't take the article as an endorsement, I just think it did a good job of describing what is in the book. It think given the title, and the fact that it is highly critical of Mother Teresa, it is already fairly obvious that the book is controversial and not something that is beyond dispute. As someone just passing by, my opinion would be that this article does a good job describing the book, which is really what most people coming to the site want to know, not a debate about the validity of the point of view of the book. If Christians are that offended by simply learning about the content of a book that may be construed as being critical of an aspect of their faith, than it would seem logical that they would not seek out information about such a book to begin with. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.237.111.78 (talk) 23:30, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

This article probably needs a section dedicated to critical reviews. As far as it being offensive to certain groups, that's ok. No one should shirk writing on a subject for fear of offending people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.195.127.170 (talk) 20:00, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree that this article needs more entries regarding reviews. The tone as-is is fine. It is about the book's content and not about the perceived (by any group) truth of reality. Luminus (talk) 22:58, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I had never heard of the book before navigating here randomly. I've always assumed Mother Theresa deserved her reputation as a humanitarian and a saint. After reading the article I now know that there's some debate. I know Christopher Hitchens' writings from The Atlantic, and his generally anti-religious positions. If I hadn't, it would be pretty obvious if I followed the link to his page. Given all of that, I think the article is NPOV. The subject of the article is not-NPOV, but the article itself is. 70.226.174.85 (talk) 14:57, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Specifically? Chris (クリス • フィッチュ) (talk) 15:12, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

To me, there is no question that the article follows WP:NPOV. The article is about a book, not about the topic of whether or not Mother Teresa did good work. Therefore, this is not the place to debate her work. All we have to do is represent the contents of the book, making clear that the positions are attributable to Hitchens and not necessarily proven facts. Editors are free to continue adding links to additional reviews, both positive and negative. I will remove the NPOV tag unless someone can specifically list what text in the article fails to follow WP:NPOV (preferably with a suggested remedy). And by the way, the term is Neutral Point Of View rather than No Point Of View. UncleDouggie (talk) 12:17, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I find one particular part of this article to be severely non-neutral: the characterization of the reviews. The article as it stands seems to imply that the NY Times review was extremely favorable. Here is an additional quote from the review: "rails wildly in support of an almost indefensible proposition." It seemed to me that the review implied that although Hitchens argued his case with 'style,' he's still trying to prove something that's frankly absurd. In contrast, the one negative review mentioned (after reading it, my opinion is that it did a good job pointing out the many errors and mischaracterizations in Hithchens' book) is described as "hostile" rather than a more neutral term such as "unfavorable." That's my two cents, anyway. I'll probably get around to putting that section of the article back in line one of these days.


There are a number of statements within the article that seem to clearly violate the NPOV rules. In fact, the article reads more as a negative review of the essay than as a summary of it's content, along with the reactions of known critical voices. For example, the STRUCTURE section contains the following statements:

"These arguments are not developed or pursued in the book in a scholarly way and, for the most part, lack cited sources.[16] Vague and unsubstantiated imputations of personal impropriety, in particular, are diffused throughout the Introduction and throughout the three main sections entitled respectively "A Miracle" (treating of the 1969 BBC documentary Something Wonderful for God which brought her to the attention of the general public), "Good Works and Heroic Deeds", and "Ubiquity", leading one reviewer to object: "Much is insinuated but nothing quite alleged"[17]"

While this may be appropriate in some kind of COMMON CRITICISMS section, it gives a dubious and, frankly, biased view of the essay in a section where it is inappropriate to do so. Even worse, the subsequent METHOD section is incredibly slanted, going so far as to state outright that "Rhetorical devices, including hyperbole and bathos, are employed to disparage Mother Teresa." This is clearly an editorialized reading of the essay, and not a summary of the methods used by Hitchens to present criticisms of Mother Teresa. The CONTENT section reads much the same way, and is, once again, an inappropriate use of a section meant to summarize the work, not to provide opinions on it's content.

--155.99.214.149 (talk) 05:33, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

I address this below in a new section (12) and await your response. Thanks. Ridiculus mus (talk) 09:28, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Misssio.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 19:41, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Three meanings?[edit]

Hitchens has repeatedly described the book's title as a "triple entendre"[1][2] and even a "perfect triple entendre" [3]. Most people understand that the title has two meanings, but what is the third? Are these the three meanings that Hitchens intended?

