The Roman Catholic church is set to make Mother Teresa of Calcutta a saint. Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa and cleared the way for her to becoming a saint, a process known as canonization. Before a new saint can be canonized they first require beatification, recognition that the deceased has entered heaven. Before this can happen a prospective saint has to be shown to have performed a miracle. As reported in the Guardian, Mother Teresa is said to have performed several miracles including “curing” a Brazilian man of multiple brain tumors 11-years after she died.
The decision to make Mother Teresa a saint is a controversial one. Whilst Mother Teresa won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor in India, her work has been criticized for decades by those who describe Mother Teresa as a sadistic and merciless religious fanatic.
The Guardian reports that Mother Teresa was seen by many as “a Catholic fundamentalist more concerned with evangelism than with serving the poor with adequate medical treatment.”
Researchers at the University of Montreal and the University of Ottawa, concluded that Mother Teresa misused charitable funds intended for the poor and inflicted suffering on the poor in the name of religion. According to Patheos, a secular humanist magazine, Mother Teresa was a “moral monster” and a “sadistic religious fanatic who took pleasure in the suffering of others.”
There are numerous claims that Mother Teresa denied appropriate medical care to the sick and dying and denied pain relief, claiming that “pain was a gift from god.”
According to the Huffington Post, Mother Teresa was a fraud who oversaw deplorable conditions in the missions she controlled. Mother Teresa’s patients were “left to suffer and die without appropriate medical care or pain medication.” Mother Teresa refused to introduce the most basic methods of hygiene, even going so far as to reuse needles without sterilization.
According to the Washington Post, Mother Teresa’s missionary work was called into question earlier this year by the head of a Hindu nationalist group who claimed that Teresa’s charity work always had an ulterior motive.
“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. In the name of service, religious conversions were made.”
The Independent report that in addition to poor medical treatment, Mother Teresa misused funds and had dubious political connections. As long ago as 1994, British journalist and devout atheist Christopher Hitchens released a documentary criticizing Mother Teresa’s work.
In the film “Hells Angel,” Hitchens drew on evidence provided by journalists who had worked in one of Mother Teresa’s missions, and one journalist even compared conditions to those endured in Nazi concentration camps.
Hitchens concluded that Mother Teresa was far from the saintly figure the Roman Catholic church would have you believe.
“Mother Teresa was 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.”
Of course Mother Teresa’s supporters would have you believe that the criticisms leveled at her are unfair, but as long ago as 1994, U.K. medical journal the Lancet published an account that was fiercely critical of the standards of medical care in mother Teresa’s missions.
The cynic might conclude that the Roman Catholic churches rush to canonize Mother Teresa and Pope John-Paul is a desperate attempt to bury the seemingly continuous stories about the hideous abuse perpetrated by catholic priests and nuns. It certainly seems that Mother Teresa has plenty of critics who do not believe that she should be canonized as a saint.
Where do you stand on Mother Teresa? Is she a saint or Hell’s Angel?
[Photo by AP]