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Friday, March 18, 2016

Should Mother Teresa be made a saint?

There's been a lot in the news about the canonization of Mother Teresa. I've not paid much attention to her, aside from when it was revealed a few years ago that she had been living in a spiritual wasteland for most of her religious life - Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith - and I haven't been a fan (she was very conservative), so I was intrigued to find that not everyone is sanguine about her becoming a saint. Here's a bit from a couple of articles I saw today.

- Mother Teresa Was No Saint ...

[...] To canonize Mother Teresa would be to seal the lid on her problematic legacy, which includes forced conversion, questionable relations with dictators, gross mismanagement, and actually, pretty bad medical care. Worst of all, she was the quintessential white person expending her charity on the third world — the entire reason for her public image, and the source of immeasurable scarring to the postcolonial psyche of India and its diaspora. A 2013 study from the University of Ottawa dispelled the “myth of altruism and generosity” surrounding Mother Teresa, concluding that her hallowed image did not stand up to the facts, and was basically the result of a forceful media campaign from an ailing Catholic Church ...

- Why Mother Teresa is still no saint to many of her critics ...

[...] In India, where Teresa carried out the majority of her work, that legacy was called into question last year, when the head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) sparked outrage when he criticized her intentions. “It’s good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said at the opening of an orphanage in Rajasthan state in February 2015, the Times of India reported. “In the name of service, religious conversions were made. This was followed by other institutes, too.” .....

In his critique of Teresa, the devoutly Hindu Bhagwat would find an unlikely ally in the work of devoutly atheist Christopher Hitchens. The late British writer became one of the most vocal critics of Teresa in the 1990s, tying his reputation to assailing a woman who was, at the time, an unassailable figure. In 1994, Hitchens and British Pakistani journalist Tariq Ali wrote an extremely critical documentary on Teresa titled “Hell’s Angel.” You can see it for yourself below.




And here's a bit from Wikipedia (see the page for footnote sources) ...

Mother Teresa considered that suffering – even when caused by poverty, medical problems, or starvation – was a gift from God. As a result, while her clinics received millions of dollars in donations, their conditions drew criticism from people disturbed by the shortage of medical care, systematic diagnosis, and necessary nutrition, as well as the scarcity of analgesics for those in pain. Many of her critics accused her of a fundamental contradiction: It was estimated that she raised over $100 million for her charity, yet only 5-7% of this was used in catering to the poor. Some have argued that the additional money could have had transformative effects on the health of the poor by creating advanced palliative care facilities in the city. Others, both in India and abroad, criticised her opposition to abortion and contraception ...

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