SummaryHitchens condemns Mother Teresa for having used contributions to open convents in 150 countries rather than establishing the teaching hospital toward which her donors expected that she would apply their gifts. He 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 she developed was used by politicians, dictators and bankers to gain credibility and assuage guilt, citing Hillary Rodham Clinton, Charles Keating and Michèle Bennett as examples.
Missionaries of CharityHitchens portrays Mother Teresa's organization, the Missionaries of Charity, as a cult which has promoted suffering to further its own financial ends and does not help those in need. He argues that Teresa's own words on poverty proved that her intention was not to help people, citing a 1981 press conference in which she was asked: "Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?" She replied:
"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."
AssociatesHitchens 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.
Charles KeatingThe book includes the reproduction of a letter written by Mother Teresa on behalf of Charles Keating to Judge Lance Ito who was presiding over Keating's trial for defrauding his investors of billions of dollars. The letter urged the judge to consider the fact that Keating had donated generously ($1.25 million) to the Missionaries of Charity and suggested that Judge Ito "look into [his] heart" and "do what Jesus would do."
Hitchens also includes the contents of a letter written to Mother Teresa by the man prosecuting the case against Keating, Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles Paul Turley. In the letter, Mr. Turley pointed out to Mother Teresa that Keating was on trial for stealing more than $250 million from over 17,000 investors in his business. In addition, Turley expresses his opinion that "[n]o church, no charity, no organization should allow itself to be used as a salve for the conscience of the criminal" and suggests:
"Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience? I submit that Jesus would promptly and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same. You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the 'indulgence' he desires. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it! If you contact me I will put you in direct contact with the rightful owners of the property now in your possession."After the conclusion of the letter, Hitchens notes: "Mr. Turley has received no reply to his letter. Nor can anyone account for the missing money: saints, it seems, are immune to audit."