In other words, “faith” is at its most toxic and dangerous point not when it is insincere and hypocritical and corrupt but when it is genuine. At that point, its energy of certainty and self-righteousness can be used, not only to reinforce the Church but also (as Mother Teresa’s continuing reputation demonstrates) to impress even the secular. The evidence now is that this is how she and her confessors squared the circle. Repress your misgivings, overcome your de?spair, re?double your efforts, and we will make you a saint and later claim that you cured the sick even after your death. It’s at this point that the cynical loops round to meet the na?ve and say in effect that anything is permissible as long as it keeps the illusion alive. Again, one has to stand amazed before a clergy who can use, as a recruiting sergeant, a wretched old lady whose own faith, as they well knew, had worn to a husk.
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