  • the sex position
  • Mother Theresa's reputation (personally)
  • the uncritical deference given to religious leaders (generally)

--Hirsutism (talk) 18:39, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Going by the first link of yours, he seems to mean:
(A) the position of missionaries in general: the idea of evangelizing, and condescension and imperialism
(B) a specific missionary(Mother Teresa)'s position on sex and reproduction
(C) the crude meaning or "pun": the sex position
So he seems to enjoy the fact that (A) and (C) are actually connected through (B). Shreevatsa (talk) 18:23, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

No criticism?[edit]

Why is there no criticism section on that book? --41.151.34.209 (talk) 14:12, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Overlinked - September 2012 - See WP:OVERLINK[edit]

This article, which I just tagged for other issues, is inordinately linked with links that run together and links that are repeated unnecessarily, as well as mundane links that are extraneous to the topic of the article. I didn't tag the article with an WP:OVERLINK tag. I'm just noting this here instead. Hope this helps. 72.129.81.5 (talk) 08:54, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Major revert[edit]

I have rolled back the article to the previous wording before 72.129.81.5 (talk · contribs) messed around with it. I found his rewrite to be a blatant WP:NPOV violation; it presented many opinions as fact, where the previous wording is careful to posit everything in terms of Hitchens' opinions and writings. I also restored some valuable ref work that was done after the fact. I believe this revision is one we can work on, moving forward. I do not deny there may still be NPOV problems left here, but I think they are minor, considering the tone of the book and the debate surrounding it. Your comments and concerns are welcome here. Elizium23 (talk) 03:00, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Errors of fact?[edit]

I have not read the book, but I have plundered the google preview, reading the Introduction (all but p. 7) and searching under "Duvalier" (which produced 5 hits) and under "associate" (which produced none).

Leaving aside, for now, errors of fact in the book, I raise an issue here about what I believe to be a mis-statement in the article.

It asserts this, under the highly disputable section-heading Associates (the connotations of noun and verb diverge somewhat):-

Hitchens details Mother Teresa's relationships with wealthy and corrupt individuals including Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and his wife Michèle Duvalier, enigmatic quasi-religious figure John-Roger, and disgraced former financial executive Charles Keating. Hitchens argues that her support for unscrupulous figures contradicts the alleged humanitarianism of her work.

From what I can see in the book à propos Mother Teresa + the Duvaliers:

  • there are few "details" of any kind (Hitchens muses in the introduction about a photo and some video footage)
  • no "relationship" beyond a visit to Haiti in 1981, with an encounter of undefined extent with Michèle Duvalier
  • no suggestion that Mother Teresa met or had any communication with Jean-Claude

Can anyone who has read the book confirm that it indeed "details Mother Teresa's relationships with wealthy and corrupt individuals including Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier"? I have added a cite request, and if no page reference is given, I propose re-writing the sentence I have now put in issue. Thanks Ridiculus mus (talk) 03:01, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

I have now read the book and watched "Hell's Angel". In the film CH says Mother Teresa visited Haiti in 1980 and received the Légion d'honneur "from Baby Doc". These remarks are made as a voice-over to two photographs shown on-screen. The first is a black and white mid-shot of Mother Teresa, sash over her right shoulder, receiving a scroll from Michèle Duvalier: I take it that this is the award which she was, therefore, receiving from Mrs Baby and not from Baby (although, no doubt, he sanctioned it). The second is a colour close-up of the head and shoulders of Baby, quite evidently taken on a different occasion. In the book (p. 5), CH says the visit was made in 1981 (not 1980) and makes no mention of Mother Teresa receiving an award "from Baby Doc". What he says (p. 5, again) is simply that "Mother Teresa was awarded the Haitian Légion d'honneur." Nor, in the book is there mention of Mother Teresa meeting (or, indeed, having contact of any kind) with Baby either during, before or after her visit.
The existing text, then, is a wholly incorrect paraphrase of this aspect of the book which :
  • (i) asserts no "relationship" of any kind with Baby Doc,
  • (ii) describes a different type of contact with Mrs Baby,
  • (iii) does not assert that John-Roger was "corrupt" or "unscrupulous" (or that she had any "relationship" with him), and
  • (iv) correctly states Mr. Keating was convicted of securities fraud - a fact falsified, though, by subsequent events (see Charles Keating).
My perusal leads me to think the entire section needs to be re-thought and re-written. Ridiculus mus (talk) 18:52, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Summary grossly misleading[edit]

A few days ago, I edited the section Charles Keating and raised some concerns here about errors of fact in the section Associates.

