Kathryn Lopez

Faith is apparently the buzzword of the moment, as the wolf-pack media attacks a world-renowned figure's religious resolve while, at least for now, giving another major female a pass on the political motivations of her publicized beliefs.

Time magazine's Aug. 23 article "Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith" posits that Mother Teresa's dedication to God wasn't exactly what it seemed. Atheist Christopher Hitchens, author of the anti-Mother Teresa book "The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice" (Verso, 1997), embraced the hype, heralding her as a fellow unbeliever. And one seemingly clueless blogger for the Chicago Tribune asked: "Can saints have bad days?"

Um, yes.

Time began its expose with this quote from one of the many letters written by Mother Teresa, which are found in the new book "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light" (Doubleday): "Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness are so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear."

Of course she felt empty once in a while. She dealt with people's suffering -- the poorest of the poor -- and the most debilitating and isolating of illnesses, which sometimes made her wonder how God could let such pain exist. Shocking? Not quite.

Try "human."

In one of her letters to a spiritual director found in the book, she wrote: "Now Father -- since '49 or '50 this terrible sense of loss -- this untold darkness -- this loneliness this continual longing for God -- which gives me that pain deep down in my heart -- Darkness is such that I really do not see -- neither with my mind nor with my reason -- the place of God in my soul is blank ..." The chattering class reacts with shock, as if they were encountering a senator in a public bathroom sliding his foot into the next stall. Apparently, the chatterers have never encountered the term "Doubting Thomas," Saint Augustine or actual believers. Apparently they have never seen the words of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, who at the hour of his death cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Christians believe faith to be a great gift -- one that, among other things, helps to explain the unexplainable. The fact that there can be challenges and dark nights is not press-stopping news.


I wonder whether the media will be as aggressive as it looks at what seems to be newfound religion among Democratic presidential front-runners.

In a recent debate, Democratic candidates were asked about their spiritual lives. There were some cliches and some sincerity. But there was also the suggestion of a life of deep prayer.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.