Empire State Building declines to honor Mother Teresa
Building has policy against religious observances
The Empire State Building in New York City has declined to observe what would have been Mother Teresa's 100th birthday in August. It's left a lot of the nun's followers out in the cold - and they plan to quietly protest the policy.
Outside of lightings for Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah and Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), the Empire State Building 'has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations.'
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Outside of lightings for Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah and Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), the Empire State Building "has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations," the building's owner Anthony E. Malkin said in a statement.
"Selection as an Empire State Building Lighting Partner is at the sole discretion of the ownership and management of the Empire State Building Company LLC," the privately owned building's Web site says. The site says that selection is "a privilege, not an entitlement."
The announcement has left many feeling bruised. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, called the decision "mind-boggling" and "indefensible and obscene," speculating that anti-Catholic bigotry was at play.
"Malkin has made his decision to stiff Catholics," Donohue said. "His decision to double down at this juncture - in the face of massive support for our request - is something he will regret for the rest of his life."
In protest, the Catholic League plans to demonstrate outside the Empire State Building on August 26, which would have been the 100th birthday of Mother Teresa, who cared for the poor and homeless of India. She died in 1997.
A petition in favor of the observance has collected 40,000 signatures. "I think that too many Catholics have fallen asleep at the wheel," Donohue says. "It's time for people, the rank and file to say enough is enough. I hope it's going to be nonviolent, I wouldn't encourage violence but I know there's a lot of anger."
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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