"The poor give us much more than we give them," said Mother Teresa in 1977, and from that time until her death, two decades later, the Nobel laureate did as much as she could to keep the spiritually rich poor in a position to maintain their holy generosity. The fundamentalist who signed her name to the defence of the rich and corrupt and oversaw the painful, sometimes avoidable deaths of the poor in her stinking hospices must have been especially fond of Matthew 26:11. “The poor,” said Christ, “you will always have with you.”
To give Teresa’s husband his due, though, this was an economic declaration made millennia ago. A possibly illiterate carpenter who, if he did exist at all, did not exist in the era of globalisation, must be permitted his naive shrug. Teresa, however, was cynical and modern enough to know that poverty and its attendant pain were not inevitable.