Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
It seems a reasonable request.
The Catholic League requested that Empire State Building officials light the famous New York skyscraper on August 26, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
They’ve done as much for dog shows, Mariah Carey, and even the 60th anniversary of communist China. But for Mother Teresa, they say No. In an unsigned, faxed letter, they say No. And they have since refused to answer questions put to them by the Catholic League or in any way explain their refusal to honor the Catholic saint and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
In typical form, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is incensed. Say what you like about Bill Donohue, but in a world where many of us seem all too willing to roll over and play dead while the Catholic Church is maligned and disrespected, this man knows how to become properly incensed.
“They’re bigots! They have an animus against Catholics!” Catholic League President Bill Donohue told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
At the Catholic League website, you can see a video of Donohue discussing the Empire State Building’s rejection of Mother Teresa. You can also read and sign a petition addressed to the owner of the Empire State Building. It reads, in part:
Mother Teresa received 124 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Freedom. She built hundreds of orphanages, hospitals, hospices, health clinics, homeless shelters, youth shelters and soup kitchens all over the world, and is revered in India for her work. She created the first hospice in Greenwich Village for AIDS patients. Not surprisingly, she was voted the most admired woman in the world three years in a row in the mid-1990s.
Last year the Empire State Building shone in red and yellow lights to honor the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Revolution. Yet under its founder, Mao Zedong, the Communists killed 77 million people. In other words, the greatest mass murderer in history merited the same tribute being denied to Mother Teresa.
According to the application one must use to request an honorary Empire State Building lighting, selection is “a privilege, not an entitlement” and a decision is made “at the sole discretion of the (company’s) ownership and management.” The Empire State Building Company “is under no obligation to provide specific feedback to any individual or organization regarding the status, merit and/or denial of its application.”
Well yes, apparently so. But it seems in this case, where so much press has been given to their rejection of Mother Teresa, a little bit in the way of an explanation would be in order.