Hitchens Named “Promoter of the Faith”

Actually, the Vatican abolished that office — also known as the “devil’s advocate” — 20 years ago, but when it came time to beatify Mother Teresa, the Church turned to Christopher Hitchens, contrarian on-call, to offer evidence against the last century’s most famous nun. Hitchens, author of The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, wanted to make the case that not only should she be knocked off the fast track to sainthood, but that her connections with dictators and her reactionary responses to Church reforms should condemn her name to the gutters in which she worked. Instead, he was allowed only to fill out a standardized questionnaire with “yes,” “no,” and “no comment” responses to 263 queries.Jerome Weeks of The Dallas Morning News provides a funny account of Hitchens’ very short Catholic career, but the more interesting question is: Why did the church do away with the devil’s advocate? And whom, besides Hitchens, does it call upon to stand in the way of sainthood?

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