A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she—and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought

First Christopher Hitchens took her down, then we learned that her faith wasn’t as strong as we thought, and now a new study from the Université de Montréal is poised to completely destroy what shreds are left of Mother Teresa’s reputation. She was the winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, was beatified and is well on her way to becoming a saint, and she’s universally admired. As Wikipedia notes:

[She was] named 18 times in the yearly Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll as one of the ten women around the world that Americans admired most. In 1999, a poll of Americans ranked her first in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. In that survey, she out-polled all other volunteered answers by a wide margin, and was in first place in all major demographic categories except the very young.

The criticisms of Agnes Gonxha, as she was christened, have been growing for a long time. I wasn’t aware of them until I read Christopher Hitchens’s cleverly titled book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, which I found deeply disturbing. The book is polemic at Hitchens’s best, and though the facts were surprising, he was never sued and his accusations were never refuted—nor even rebutted. (You can read excerpts here and here, but I urge you to read the book.) In light of that, I accepted Mother Teresa as a deeply flawed person.

In its “criticism” section of her biography, Wikipedia summarizes the growing opprobrium related to her extreme love of suffering (that is, the suffering of her “patients”), her refusal to provide adequate medical care, her association with (and financial support from) shady characters, and her treatment of her nuns.

Now a paper is about to appear (it’s not online yet) that is apparently peer-reviewed, and that expands the list of Mother Teresa’s malfeasances.  Lest you think this is atheist hype, the summary below is from an official press release by the Université de Montréal.

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa. Like the journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who is amply quoted in their analysis, the researchers conclude 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 relations campaign.

“While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church’s most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination—Mother Teresa—whose real name was Agnes Gonxha,” says Professor Larivée, who led the research. “The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further.”

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa

In their article, Serge Larivée and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa’s beatification process, such as “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, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.”

The release levels three types of accusations against mother Teresa and her supporters (quotes are direct, and I don’t mind extensive excerpting since it’s a press release):

1.  The woman was in love with suffering and simply didn’t take care of her charges, many of whom fruitlessly sought medical care.

“At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. 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 appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.”

2. She was tightfisted about helping others, seequestered money donated for her work, and took money from dictators.

“Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid. On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO’s various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Larivée says. ‘Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?'”

3. She was deliberately promoted by BBC journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (a fellow anti-abortionist), and her beatification was based on phony miracles.

.” . .In 1969, [Muggeridge] made a eulogistic film of 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. Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: ‘I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing—direct murder by the mother herself.’

. . . Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process. [JAC: As I recall, it took only a year.] The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from intense abdominal pain. The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen. 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. “What could be better than beatification followed by canonization of this model to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline?” Larivée and his colleagues ask.”

All of these echo, substantiate, and expand the criticisms leveled by Hitchens.

But at the end of the press release, the university (and, I presume, the investigators) offer what I see as a complete sop to those who might be disheartened by the above. I quote directly:

Positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth

Despite Mother Teresa’s dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Larivée and his colleagues point out the 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. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous.”

A “little more rigorous”? Now there’s an understatement!

Yes, perhaps the inspirational effect of Mother Teresa’s work is a theoretical possibility, but has it happened? Is Mother Teresa’s order now actually doing something to cure illness? What’s the evidence that she has inspired people to do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise?  Have they found the lost donations?

I will be curious (and a bit surprised) if, when the paper finally comes out, the authors actually provide some evidence that Mother Teresa has had a substantial positive effect, much less a net positive effect (don’t forget her work against abortion).  This last bit of the press release is there, I think, to stave off the inevitable criticism that will arise from Bill Donohue and other Catholic cheerleaders when such an idolized religious figure is brought down. But Catholics should be used to that!

One good thing, despite the sop, is that the faithful won’t be able to dismiss this as easily as they could the criticisms of Hitchens. (“He’s just a militant atheist who hates all religious people.”) This is a peer-reviewed paper written by academics, not a hatchet-job written by an atheist with strong opinions.

