Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally some common sense about Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday

Mother Teresa might not be getting a lighted tribute from the Empire State Building on the 100th anniversary of her birthday later this month.

But another iconic structure -- the Peace Bridge -- will be aglow in blue and white lights on Aug. 26 in honor of the renowned Catholic nun, who died in 1997 and is now under consideration for sainthood.

The Peace Bridge operator said it has no restriction against lighting the bridge in Mother Teresa's honor and was agreeing to a joint request from the Catholic dioceses of Buffalo and St. Catharines, Ont.

"We get numerous requests such as this," said Ron Rienas, general manager of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, which runs the Peace Bridge. "We did not take the view that this was a religious request. It's really commemorating the charitable works of Mother Teresa."

Malkin Properties, the owner of the Empire State Building, received heavy criticism for denying a lighting request at the world-famous structure in the heart of Manhattan.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights launched a nationwide petition drive in May protesting the denial and plans a demonstration outside the building on Aug. 26.

William Donohue, Catholic league president, has repeatedly argued that the Empire State Building was "stiffing" Mother Teresa and all Catholics, even though in 2009 the building's owner chose to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Communist revolution in China that resulted in the deaths of millions of people.

Some New York City Council members also have been critical of the decision not to light the tower. Speaker Christine C. Quinn encouraged New Yorkers to light up their homes in blue and white as a tribute instead.

The fracas in the Big Apple led to a joint request by Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Buffalo diocese and Monsignor Wayne Kirkpatrick of the St. Catharines diocese for the lighting of the Peace Bridge, which spans the Niagara River connecting Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ont.

The request "seemed fitting," given that Mother Teresa was "certainly a woman of peace," said Kevin A. Keenan, spokesman for the Buffalo Diocese.

In a prepared statement, Kmiec said he was grateful that the bridge will be illuminated. "This is symbolic in that Blessed Mother Teresa's light continues to shine around the world," he said.

Rienas said the requested tribute for Mother Teresa did not appear to be controversial.

"Regardless of anyone's religious background, I don't think anyone can argue with the good works that Mother Teresa did. That's the viewpoint we took," he said.

Finally, some common sense!!!!

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