Intending to review the whole article afresh, I spent a fair time examining the veracity of the little asserted in the Summary. I find that almost nothing there corresponds with anything in the book. It as almost as if the editors responsible for the section (it was reduced substantially to its present state by a major edit on 19 February 2011) had never read it. My thoughts then turned to wondering what is the point of the article at all. There is already a substantial section on Criticisms (overdue for culling) in Mother Teresa, and an entire article Criticisms of Mother Teresa. Thus there are currently three places in wikipedia where the bemused can access what purport to be the views of C. Hitchens as elaborated in what is a very short book indeed.

Despite my misgivings over the utility of the exercise, I report here my findings as regards the veracity of the Summary. I note, incidentally, that an unfavourable contemporaneous review of the book was published in Library Journal, cited in the article from launch day in October 2003. Gradually, other reviews were added (mostly laudatory), and then, on 15 October 2009, an editor mistakenly thought the Library Journal link was false and challenged the citation, whereupon it was deleted two weeks later. What had happened, however, was that an expand button had temporarily concealed the review - which is still available via Amazon and also Barnes and Noble.

For convenience I print here the full text of the Summary, omitting footnotes and links:-

Hitchens primarily condemns Mother Teresa for redirecting contributions to open a global network of convents in place of building the teaching hospital she promised donors. He also makes direct claims that Mother Teresa was no "friend to the poor," and that she opposed structural measures to end poverty, particularly those that would raise the status of women. He argues she was a tool by which the Catholic Church furthered its political and theological aims, and the cult of personality that he claims she developed was used by politicians, dictators and bankers to gain credibility and assuage guilt, citing Hillary Clinton, Charles Keating and Michèle Bennett as examples.

  • (1) Nowhere in the book does CH accuse Mother Teresa of making promises of any kind to donors, still less of breaking any. The nearest the book gets to what the Summary claims, is in this passage (p. 63):-

    It is safe to say, however, that if all the money had been used on one project it would have been possible, say, to give Calcutta the finest teaching hospital in the entire Third World.

It is not even true (what appeared in a much older edit – see, e.g., at 22 August 2010 and earlier) that CH implied that donors even expected her to do that with their cash gifts. The "broken promises" jibe is a pure figment of over-ripe imaginations.

  • (2) Nowhere in the book does there appear the phrase "friend to the poor", or anything equivalent.
  • (3) As for claiming that the book asserts that Mother Teresa "opposed structural measures to end poverty, particularly those that would raise the status of women", the closest parallel in the book would seem to be this (p. 58):-

    Mother Teresa made it plain yet again that there is no connection at all in her mind between the conditions of poverty and misery that she 'combats' and the inability of the very poor to reach the plateau on which limitation of family size becomes a rational choice.

Certainly, CH says nothing in his book about measures (structural or otherwise) which would "raise the status of women", or anything equivalent.

  • (4) CH does not claim that Mother Teresa developed a personality cult around herself. What he wrote (at the end of the Introduction, p. 15) was:-

    What follows here is an argument not with a deceiver but with the deceived. If Mother Teresa is the adored object of many credulous and uncritical observers, then the blame is not hers, or hers alone. In the gradual manufacture of an illusion, the conjurer is only the instrument of the audience.

  • (5) CH certainly denies that Mother Teresa was "apolitical"; in fact, he calls her a "political operative" (p. 11). He also expresses the opinion (p. 55) that:-

    The fundamentalist faction within the Vatican has found her useful in two ways - first as an advertisement for the good works of the Church to non-Catholics; and second as a potent instrument of moral suasion within the ranks of the existing faithful.

