To many, the name Mother Teresa is synonymous with charity, good works, and even sainthood. That’s why the Vatican has decided to canonize the world’s most famous nun on Sunday, 19 years after her death. However, despite having been called the “living saint” for much of her earthly life, a lot of people have a problem with the idea of Mother Teresa an actual saint.
— CNN (@CNN) September 3, 2016
The ceremony that will result in Mother Teresa being officially canonized (i.e., “made” a saint) is taking place on September 4, led by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square, reports NBC News.
However, on the precipice of Mother Teresa becoming the saint so many have believed her to be for so long, there is a lot of controversy swirling over how much of a saint the nun really was. Despite having been a Nobel Peace Prize winner, many believe that she put her personal fame and the well-being of the Catholic church (and some of its controversial policies) before the well-being of those she was in India to aid.
According to those critical of the good works performed by Mother Teresa, she had a habit of inflicting (or refusing to alleviate) the suffering of those in her charge, because the Catholic faith teaches that suffering is a virtue. She also refused to provide birth control in an area that could have greatly benefited from fewer births and was rigidly pro-life in an area of the world where most babies were born into abject poverty.
In addition, Mother Teresa had a long and storied history of getting close to controversial and brutal dictators for her own personal gain (and that of the Vatican and the church) as well as shameless and prideful self-promotion.
— fr paddy (@frpaddybyrne) September 3, 2016
The people of Calcutta (now Kolkata) are also often highly critical of the way Mother Teresa slandered and shamed their city and culture to the global media. While the soon-to-be saint Mother Teresa became famous through un-Christian bragging regarding the good works she did in Kolkata, the fact that she constantly plugged the name of the admittedly impoverished city to the world resulted in Mother Teresa often being referred to as the “saint of the gutters,” with the city being the gutter.
“Cities have identity. They have nuance. Because Mother Teresa became very famous and she won the Nobel Prize, Calcutta became very un-nuanced in the Western worlds’ minds. Intentionally or not, I feel that she robbed Calcutta of a certain part of its identity.”
— Bronson (@Jivan_san) September 3, 2016
— Ana Miklos (@miklosai) September 3, 2016
@nytimes I know she discouraged people from using condoms during the AIDS epidemic. Bad idea.
— Barbara S. (@BarbaraScott100) September 3, 2016
— Irene Baptista (@irene_baptista) September 3, 2016
In addition to defaming the city to which she devoted her life’s work, Mother Teresa has been repeatedly accused of making the deaths of the suffering (and their lives, too) more painful and mentally crippling than they had to be. She reportedly often provided substandard care to the denizens of the city and has even been labeled cruel and archaic in her treatment of the poor.
Aroup Chatterjee was born in Kolkata, and according to the doctor now living in London, Mother Teresa was no saint in life, and she shouldn’t be canonized as one in death.
“I personally think that she did more harm than good. She was very cruel in how she treated people at her home for the dying. I think she preached a very negative, very medieval, obscurantist ideology.”
Back in 2013, the Huffington Post called the stories of Mother Teresa’s goodness and kindness are nothing but modern-day mythology created to promote the Catholic agenda. According to extensive research into life and works of Mother Teresa, she had access to a literal fortune but housed those she claimed to be serving and helping in deplorable conditions.
Reportedly, Mother Teresa believed the suffering of the poor to be beautiful, and despite having the means to truly help them and provide them with better lives, she was content to watch them suffer and struggle while doing little more than praying for them. There have even been multiple allegations that Mother Teresa mismanaged the money she was supposed to be using to provide a standard of care that she simply never managed to reach.
“Given the parsimonious management of Mother Teresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 3, 2016
According to the cited research, at the time of her death, Mother Teresa built and was responsible for over 500 missions in 100 countries. However, also according to the research, most of the patients who came to Mother Teresa’s missions looking for charity and help suffered from negligent care or no care at all, with a good percentage of the desperate and destitute being left to die.
The so-called miracles performed by Mother Teresa have also been called into question by many in the medical community. At least one doctor says that the church ignored his evidence to the contrary when it claimed that Mother Teresa had used her faith to heal a woman suffering from tuberculosis.
The Washington Post: a place where Mother Teresa is demonized and Cecile Richards is canonized pic.twitter.com/q0KxipXJuL
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 1, 2016
Mother Teresa’s global charity is refusing to comment on her critics on the eve of her canonization.
“No responding to criticism. Thank you. God bless you. Goodbye.”
What do you think? Is Mother Teresa a legitimate saint, or is her touted history of good works little more than smoke and mirrors?
[Image via Saikat Paul/Shutterstock]