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Catholics fight over Mother

world Updated: Aug 27, 2010 00:08 IST

A coalition of groups representing “progressive Catholics” has come out against the Catholic League, which will be holding a rally against the Empire State Building owner's decision to not bathe the iconic tower in blue and white floodlights to honour Mother Teresa's 100th birth anniversary.

The building is currently in the midst of a controversy, which began in May when the Catholic League, a religious and civil rights organization, applied for the lighting honour and was denied. The building's management said that it turned down the request because they do not honour religious figures.

The Catholic League will held a rally on Thursday in front of the building to oppose the decision.

However, Catholics for Choice and 12 other Catholic organizations have endorsed a letter to the building's owner, Anthony Malkin of Malkin Properties, supporting the decision.

They, on the other hand, criticised Catholic League President Bill Donohue for what they said was a “self-promotion campaign” to hold a rally.

“Mother Teresa was a very humble woman...she would look upon this campaign by the Catholic League as something that was the very opposite of how she lived her life,” David Nolan, director of communications for Catholics for Choice, said.

Donohue countered the criticism by claiming that the Catholics for Choice represent the “lunatic fringe”. “You're talking about people who are pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage. They're in the wrong church. They're angry at the Catholic church,” he said.

“They're angry at me because I'm an outspoken Catholic spokesman, and they know we have some muscle. They have none. Like parasites, they kind of feed off of us ... but they're going to have no effect on me,” he added.

The public opinion is squarely in Donohue's camp, and in support of paying respect to a Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent her life in selfless service to the poor.