This is by no means the same as "[arguing] she was a tool by which the Catholic Church furthered its political and theological aims" (whatever they might be). With reference to her many trips around the world, CH puts it (p. 83) no higher than "worth considering" whether they were made "in furtherance of the more flinty political stands taken by hard-liners in her own Church. The personal conduct and the questionable policy are at least congruent in each instance.". So, what the Summary declares is one of CH's main arguments, is no more than speculation.

  • (6) Finally, does CH argue that Mother Teresa (let us ignore the cult aspect for now) "was used by politicians, dictators and bankers to gain credibility and assuage guilt"? The first limb is at least arguable in a few cases. He did indeed write (p. 65) that she "allowed Keating to make use of her prestige on several important occasions"; and (of John-Roger, p. 7) that she "[lent] him the lustre of her name and image". As for Hillary Clinton (and let's add Marion Barry), what he wrote (p. 10) is that they got "some safe, free publicity" from Mother Teresa. This is reprised in the Afterword (p. 98) where we read:-

    she has furnished PR-type cover for all manner of cultists and shady businessmen.

Publicity is not the same as credibility, so we must absolve CH of the charge that he claimed Clinton sought "credibility" from keeping company with Mother Teresa. The second limb must be rejected altogether. There is a single general remark (p. 15) about "the rich part of the world [having] a poor conscience", but nowhere does CH come close to asserting that any individual sought to associate with Mother Teresa in order to "assuage guilt".

Comment on the Summary ends. Ridiculus mus (talk) 16:43, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Missionaries of Charity section is calumnious[edit]

There are no in-line references anywhere in the article save in the Reviews section, which encourages me in my belief that the entire article has been progressively elaborated by editors who enjoyed the luxury of reading only the reviews. All emphases in what follows are mine.

Section currently reads (links omitted):-

Hitchens portrays Mother Teresa's organization, the Missionaries of Charity, as a cult which promoted the suffering of those under its care rather than helping those in need. He argues that Teresa's own words on poverty proved that her intention was not to actively end suffering, citing a 1981 press conference in which she was asked: "Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?" and responded, "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

First, the Missionaries are not "[Mother Teresa]'s organization"; it is a religious institute established under the Canon Law of the Catholic Church and it is no more than a courtesy to employ in relation to them the term they use to describe themselves. Small point easily corrected, but then there are at least three major problems with the section.

  • Nowhere does CH say the Missionaries "promoted suffering". This is perhaps an attempt to reproduce the burden of this passage (p. 41) in the book:-

    The point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection.

Since "promulgation" makes no sense here we must assume CH intended to write "propagation", but that is by-the-by. What matters is that the passage gives no cover for the outrageous calumny that the sisters "promote the suffering of those in their care".

  • As for CH "portray[ing] Mother Teresa's organization as a cult . . ", this is, at best, an overblown account of what he actually wrote. He uses "cult/-ish/-ism" at 9 places in the book. The first time (p. xiii) has no specific reference. Next, he uses it once in relation to the Duvalier regime (p. 3), and twice with reference to John-Roger (p. 7, and, without naming him, p. 98). With reference to Mother Teresa, he twice links "cult" with her name:- "the whole Mother Teresa cult" (p. 22), and "the Teresa cult" (p. 97).

That leaves three other uses of the word(s). CH wrote (p. 13) that Mother Teresa is "already the personal object of a following not much short of cultish". Later (p. 41), he discusses what he calls "the point" (already quoted above) of what Mother Teresa is about , writing that it "is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection." Finally, as part of his preamble to an extended quote from Susan Shields, he comments (p. 44):-

If her memoir reads like the testimony of a former cult member, this is because in many ways it is. She relates that, within the order, total obedience to the dictates of a single woman is enforced at every level. Questioning of authority is not an option.

Evidently, CH could not quite bring himself to denounce the Missionaries outright as a "cult", since he had every opportunity to do so and baulked at it. To say, then, that CH "portrays . . . the Missionaries of Charity, as a cult" is simply false.

  • The third objection is the false characterisation (by way of inserting it into a false context) of CH's treatment in his book of what Mother Teresa said at a press conference in Washington, D.C. in 1981 (pages 10f.). Contrary to what is asserted in the section, CH develops no argument from the text to explore Mother Teresa's intentions. That is to say, the words are not "cited" for the purpose alleged in the section. CH simply slots it into snide anecdotes about Marion Barry and uses it to demonstrate that Mother Teresa did not intend offering the inhabitants of run-down Anacostia what they were clamouring for: jobs, housing and services.

