In our continuing effort to furbish your arsenal in the ongoing atheist-religious debate, here's an essential debunking of one of the great twentieth century religious figures, an Albanian national born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu.
She's often invoked by the religious as a pure incarnation of virtue, demonstrated by the beneficial impact of her work on the world and by one actual Vatican-certified miracle. She was the living proof of the existence of God.
Well, not exactly.
LONDON: A study conducted by Canadian researchers has called Mother Teresa "anything but a saint", a creation of an orchestrated and effective media campaign who was generous with her prayers but miserly with her foundation's millions when it came to humanity's suffering.
The controversial study, to be published this month in the journal of studies in religion/sciences called Religieuses, says that Teresa — known across the world as the apostle of the dying and the downtrodden — actually felt it was beautiful to see the poor suffer.
According to the study, the Vatican overlooked the crucial human side of Teresa — her dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it.
Instead, the Vatican went ahead with her beatification followed by canonization "to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty andthe Roman authority is in decline".
Researchers Serge Larivee and Genevieve Chenard from the University of Montreal's department of psychoeducation, and Carole Senechal of the University of Ottawa's faculty of education (*), analysed published writings about Mother Teresa and concluded that her hallowed image, "which does not stand up to analysis of the facts, was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media campaign".
According to Larivee, facts debunk Teresa's myth. He says that the Vatican, before deciding on Teresa's beatification, did not take into account "her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding ... abortion, contraception, and divorce."
At the time of her death, Teresa had 517 missions or "homes for the dying" as described by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Kolkata. They welcomed the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving apt care.
'Miracle of medicine'
According to the study, the doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions and a shortage of actual care, food and painkillers. They say that the problem was not a paucity of funds as the Order of the Missionaries of Charity successfully raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Researchers said that when it came to her own treatment, "she received it in a modern American hospital".
The three researchers also dug into records of her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC's Malcom Muggeridge who had strong views against abortion and shared Mother Teresa's right-wing Catholic values.
The researchers say Muggeridge had decided to promote Teresa. In 1969, he made a eulogistic film on the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the "first photographic miracle", when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak.
Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process. According to the researchers, one of the miracles attributed to Mother Theresa is the healing of Monica Besra, who suffered from intense abdominal pain, after a medallion blessed by her was placed on Besra's abdomen.
Larivee said, "Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her. The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa's popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint."
Larivee however signs off on a surprisingly positive note and says there could also be a positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth. "If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice," they signed off.
* Those damn Québecois atheists =)
The Canadian media is doing the same insanity with Chief Spence, a corrupt politician who stifles dissent on her reserve with a political police force.. it greatly annoys me.
Hopefully, Spence's following won't reach the same kind of numbers as the Albanian woman's.
I don't think it's comparable however. The Canadian media still has a healthy suspicion as to her financial dealings and they are not about to call for her beatification.
Interesting piece. I have always said that those who say she was selfless to look keenly at what she did achieve. She got international fame and she honestly must have believed she was going to heaven. The conditions of those homes however is horrifying and I hear no one really knows the extent of the money her charity raised and how much of it was actually spent in the homes.
When terminally sick, she didn't trust her own magical methods of reaching the other life, she went for real treatment where it was available.
St. Teresa obviously had a morbid "fascination" with the poor and was convinced that being poor is a great thing. She pushed poor people to have more children, to be born and raised in misery. If she had really cared for the poor she would have done something to empower them, not to keep them mired in poverty.
The Catholic Church, experts in marketing strategies, have used her image as a saint in the imagination of the populace, to increase the popularity of the Church. And thus, the coffers of the Church as well.
Yeah, they railroaded her beatification and, true to their millennial tradition, negated all evidence of the medical explanation.
Just her contribution to the woes of humanity (overpopulation, glorification of poverty, submission to imaginary authority, spreading the false hope of an afterlife to name a few) is enough for me.
Not to mention her hypocrisy (hell, she needed a real hospital for herself), the miracle bullshit and her obviously cultivated saintly aura.
I freaking wish we could FEATURE comments! This one is a KEEPER!
For a moment I thought this was an attempt at satire. But a defense of MT, humans will not cease to amuse
Those damn Quebecois’ atheists demonstrated that Christopher Hitchens should not have used the word ‘everyone’ when he said: “Everything everyone thinks they know about [Mother Teresa] is false. It must be the single most successful emotional con job of the twentieth century.”