The Bedford Cheese Shop, with outlets in Brooklyn and Manhattan, was the unlikely source of a filthy assault on Mother Teresa this summer. After we launched a vigorous protest, the offensive item was quickly withdrawn and an apology was granted.
We got a tip from an outraged Catholic who visited the Manhattan store on July 26. He sent us a picture taken with his camera phone of a card display for Brebirousse D’argental cheese. The cheese was described as having a heavenly texture. That part was fine, but it didn’t stop there: it was followed by a wholly gratuitous, and patently obscene, remark about Mother Teresa.
We showed a picture of the offensive card online, but given that children may innocently pick up Catalyst, we did not think it appropriate to be reprinted here.
“If the Bedford Cheese Shop did this to some other religious figure,” said Bill Donohue, “the owner would be in serious trouble. But she chose to defile Mother Teresa, which is why there will be no physical retaliation. They should nonetheless be punished by everyone, not just Catholics: a boycott is in order.”
The store, which is owned by Charlotte Kamin, ignored some initial complaints, but once we got involved, things changed. To be specific, we listed the email address of the store, asking those on our email list to contact her. They sure did.
Less than an hour after being pounded, the vile card was withdrawn. Donohue then asked for an apology. Less than a hour later, it was granted. Here is how the store responded to the barrage of emails.
“We have received your email regarding the cheese description. Please be aware that the sign was taken down. We sincerely apologize for any hurt or anger, none of which was intentional. We hope you have a blessed day.”
Donohue was pleased with the outcome, but not the statement. “This is a lie—it was intentional,” he said. “No matter, they got the message.”
We at the Catholic League can lead, but we depend on allies for support. If the guilty are not subject to sharp rebuke, they will try to ride it out. That they didn’t is a tribute to all of those who took the time to register their anger.
Why anyone would choose to defile Mother Teresa—for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with Catholicism—is beyond comprehension. But if she can be attacked by a cheese store owner, no Catholic figure is safe from assault.
Like firefighters, we don’t start trouble. But like them, we are called to put out fires, and this was a doozy.