Ridiculus mus (talk)

Problems with the lede[edit]

The lede is no less tainted by copious errors than the rest of the article (bar the Review section). It currently reads, in the material part (emphasis added):-

. . a book by Christopher Hitchens addressing Mother Teresa's life and work. The book presents broad criticism of Mother Teresa and her missionary activity, particularly that she acted as a political opportunist and dogmatist to the detriment of those served by her charities. The book unfolds as an argument that Mother Teresa (born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) does not deserve beatification and elevation to sainthood . .

(1) Life : The book contains one page on her life story from her birth in 1910 to her journey from Dublin to Bengal in 1928, and says nothing about her life between 1928 and 1969. Most of the discussion of her travels and activity dates from after the award of the 1979 Nobel Prize (when she was 69). It cannot fairly be said to "address her life".

(2) Detriment : The book characterises her international travels as "political" and denounces Catholic moral teaching (and her adherence to it) in the context of world over-population, poverty, and hunger; it also raises a broad question about the practical impact of her service to the poor and questions her spending priorities. At a stretch it might be said that the book expresses the opinion that all rightist governments and the moral teaching of the Catholic Church (jointly and severally) actively undermine attempts by others to relieve world poverty through population control. What the book does not do is claim that her political alignment (as CH sees it) or her faith conduced "to the detriment of those served by her charities".

(3) The term "political opportunist" is often applied to someone like CH who changed intellectual allegiance from left to right (in his case) for reasons opaque to those whose cause he repudiated. His book contains no allegation that MT is a political opportunist – rather the reverse. She is presented as an outright and consistent social and political reactionary (pp. 55, 86, 88, 93). CH did call her "a political operative" (p. 11) and "the emissary of a very determined and very politicized papacy" (p. 14). He can only speculate as to her motives in visiting Haiti and Albania (p. 83), but praises her sense of timing (p. 87); and he says of her "[t]o invest temporal and temporizing politics with the faint odour of sanctity . . is political in the extreme" (pp. 91f.). He even draws attention to her silence on right-wing atrocities (Contra death squads and the Duvaliers) and contrasts it with her rebuke of the left-wing Sandinistas (p. 93). Somewhere along the line this all got garbled and emerged as a claim in the lede that MT was a "political opportunist". Mary Loudon (1996, p. 65) opined that Mother Teresa is an "opportunist", but not in a political sense. According to her, Mother Teresa took people for a ride: "travelling happily on the wave of others' desire for association with someone universally recognised as good, and possibly even touched by the divine" (not the only place in her review where she yields to imprudent fantasy).

(4) The book's argument : It is not at all clear that the purpose of the book was to block or impede the eventual beatification of Mother Teresa. CH correctly took it for granted the process would go ahead (" . . here is a saint in the making, whose sites and relics will one day be venerated", p. 13) and conceded that "many people who are not even Roman Catholics have already decided that [she] is a saint" (p. 14). In any case, the issue takes up little space in a book whose argument (if there is one) has no ultimate end in view but is a bald-headed attempt to debunk a revered figure whom he charges with being (inter alia)"a political operative" (p. 11), "a demagogue, an obscurantist and a servant of earthly powers" (p. 50) whose "affectation of poverty" (p. 61) is "hypocritical" (p. 71), and who "reigns in a kingdom that is very much of this world" (p. 71). That's about the long and the short of it, and to attribute anything so vulgar as a purpose to the book is to misunderstand CH. His life's work was épater les bourgeois. Ridiculus mus (talk) 22:36, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Did Hitchens verbally "attack" Mother Teresa?[edit]

An anonymous editor recently edited out "attack" in the lede to The Missionary Position in pursuance of "a more neutral tone". The issue, however, is Mr. Hitchens' own characterisation of his work.

