An interesting exchange between Christopher Hitchens & Fr. Rutler. Thanks to The Curt Jester for bringing this out and to Richard Lawrence Poe who wrote the story. And here’s another article about that evening.
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.
UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: No it hasn’t been.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, it is now.
DAVID HOROWITZ: Okay. I–
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It is now.
FATHER RUTLER: And I’d just say that…
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Fine host you turned out to be.