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Could the US election see Mother Teresa barred from heaven? And if so, who should be thanked for this miracle on high?
Eamonn McCann, 04 Nov 2008
Obama attack ads are drawing attention to John McCain’s association with Mother Teresa crony Charles Keating – in retaliation for attacks on Obama’s relationship with a preacher and a former urban guerrilla of the Weatherman tendency.
In the 1980s, Keating, a devout Catholic, ran a savings and loans company, which attracted funds from thousands of working-class people impressed by his claim to be motivated not by greed but by religious zeal. Actually, Keating was a liar who specialised in fleecing the poor. He embezzled more than $250 million from the company. Many savers were left penniless after having worked all their lives.
Arizona senator McCain intervened repeatedly in the case, urging investigators not to press charges: Keating had been a contributor to his campaigns. Now, at a time of meltdown and malice, McCain’s lobbying for the con-man isn’t playing well with Middle America.
But McCain wasn’t as close to the fraudster as Teresa. Even after Keating was rumbled, she reckoned that his vigorous support for the “pro-life” movement outweighed all other factors. As well, Keating had deposited more than a million dollars of the loot in her account. When the LA district attorney’s office, trying to recover funds to make a pay-out to victims, asked for the stolen money back, she point-blank refused, quipping that the wad had now become “God’s money.”
After Keating’s conviction, Teresa wrote to Judge Ito (the chap from the first OJ trial), begging him to go easy on her benefactor. She later sent Keating a crucifix blessed by John Paul to hang in the cell where he was serving 10 years.
The Albanian wrinkly, who died in 1997, is already a Blessed, fast-tracked to the threshold of saintdom by her great admirer, John Paul II, on the basis of a reputed miracle – the recovery from a stomach tumour of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, after a locket with a picture of the nun had been rubbed on her body.
Monica’s doctor, Ranjan Kumar Mustafi, insists that the recovery was down to medicine. “She had a medium-sized tumour in her lower abdomen caused by tuberculosis. Anti-tubercular drugs eventually reduced the cystic mass and it disappeared after a year’s treatment. Talk of a miracle is just nonsense.”