As to that, he called his earlier work "polemics" (from Greek polemos meaning "war") and situated his 1995 book in the context of a "battle" (his word) between opposing forces in which he placed himself on one side and Mother Teresa on the other. See footnote 9 to the wiki-article for the relevant references. In his 1992 Nation piece he called her a "dangerous, sinister person" not to mention other abusive language used with regard to her (especially, but not only, in The Missionary Position. That seems sufficient to establish the validity of the word "attack".

But there is more. Laura Morrow in her "Media Watch" report for Crisis Magazine (1 June, 1995) described Hitchens' 1994 TV programme "Hell's Angel" as "an attack on Mother Teresa". Simon Leys in a letter to the New York Review of Books (19 September, 1996) described The Missionary Position as an "attack" on Mother Teresa, and Hitchens, in his reply to Leys (19 December, 1996), noticed the use of the word but did not contest it.

In all these circumstances, and without labouring the point any further, "attack" is a reasonable and fair description of what Hitchens himself thought he was doing - therefore no neutrality issue arises.

As for the correct term to use for what was written by Smoker (and Greer, who called Mother Teresa a "villain") I am not much exercised, but the word "criticism" is ambiguous: it can imply a reasoned, thoughtful analysis or it can mean mere censure.

My inclination, then, is to use "censure" for pre-Hitchens, but I invited the anonymous editor to revert his (or her) edit re Hitchens who clearly considered himself as attacking Mother Teresa and was openly "hostile" to religion (his word, again, in an interview with Matt Cherry, Free Inquiry Magazine, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, 1996). Ridiculus mus (talk) 15:16, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments on Structure, Method and Content which led to wholesale deletion[edit]

An anonymous editor has deleted the whole of the section "Content" on the grounds that it provides an opinion, as opposed to a summary, of the content. I reproduce here the first paragraph of the deleted section and invite comment as to whether it can truly be said to show editorial bias as opposed to presenting a summary of the contents of the book (the footnotes must be read by scrolling back to the last version before the large deletion):-

In the Introduction, Hitchens claimed that Mother Teresa consorted with "frauds, crooks and exploiters", insinuating that she was herself a fraud and an impostor – a charge expressly reliant on guilt by association.[22] In the Afterword he casually alluded to "her friendship with despots".[23] Although much is made of a photograph of Mother Teresa receiving an official award in January 1981 from the then wife of Jean-Claude Duvalier (at that time the President of Haiti), no substantive allegations are made about Mother Teresa arising from her visit to Haiti, and the broad claim of friendship with despots is nowhere substantiated.[24] Hitchens does not claim that Mother Teresa met President Duvalier, still less that she accepted money from him or his wife. In early 1981 Madame Duvalier enjoyed widespread approval for her concern for the poor in Haiti, visiting deprived communities and establishing health clinics. Hitchens omitted this from his book, but he had previously referred to it in an article in The Nation in 1992.[25] In a 1993 interview with Brian Lamb broadcast by C-SPAN, Hitchens, in response to a hypothetical question, said: "The fact is, I don't know if she got any money from the Duvaliers".[26] Even if she had accepted money from the Duvaliers, Lamb proposed, diverting money from despots to charity might be commendable. Hitchens did not demur.

Wiki guidelines on WP:NPOV extend to this WP:NPOVFAQ:-

Especially contentious text can be removed to the talk page if necessary, but only as a last resort, and never just deleted. It is a frequent misunderstanding of the NPOV policy, often expressed by newbies, visitors, and outside critics, that articles must not contain any form of bias, hence their efforts to remove statements they perceive as biased. The NPOV policy does forbid the inclusion of editorial bias, but does not forbid properly sourced bias. Without the inclusion and documentation of bias in the real world, many of our articles would fail to document the sum total of human knowledge, and would be rather "blah" reading, devoid of much meaningful and interesting content.