If there’s one thing that Catholics should have learned by now, it’s that their heroes often have feet of clay.  But that’s not surprising in a faith that encourages chastity, sexual repression, and authoritarianism.  In Mother Teresa it found perhaps its most bizarre flowering: a woman who actually wanted her charges to suffer because it brought them closer to Jesus.

I ran into Mother Teresa once: we were flying on the same plane, and as I disembarked from the coach section, she appeared right in front of me as she exited from the first-class section.  Not even wondering why a woman who professed humility was flying first class, I was elated and gobsmacked, feeling quite fortunate to have run into her. But I had bought into the myth, and that was well before the pushback began.

I will make the Montreal paper available when it’s finally published.

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203 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Jeffrey Shallit
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Read Chatterjee’s book, Mother Theresa: The Final Verdict, where her lousy behavior is discussed in detail. It’s not so easy to get (I had to order it from India) but very revealing.

    • bartlawless
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      The Final Verdict is free online here:

      http://www.meteorbooks.com/introduction.html

      • Lisa Pena
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Wow! Thanks bartlawless. I see the post below yours the book is being sold for over $200. for a new one and still rather expensive for used. Ha! and then you have a link where it’s free. incredible. Thanks again!

        • hfdusafhluas
          Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Lisa, have you tried to read beyond chapter 3 yet?

        • aroup chatterjee
          Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Pls wait for new edition
          Don’t buy at this extortionate price

          • Mary O'Grady
            Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Dr. Chatterjee, Thank you so much for your book! I have referred many people to it. It is especially valuable because of its extensive background material about Kolkata and its culture.

    • Mammy
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      It will cost you to read Chatterjee’s book… 1 New from $279.99
      7 Used from $79.50

    • Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Thanks for mentioning Aroup Chatterjee who did much to demolish the Teresa myth and is from the same ‘city’ where Teresa was based.

    • Aroup Chatterjee
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for mentioning my book. Second ed in preparation – will be out in a year hopefully if I can get down to it! Thanks

      • Laura Duncan
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Dear Mr. Chatterjee;
        I just read the first 3 chapters of your book. I am so shocked and amazed at what you have exposed. I feel like such a fool for buying into the whole myth! Thank you for opening my eyes. Hopefully the exposure on Reddit will get you some sales. I am certainly buying a copy.

        • Jennie
          Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

          Why is the book so expensive….?

    • Robert
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Read Hitchen’s Book on Mother Theresa called The Missionary Position… ti spells out almost all and more of these concepts, from someone who played Devil’s Advocate in the beatification process prior to her sainthood!!

      • Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:40 am | Permalink

        from someone who played Devil’s Advocate in the beatification process prior to her sainthood!!

        As did Aroup Chatterjee: by what I recall, Hitchens’s testimony (and book) were based on inputs from Dr Chatterjee.

        • aroup chatterjee
          Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

          yes it was me who put Hitchens on to it in 1994 – thanks mate for the credit!

  3. Mary Canada
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I believe “Hitch” did a documentary on her. You may be able to find it on YouTube.

  4. @eightyc
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    When Salvation requires suffering as it is taught in the Bible, I guess this is one way it manifests itself.

    • Posted March 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      The Bible does not teach that salvation requires suffering. The Bible teaches that salvation requires faith in someone who already suffered on behalf of mankind, so if one uses that as a template for his/her behaviour, they have drawn the wrong conclusion. The Bible does indicate that suffering will occur in life, but that doesn’t mean it dictates it. It is simply stating a fact that any 2 year old who has ever fallen on their bum could surmise.

      • danielle
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        However, Catholic teaching (especially pre-Vatican II) glorifies suffering. When you add the fact that this woman had very little education and a very strict interpretation of the faith, you can well imagine what can happen.

        • lee
          Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

          Yeah.. travelling first class is real suffering! She must have sucked up all that nonsense totally!

