Mother Teresa - another side?

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Rose2020
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Mother Teresa - another side?

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Post by Rose2020 »

I am watching a Sky documentary which is very interesting. Was she really the figure portrayed for so long as the ideal embodiment of doing Christ's work?
I had read about another darker side to her a few times in the past.

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Difflugia
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Re: Mother Teresa - another side?

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Post by Difflugia »

[Replying to Rose2020 in post #1]

To anyone interested, I recommend The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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Rose2020
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Re: Mother Teresa - another side?

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Post by Rose2020 »

[Replying to Difflugia in post #2]
Thankyou.

I have heard rumours over the years about mother Teresa.

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Miles
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Re: Mother Teresa - another side?

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Post by Miles »

Rose2020 wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 10:44 am [Replying to Difflugia in post #2]
Thankyou.

I have heard rumours over the years about mother Teresa.
Indeed.

From Wikipedia

"The book's thesis, as summarized by one critic, was that "Mother Teresa is less interested in helping the poor than in using them as an indefatigable source of wretchedness on which to fuel the expansion of her fundamentalist Roman Catholic beliefs.

Synopsis

The introduction is devoted to Mother Teresa's acceptance of an award from the government of Haiti, which Hitchens uses to discuss her relationship to the Duvalier regime. From her praise of the country's corrupt first family, he writes, "Other questions arise … all of them touching on matters of saintliness, modesty, humility and devotion to the poor."[15] He adds other examples of Mother Teresa's relationships with powerful people with what he considers dubious reputations. He quickly reviews Mother Teresa's saintly reputation in books devoted to her and describes the process of beatification and canonization under Pope John Paul II. Finally, he disclaims any quarrel with Mother Teresa herself and says he is more concerned with the public view of her: "What follows here is an argument not with a deceiver but with the deceived."[16]

The first section, "A Miracle", discusses the popular view of Mother Teresa and focuses on the 1969 BBC documentary Something Wonderful for God which brought her to the attention of the general public and served as the basis for the book of the same title by Malcolm Muggeridge. Hitchens says that Calcutta's reputation as a place of abject poverty, "a hellhole", is not deserved, but nevertheless provides a sympathetic context for Mother Teresa's work there.[17] He quotes from conversations between Muggeridge and Mother Teresa, providing his own commentary. He quotes Muggeridge's description of "the technically unaccountable light" the BBC team filmed in the interior of the Home of the Dying as "the first authentic photographic miracle".[18] Hitchens contrasts this with the cameraman's statement that what Muggeridge thought was a miracle was the result of them using the latest Kodak low light film.[19]

The second section, "Good Works and Heroic Deeds", has three chapters:

Asserting that Mother Teresa serves her own religious beliefs and reputation, Hitchens questions the popular belief that Mother Teresa is nevertheless addressing the physical needs of the poor. He quotes several who have visited her institutions or worked in them to establish that the medical care provided does not compare with that provided in a hospice, lacked diagnostic services, and eschewed even basic pain medications. He says that rather than asceticism, her institutions are characterized by "austerity, rigidity, harshness and confusion" because "when the requirements of dogma clash with the needs of the poor, it is the latter which give way."[20] He quotes a former member of her order who describes baptisms of the dying performed without their consent.
Hitchens reviews the Catholic Church's moral teaching on abortion, sympathizing in general but objecting first to its "absolutist edict"[21] that makes no distinction between a fertilized egg and later stages of development, and second to its proscription on birth control. Noting conservative Catholics who have dissented from this last teaching, he identifies Mother Teresa as "the most consistently reactionary figure." Hitchens quotes her speech when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979: "Today, abortion is the worst evil, and the greatest enemy of peace."[22] Hitchens goes on to argue that women become empowered when given the right to contraceptives. He writes that giving women control over their fertility and empowering them is the only known cure to poverty.
Hitchens describes the prize money awarded Mother Teresa, "the extraordinary largesse of governments, large foundations, corporations and private citizens",[23] to call into question whether her avowed poverty is not the affectation of poverty. He describes her ties to financier Charles Keating, who gave her $1.25 million before being convicted for his role in the savings and loan scandal (1986–1995). He includes a facsimile of a letter she wrote testifying to Keating's good character, followed by a letter from the prosecutor's office to Mother Teresa detailing Keating's crimes, the thousands of people he "fleeced without flinching" of $252 million. The prosecutor asked her to do "what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen, … if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience". Hitchens ends by noting that the letter has not had a response.[24]

The third section, "Ubiquity", has two chapters:

Hitchens describes Mother Teresa's Albanian background and political events in the Balkans to establish the importance of her 1990 visit to the nationalist Mother Albania monument in Tirana, an assertion of Catholic expansionist sentiment in the unstable former Yugoslavia.[25]
Hitchens notes the consistency with which Mother Teresa has backed powerful interests aligned against the powerless: Union Carbide following the 1984 Bhopal disaster, the government of Margaret Thatcher, the administration of Ronald Reagan. She visited Nicaragua to side with the CIA-backed Contras against the Sandinistas.[26]

The book ends with a short Afterword.

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