I ask the anonymous editor to point out (having regard to the cited sources) where precisely this paragraph offends through "editorial bias". If and insofar as it does so offend, the proper response is to edit out any perceived editorial bias and not to delete the totality. In present circumstances, this process ought to be conducted first here, and not via edits to the article. No doubt it will be a tedious process, but this process will have to be repeated for every paragraph of the deleted section. Ridiculus mus (talk) 09:26, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

I first addressed the issues at hand in Section 1, though I don't believe that I deleted any sections of the article itself, so I can only assume that was a response to the concerns that I raised previously. That being said, I will address the paragraph above. It was never my intention to insinuate that the criticisms presented in the above paragraph are inappropriate for placement in the article, as a whole. My issue lies with the fact that the so-called CONTENT section is presented in such a way that many of Hitchens' arguments are undermined by claiming - sometimes in a thoroughly debatable fashion - that they constitute well-established logical fallacies. These are perspectives that have a place in the article, but their place is *not* in the CONTENT section, which should consist simply of the arguments that Hitchens presents in his essay, without further comment. Then, if there are critical objections that have been raised to the arguments that he presents, those should be placed in a separate section - perhaps, a CRITICISM section - such that readers can separate what it is that Hitchens' *actually* says in his book from how others have reacted to his claims, since.155.99.212.69 (talk) 18:37, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Incorrect. Read Wikipedia:Criticism. Criticism sections are frequently inappropriate. If the criticism can be integrated into the whole of the article then there is no need to relegate it to a separate section. Elizium23 (talk) 19:25, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Original Research/Synthesis[edit]

I tagged this for Original Research and Synthesis given the large quantity of original research in the references section and use of multiple quotes to argue that a consensus exists on the critique of this work. 50.58.99.78 (talk) 15:19, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Biased article[edit]

This is a biased article. It is not worth reading. It tells us nothing of what is in the book. It reads as if it were written by a disgruntled old Catholic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bunkhabit (talkcontribs) 23:58, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

The book is controversial and no doubt polemical in nature, but this article reads very unfavourably and obviously aims to discredit the work. The above coment is spot on.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.48.60.46 (talkcontribs) 4:58, 27 March 2014

My edits 27 March 2014[edit]

I did far more editing than I intended when I came here thinking I'd see what was said about William Donohue's thoughts about the book. So I'll explain a bit:

  • No reader needs a debate about how long or short this book is. It's short. The reader esp doesn't need to read an argument with the publisher about the number of pages. The page count is part of a book's technical specifications and never equal to the count of pages of text. It's like height and width, and about as newsworthy.
  • Many authors address the same subject in different formats over time. There's nothing remarkable here. I moved Hitchens' earlier works about MT out of the summary and into the body of the article. Same for the fact that others have provided less than flattering assessments of her. Unremarkable and not right for the summary.
  • I started work on the contents, here called "Structure". I only stopped because I didn't want to use a Kindle citations and will pick up when I have a hard copy in hand. I'd note that quoting the text from time to time is helpful.
  • Though I removed a thousand characters, it was mostly repetitive and wordy material. I created a Notes section for commentary that is not properly speaking references or citations.

I've enjoyed working on contentious subjects in the past (Dorothy Day, A. Mitchell Palmer) and hope to be able to contribute here. I'm on William Donohue lately and hope his entry is more substantive and less POV now. And he's less of a cartoon, though I doubt he's ever expressed an opinion I'd second. I certainly have my own (strong) views on The Missionary Position, but that's what makes the challenge of NPOV an exciting intellectual enterprise. One suggestion: it's much easier to write a proper summary of a WP entry when the body of the entry is in good shape. Thanks. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 19:25, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you! You have been doing great work, content work of which I am mostly incapable. Keep it up. Elizium23 (talk) 19:30, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

I've done what I can. It's not easy to summarize this work -- when CH gets going he's on a rhetorical roll -- but I hope I've gotten the main points. The exchange n the NY Review of Books is probably better than any sampling of reviews. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 22:02, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 22 June 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Thanks. Don't know what I was thinking when I didn't check.  Request withdrawn for now. Ping if there are any issues. (non-admin closure) — Andy W. (talk ·ctb) 05:00, 22 June 2016 (UTC)


The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and PracticeThe Missionary Position – This page has moved around a bit. When it was The Missionary Position, it got moved recently without elaboration. I made a technical correction, but I believe the title should be The Missionary Position per extension of WP:SUBTITLES. — Andy W. (talk ·ctb) 02:10, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Pinging Jg2904 and In ictu oculi for awareness. — Andy W. (talk ·ctb) 02:11, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: This move request, in its present state, is malformed since The Missionary Position is a disambiguation page with a few entries. Steel1943 (talk) 03:53, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

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