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Mother Theresa
Posted: 30 October 2006 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Was anyone kind of thrown off by Sam's portrayal of Mother Theresa in his new book?

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Posted: 30 October 2006 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Have you read “The Missionary Position” by Christopher Hitchens?  Just google Hitchens and Mother Teresa to get more info.

Bob

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Posted: 30 October 2006 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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No, I wasn’t thrown off by his comments about her in the book. I agreed with them. I would have gone further that Harris did. I also would have mentioned that the corrupt catholic church could have bought Calcutta and fed and clothed and housed all those people, rather than have some old woman giving them rations and prayers. :x

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Posted: 30 October 2006 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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The mere mention of this woman makes me twitch. From the way she mismanaged and virtually ignored her access to millions of dollars in donations, to her opinion that human beings are inherently wretched, and that poverty and suffering are considered beautiful to the Lord. . . :shock:. . . that was one sick cookie. I give her credit for any emotional comfort she gave to those as emotionally effed-up as she was about their lot in life, but that’s as far as my appreciation of Teresa goes.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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***


Mother Teresa’s House of Illusions

How She Harmed Her Helpers As Well As Those They ‘Helped’
by Susan Shields


The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 18, Number 1.

Some years after I became a Catholic, I joined Mother Teresa’s congregation, the Missionaries of Charity. I was one of her sisters for nine and a half years, living in the Bronx, Rome, and San Francisco, until I became disillusioned and left in May 1989. As I reentered the world, I slowly began to unravel the tangle of lies in which I had lived. I wondered how I could have believed them for so long.

Three of Mother Teresa’s teachings that are fundamental to her religious congregation are all the more dangerous because they are believed so sincerely by her sisters. Most basic is the belief that as long as a sister obeys she is doing God’s will. Another is the belief that the sisters have leverage over God by choosing to suffer. Their suffering makes God very happy. He then dispenses more graces to humanity. The third is the belief that any attachment to human beings, even the poor being served, supposedly interferes with love of God and must be vigilantly avoided or immediately uprooted. The efforts to prevent any attachments cause continual chaos and confusion, movement and change in the congregation. Mother Teresa did not invent these beliefs - they were prevalent in religious congregations before Vatican II - but she did everything in her power (which was great) to enforce them.

Once a sister has accepted these fallacies she will do almost anything. She can allow her health to be destroyed, neglect those she vowed to serve, and switch off her feelings and independent thought. She can turn a blind eye to suffering, inform on her fellow sisters, tell lies with ease, and ignore public laws and regulations.

Women from many nations joined Mother Teresa in the expectation that they would help the poor and come closer to God themselves. When I left, there were more than 3,000 sisters in approximately 400 houses scattered throughout the world. Many of these sisters who trusted Mother Teresa to guide them have become broken people. In the face of overwhelming evidence, some of them have finally admitted that their trust has been betrayed, that God could not possibly be giving the orders they hear. It is difficult for them to decide to leave - their self-confidence has been destroyed, and they have no education beyond what they brought with them when they joined. I was one of the lucky ones who mustered enough courage to walk away.

It is in the hope that others may see the fallacy of this purported way to holiness that I tell a little of what I know. Although there are relatively few tempted to join Mother Teresa’s congregation of sisters, there are many who generously have supported her work because they do not realize how her twisted premises strangle efforts to alleviate misery. Unaware that most of the donations sit unused in her bank accounts, they too are deceived into thinking they are helping the poor.

As a Missionary of Charity, I was assigned to record donations and write the thank-you letters. The money arrived at a frantic rate. The mail carrier often delivered the letters in sacks. We wrote receipts for checks of $50,000 and more on a regular basis. Sometimes a donor would call up and ask if we had received his check, expecting us to remember it readily because it was so large. How could we say that we could not recall it because we had received so many that were even larger?

When Mother spoke publicly, she never asked for money, but she did encourage people to make sacrifices for the poor, to “give until it hurts.” Many people did - and they gave it to her. We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts.

The flood of donations was considered to be a sign of God’s approval of Mother Teresa’s congregation. We were told by our superiors that we received more gifts than other religious congregations because God was pleased with Mother, and because the Missionaries of Charity were the sisters who were faithful to the true spirit of religious life.

Most of the sisters had no idea how much money the congregation was amassing. After all, we were taught not to collect anything. One summer the sisters living on the outskirts of Rome were given more crates of tomatoes than they could distribute. None of their neighbors wanted them because the crop had been so prolific that year. The sisters decided to can the tomatoes rather than let them spoil, but when Mother found out what they had done she was very displeased. Storing things showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.

