Tag Archives: mother teresa

The theological train wreck of calling Teresa a “saint”

They had to use a lot of creativity just to get her to meet the un-biblical/anti-biblical Catholic guidelines, and there are serious questions about whether she was even an authentic Christian.

You’ve probably seen the headlines: Mother Teresa to Be Sainted After 2nd Miracle Declared: Vatican

Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping India’s poor, will be made a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said Friday.She will likely be canonized in September to coincide with the 19th anniversary of her death and Pope Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy, according to an Italian Catholic newspaper report.The pontiff marked his 79th birthday on Thursday by approving a decree that the nun had performed a second miracle 11 years after her death, the Vatican confirmed in a statement.

There are lots of problems with this.  For starters, the Catholic concept of sainthood is just another un-biblical/anti-biblical practice.  There are 62 uses of saints in the New Testament and all apply to any believer and not someone who allegedly did a couple bonus miracles.

And her cult of personality made it nearly impossible for any mainstream media — except for atheist Christopher Hitchens’ excellent analysis of her — to tell the truth.  The audience was too eager to just believe the lies about this icon.  There were all sorts of unanswered — and un-asked — questions about her finances and about how her actions squared with her rhetoric.  So her “good deeds” weren’t all that good.

And one could seriously question whether she even meets the biblical standard of being a real saint — i.e., a true Christian.  Anyone saying something like this is either not a Christian or was saved and really, really confused:

In an interview with her biographer, the following exchange was recorded:

Biographer Naveen Chawla: “Do you convert?” Mother Teresa: “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him.”

An immature Christian might get a temporary pass on saying something so false, but a leader and an icon like her?  No way.

And don’t get me started on the goofiness of the alleged miracle or the Catholic standards for sainthood.  From Hitchens’ article:

As for the “miracle” that had to be attested, what can one say? Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of MT, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumor. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn’t have a cancerous tumor in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine. Was he interviewed by the Vatican’s investigators? No. (As it happens, I myself was interviewed by them but only in the most perfunctory way. The procedure still does demand a show of consultation with doubters, and a show of consultation was what, in this case, it got.)

More here about her false beliefs.

The Mother Teresa case is a classic example of mass intellectual laziness.  It is so much easier to prop up the myth than to think carefully about the truth.

Now let’s talk about Mother Teresa . . .

. . . because taking on Gandhi last week wasn’t enough.

First, I must say that I appreciated her anti-abortion efforts.  I love how she got in the faces of Clinton et al on the topic.  Good for her.

But theologically speaking, I have some sizable issues with her.  These articles explained them well:

First, The Myth of Other Teresa:

She was revered around the world as an example of Christian love and charity and as someone who dedicated her life to the noble cause of advancing the gospel to the poor and needy of the world while caring for their physical needs. Her legacy will doubtless be as one of history’s great humanitarians.

Upon examination, though, the Mother Teresa portrayed by the media and popularized in our culture is glorified (soon to be beatified) and almost deified. A close examination of her beliefs and the work she did shows that her legacy may be little more than fiction. . . . We also see her belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a mediator between God and ourselves (see Catholic Catechism, paragraph #969#1172 and #494) and as such, plays a role in our salvation. . . .Through the entire book there is never a hint that she relies on Christ alone for her salvation. Rather we read things like, “I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic” . . . “I love all religions. … If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.” Or in another place, “All is God — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God.”

Her soteriology (he doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ) was a train-wreck:

“We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.”

. . . Time and again we see her expounding such universalist beliefs. In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.”

Huh?!  But the Bible teaches over 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation!  You can’t miss it.

And she chose to let people suffer:

Contradictions in her beliefs, then, are apparent. We see similar contradictions in her humanitarian work. The common belief is that Mother Teresa worked with the sick and destitute to lovingly return them to health. An examination of her missions will show that this is far from the case. Mother Teresa believed that there is spiritual value in suffering. Once, when tending to a patient dying of cancer, she said “You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” (Christoper Hitchens – The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, p. 41). For this reason she would not prescribe pain killers in her clinics, choosing instead to allow her patients to experience the suffering that she believed would bring them closer to Christ. Despite the tens of millions of dollars donated to her charity each year, her missions were rudimentary and offered no real health care. Her missions mainly catered to the critically ill and simply afforded them a place to go to die. It is interesting to note that when Mother Teresa became ill she would travel to the finest health care facilities to receive treatment. . . .

What, then, is the importance of debunking the myth of Mother Teresa? The answer is this. Pastors of Protestant churches around the world continue to speak of Mother Teresa in saintly terms. They hold her up as the ultimate example of self-sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. From the pulpits they discuss how she responded to Christ’s Great Commission to spread the gospel to all lands. The reality, though, is that if she preached at all, she preached a false religion. In so doing she provides us with an example not of a Christian responding to God’s call, but an example of deeds of charity and compassion completely separated from the Truth.

Also see Mother Teresa in her own words:

In an interview with her biographer, the following exchange was recorded:

Biographer Naveen Chawla: “Do you convert?” Mother Teresa: “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him.”

That doesn’t sound very Christian.

Finally, see French study claims Mother Teresa not so saintly:

She was “anything but a saint,” the Canadian study authors found, as Newser reports. In fact, she found beauty in watching people suffer, the authors say.

The study is based on accounts of doctors who visited Mother Teresa’s so-called “homes for the dying.” The found terrible conditions, Newser reported — poor hygiene among patients, hunger, lacking medical supplies. Some patients were even denied necessary medical care, doctors said. Even Mother Teresa didn’t get care there — she went to an American hospital, Newser reported.

And the reported conditions weren’t for lack of money. Teresa’s Order of the Missionaries of Charity had hundreds of millions in donations, Newser reported.

The authors of the study allege the Vatican purposely ignored the truth of Mother Teresa’s charity. Rather, church officials helped to set the stage for her image as a saint, and even pushed through her beatification to avoid scrutiny.

Did she do some good?  I suppose so.  But it is unfortunate that she is held up as such an icon when her theology was false and her good deeds rather suspect.