St. Teresa of Calcutta. / Credit: © 1986 Túrelio (via Wikimedia-Commons), 1986 / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0 de
ACI Prensa Staff, Sep 20, 2023 / 18:00 pm (CNA).
Several priests with a presence on social media and the civil association Enraizados have protested derogatory comments made against St. Teresa of Calcutta on a radio program in Spain.
On Monday this week, a contributor to the Spanish radio station Cadena SER’s main news program, Roberto Enríquez Higueras, known as Bob Pop, claimed that St. Teresa of Calcutta was part of a list of “bad people who did things well” along with personalities such as Shakira, Diana Spencer (Lady Di), the writer Truman Capote, the politician Margaret Thatcher, and the Nobel laureate in literature Mario Vargas Llosa.
Higueras said the Albanian saint who founded the Missionaries of Charity “is worse than cinchona,” an expression used in Spain that refers to the bitter taste of the plant.
Asked about the reasons that led him to assert such a thing, he responded that it was based “on her entire policy, on her entire creed. She actually dedicated herself to taking advantage of poverty, all of the worst: She prevented abortions, she sold children… The only good thing that Teresa of Calcutta did was to appear that she was good.”
Higueras further accused the saint of being a “chunga,” (a dodgy person as defined by the Spanish Royal Academy: “bad-looking, in poor condition, of poor quality”) because she dedicated herself to “claiming pain, poverty — other people’s of course — as a experience of coming to Christ. But in reality she worked for the system, for power.”
In his opinion, what she did well was play “the character, we believed it,” which he called “a great job.”
The host of Cadena SER’s star program, Ángels Barceló, added: “Acting all day has to be terrible.”
Bob Pop has been a contributor to Mongolia magazine, known among other issues for its irreverent and blasphemous covers. He is also the author of a television series titled “Maricón perdido.” In 2021, the Ministry of Equality awarded him the Rainbow Recognition for LGBT visibility in the field of communications.
In response, Father Jaime Melchior pointed out on X that the attack on St. Teresa of Calcutta “hides something more important: Smearing people, and their heroic actions, worthy of imitation, so that we believe it’s impossible to attain holiness.”
Father Francisco José Delgado ironically commented on the controversial radio program when he said of Bob Pop and the journalist Ángels Barceló: “If these two despicable persons spoke well of St. Teresa of Calcutta I would be worried.”
Father Francisco Llorens of the Archdiocese of Valencia considered that what happened is “very serious” and that what pains him the most “is the silence of the house of Añastro” — in reference to the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, whose headquarters are on that street in Madrid.
Father Ignacio Narváez, SJ, asked that the link to the video that has circulated on messaging apps not be opened, “because they will interpret the views as a victory. What we Christians do is pray for those who denigrate, lie, and sow hatred.”
Father Juan Manuel Góngora of the Diocese of Almería responded to the criticism of radio contributor Bop Pop with a brief image from the film “The Passion of the Christ” in which Jesus, in the Garden of Olives, crushes the head of a serpent.
Today the Enraizados Association launched a protest campaign against the performance on Cadena SER, which they said “harshly lashed out against St. Teresa of Calcutta, spreading hatred against her life.”
In the text encouraging the protest, the association’s president, José Castro, stated that “if Mother Teresa were here, she would probably tell us that ‘lack of love is the greatest poverty.’ Precisely for that reason, because of her enormous capacity to love, she saved children from being aborted. Which this heartless commentator absurdly denounces.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.