Fr. Rutler tells Hitchens “a Catholic or a madman”

An exchange between Fr. George Rutler and Christopher Hitchens that took place back in May, (hat tip to the Curt Jester), during the question and answer session, first from Poe:

FATHER RUTLER: I have met saints. You cannot explain the existence of saints without God. I was nine years chaplain with Mother Teresa [inaudible]. You have called her a whore, a demagogue. She’s in heaven that you don’t believe in, but she’s praying for you. If you do not believe in heaven, that’s why you drink.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Excuse me?

FATHER RUTLER: That’s why you drink. God has offered us happiness, all of us. And you will either die a Catholic or a madman, and I’ll tell you the difference.

And secondly, I’m an officer with this club. And this conversation has been beneath the dignity of this club.

Hitchens take in Vanity Fair:

In a magnanimous mood, I say, Fair enough—let’s extend the event for a man of the cloth. This turns out to be Father George Rutler of the Church of Our Saviour, who announces that he’s on the committee of the club and will make sure that I am never invited there again. There’s some shock at this inhospitable attitude, but I think: Gosh. Holy Mother Church used to threaten people with eternal damnation. Now it’s exclusion from the Union League Club. What a comedown. In a brisk exchange near the elevator, the good father assures me that I shall die a Catholic. Why do people think this is such a good point?

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