The donations rolled in and were deposited in the bank, but they had no effect on our ascetic lives and very little effect on the lives of the poor we were trying to help. We lived a simple life, bare of all superfluities. We had three sets of clothes, which we mended until the material was too rotten to patch anymore. We washed our own clothes by hand. The never-ending piles of sheets and towels from our night shelter for the homeless we washed by hand, too. Our bathing was accomplished with only one bucket of water. Dental and medical checkups were seen as an unnecessary luxury.

Mother was very concerned that we preserve our spirit of poverty. Spending money would destroy that poverty. She seemed obsessed with using only the simplest of means for our work. Was this in the best interests of the people we were trying to help, or were we in fact using them as a tool to advance our own “sanctity?” In Haiti, to keep the spirit of poverty, the sisters reused needles until they became blunt. Seeing the pain caused by the blunt needles, some of the volunteers offered to procure more needles, but the sisters refused.

We begged for food and supplies from local merchants as though we had no resources. On one of the rare occasions when we ran out of donated bread, we went begging at the local store. When our request was turned down, our superior decreed that the soup kitchen could do without bread for the day.

It was not only merchants who were offered a chance to be generous. Airlines were requested to fly sisters and air cargo free of charge. Hospitals and doctors were expected to absorb the costs of medical treatment for the sisters or to draw on funds designated for the religious. Workmen were encouraged to labor without payment or at reduced rates. We relied heavily on volunteers who worked long hours in our soup kitchens, shelters, and day camps.

A hard-working farmer devoted many of his waking hours to collecting and delivering food for our soup kitchens and shelters. “If I didn’t come, what would you eat?” he asked.

Our Constitution forbade us to beg for more than we needed, but, when it came to begging, the millions of dollars accumulating in the bank were treated as if they did not exist.

For years I had to write thousands of letters to donors, telling them that their entire gift would be used to bring God’s loving compassion to the poorest of the poor. I was able to keep my complaining conscience in check because we had been taught that the Holy Spirit was guiding Mother. To doubt her was a sign that we were lacking in trust and, even worse, guilty of the sin of pride. I shelved my objections and hoped that one day I would understand why Mother wanted to gather so much money, when she herself had taught us that even storing tomato sauce showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.

For nearly a decade, Susan Shields was a Missionaries of Charity sister. She played a key role in Mother Teresa’s organization until she resigned.


***

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Posted: 30 October 2006 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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What bothers me is that most, if not all of the negative views about mother Theresa are from people who have never actually experienced the work she did.  There was a book written called Something Beautiful for God, by author Malcolm Muggeridge, who went and spent time with MT.  I suggest reading the book to get a better first hand perspective of her work.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Donations in the hundreds of thousands—-you think they could have bought at least a stove and washing machine—for Christ’s sake!! And that bullshit about using old blunt needles and bitching about canning the tomatos. I’m convinced that Mother Teresa was mentally deranged.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Well, after reading Mia’s last post I kind of feel like a jackass.  Its so strange that people hold her in such high regard without an actual understanding of the situation.  Thank you for the info Mia.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Some atheists and christian alike believe in the natural law. They think there are things that are not done. One of them is to slander and speak ill of the dead.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Notice I said some atheists. I have never said any particular person is in hell nor has the church.

So all believers go to Hell. Get ahold of that anger Sean it is adversely affecting your reasoning skills.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]Some atheists and christian alike believe in the natural law. They think there are things that are not done. One of them is to slander and speak ill of the dead.

It’s not slander if it’s true.

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Posted: 30 October 2006 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“IMO”]Well, after reading Mia’s last post I kind of feel like a jackass.  Its so strange that people hold her in such high regard without an actual understanding of the situation.  Thank you for the info Mia.

IMO. . .  it was news to me, too. I bought all the gooey propaganda about her, hook line and sinker. Remember that cute pic of Princess Diana leaning over to shake her hand when they met? I thought, “Oh, isn’t she just the sweetest, kindliest little thing!” rolleyes

She was definitely put out there by the church as this little saint of a woman, and we swallowed it.  I only looked into these stories after reading one of her quotes that disturbed me last spring (about how the suffering of the poor is a beautiful thing. . . implying that she encouraged it, rather than hoping to alleviate it). . . it made my skin crawl, so I read more.  I hate learning what I’m learning about all these shining examples of Christianity. . . but there it is.

Frank, feel free to say anything you want about me after I’m dead. Wouldn’t bother me a bit, nor should it bother anyone else. Like Climacus says, if it’s true, what in the world is the difference? Is this the “But she’s not here to defend herself!” argument? Please. As if she was ever going to answer to the likes of us.

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Posted: 31 October 2006 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Did Mother Teresa ever protray herself as something she was not. Did she ever say alleviating suffering was more important then the Gospel. Did she not live among the poor in poverty.

