Friday, June 25, 2010

Protests arise over building's denial of a tribute to Mother Teresa

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Brushing off calls from political leaders and others to reconsider, the Empire State Building management stood by its decision to deny a request that the building pay tribute to Blessed Mother Teresa with a lighting display on the 100th anniversary of her birth Aug. 26. A protest outside the iconic Manhattan building will be held instead, led by William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to issue a commemorative stamp bearing Mother Teresa's image the same day. Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died Sept. 5, 1997. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2003. Donohue submitted a request in February that the building be lit to honor Mother Teresa with blue and white lights, the colors of the habits of the Missionaries of Charity. She founded the order in Calcutta, India. In a June 11 statement, building owner Anthony Malkin said his decision not to light the building is "final and irrevocable." Donohue said June 14, "If he thinks that I'm the only one taking exception to his decision to stiff Mother Teresa, then let him try taking a stroll down 34th Street on the evening of August 26."

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