Frank, feel free to say anything you want about me after I’m dead. Wouldn’t bother me a bit, nor should it bother anyone else. Like Climacus says, if it’s true, what in the world is the difference? Is this the “But she’s not here to defend herself!” argument? Please. As if she was ever going to answer to the likes of us.

My argument is simply this people who speak ill of the dead in the manner of Christopher Hitchens come across as patheic and petty. Mia I would not speak ill of you or slander you when you are dead. (I doubt I will outlive you but even so I would not. I would refrain not because it might have an adverse affect on you; rather, because I know it would have an adverse affect on me.

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Posted: 02 November 2006 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]My argument is simply this people who speak ill of the dead in the manner of Christopher Hitchens come across as patheic and petty.

frankr, if it was all about how we speak about dead we would leave Mother Theresa alone. The stakes are much larger, however.

I agree with you that Mother Theresa might have been speaking truthfully about her mission and intentions but the impression the world got was quite different. The money poured in because of the fake image, not the truthful one, and the Church did nothing to correct the false impression. On the contrary, the Church went deeper into this deception game with the Mother Theresa sainthood proceedings.

We are disgusted with Mother Theresa for the same reason we were disgusted with United Way officials when they decided to enrich themselves with the donated money. In addition, we are disgusted with the fact that she was no saint to her subordinates and how she treated them can qualify as abuse on par with child molestation by some priests. It is an interesting question whether we have the right to criticise Mother Theresa for abusing the nuns. The Church thinks we don’t. We think we do. Now, does the Church have the right to criticise us for tollerating abortions, or should the Church keep the abortion business to itself?

And by the way. The criticism of Mother Theresa was started not by those who had no contact with her. The Indian officials in Calcutta were first, if I remember well to raise the question why the activities of Mother Theresa over the years didn’t result in any visible improvement in the situation of the poor in Calcutta while many other secular initiatives launched without fanfare and with far less money did.

Thomas Orr

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Posted: 03 November 2006 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict By Aroup Chatterjee may be of interest. He is a native Calcuttan who criticized Mother Theresa during her lifetime. They only have the first three chapters available to read on the site, but all fourteen chapters can be found on their archive.org mirror .

Challies Dot Com’s review of the book on Amazon has a nice overview on some of Chatterjee’s issues Mother Theresa’s claims and the reality of those claims.


As an aside, Chatterjee already fielded the “dead” argument and did a fair job dismissing it. It would appear that you were as likely to get a response when she was alive as you are now.

[quote author=“Introduction to The Final Verdict”]Mother Teresa, one could argue in her favour, is dead and therefore would be unable to defend herself against my charges. Criticisms of her however peaked during her lifetime;

....

It was up to Mother Teresa to have defended herself against such criticisms during her lifetime. She did not.

....

During her lifetime I wrote to Mother Teresa numerous times asking for a formal interview with either her or one of her senior deputies. I had agreed to meet her in Calcutta, or at the Vatican - mindful her frequent trips there - or indeed, at any other place in the world. Despite her image - carefully nurtured by her own self - of one who shunned the media and publicity, she had always bent over backwards to give interviews to sympathetic world media (in other words, all the world’s media). In 1994 she spent a whole day talking to Hello! magazine; the same magazine ran a lengthy interview with her successor in 1998. She however never even acknowledged any of my many requests for an interview. I had met her briefly on occasions in the company of a roomful of worshipful admirers, but I did not feel that was the time or the place to ask uncomfortable questions.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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That was an engrossing read, Mia.  What bothers me is that Mother Theresa is lauded as one who truly “got it”... as one who understood what life was all about.  And the rest of us shmucks are oh so clueless living a decent life trying to alleviate suffering world wide… and in our personal circles of influence.  Just wacky. 

I am interested in what all that money actually went to.  If I give a donation, I want that money to go to work.  Not sit in a bank account accruing interest for some megalomaniacal superstructure church.  She extracted millions from the wallets of the world, yet did not allow the money to alleviate suffering?  How can that be?  I am just floored.  It was all about suffering to this woman.  And in that way, “give [money] until it hurts” was probably her way of ensuring she could inflict a bit of suffering inadvertantly on a global scale?

I don’t sign up for that in the least bit. 

I guess since I now identify myself as the polar opposite of Mother Theresa, in that I am all about alleviating suffering as I am able.  I am, therefore, in Catholic opinion, going to hell?  Oh well.  The Catholic god is taking on an increasingly twisted shape to me.  So to hell with me then!

They say two thousand zero, zero, party over,
Oops, out of time!
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999!

~Prince

(but, you know, I’m not really going to “party”, I might have a beer or two here and there… yawn, Prince.. er.. the artist formally known as Prince would be so not impressed.)

Noggin

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