          • Jack Bisikirski
            Posted July 9, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            I doubt she paid for the ticket. I have seen many celebs travel 1st class. Could you imagine if she was in coach. There would be a roit on the plane. For her safety and others she had to be in First class…. Do you thing the Pope travels in coach? Did you think MLK traveled in coach? Your point is lost on me.

            • Posted July 9, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

              I think you’ll find MLK did. Hell he even walked with a million men.

              • S.T.
                Posted July 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

                Nicholas, I think you are confusing the marches MLK led and participated in with the “Million Man March” which occurred many years after MLK’s death. BTW, none of these marches really had a million participants, though MLK’s had more than the “Million Man March.” And MLK’s marches were NOT limited to men.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted July 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

              Umm, let me get this straight – the peasants in Cattle Class would riot (why?) if Mother T was among them (how would they know? – you can’t usually tell who is sitting more than two seats away from you) – but the elite in First Class know how to behave properly, by God.

              Gotta be one of the dumbest comments I’ve seen lately, I think.

            • revathisiva
              Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:39 am | Permalink

              M K Gandhi always travelled by third class compartments in Indian Railways. But then, he was one of a kind.

              • gbjames
                Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

                That phrase… “he was one of a kind” always stuck me as odd. Isn’t everything “one of a kind”? Shouldn’t the phrase really be “he was the only one of his/that/a kind”?

              • revathisiva
                Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

                Yes, now that you mention it. You are right. However, I’m not sure if Mahatma Gandhi was the only one of his kind to travel by cattle class. Perhaps there were more, but he’s the only one that strikes me, right now.

              • Diane G.
                Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

                Don’t worry about it, revathisiva. “One of a kind” meaning “unique” is in the dictionary, widely used and understood.

                (I wonder if it might be an inversion of “a kind of one.” As in, a class with only one member.)

            • Charlie
              Posted November 15, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

              As a retired airline pilot (Delta) I can affirm that MLK traveled in coach the two times he was a passenger on my flights. Jackson-Atlanta and later,Atlanta-Columbia.

          • Draken
            Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

            The RC Church is very much a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ type of hierarchy.

            • Sarah Burke
              Posted July 12, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

              That’s certainly true. And see how they are about to do the same saying they are going to make a saint out of the last pope. Probably the ‘miracle’ he achieved is also a con.
              The Roman Catholic Church and a lot of those who work for it are nothing but a gang of hypocrites.

      • Mike Barnwell
        Posted November 25, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        The Beatitudes seem to support the idea of suffering as a desirable Christian virtue. So it could be that Mother Teresa took her cue from the Sermon on the Mount.

      • arodland
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        It does, however, say that being *poor* is mandatory.

        • Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          It all depends on the definition of poor. If one has the basic necessities and nothing else, one is poor but not indigent – anything one has above the necessary is superfluous. Indigence is not mandatory.

  5. Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Of Hitchens: “an atheist with strong opinions”. Now that’s an understatement ;)

    A Catholic whose reputation doesn’t stand up to moral scrutiny. I, for one, am shocked, quite frankly. How could anyone believe such a thing could happen? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an urgent message from a Nigerian prince that I must attend to.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      “U.K. Cardinal Resigns In Wake Of—Get This—Sex Abuse Allegations”

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/uk-cardinal-resigns-in-wake-ofget-thissex-abuse-al,31443/

      • Zipper666
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        The Onion is a spoof site.
        The story is fake.

        • Jenn
          Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          yes, that was the point, i do believe. comment #5 was showing sarcasm with the reply sort of pushing that sarcasm home with the posting of a satirical article making the same point as the original comment.

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:30 am | Permalink

            Thanks, Jenn, glad to see it came across as intended.

            Well, to some of us… :D

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

          You’re kidding!

        • Richard
          Posted July 9, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          The Onion is a spoof site – in this case, the story is *true*, the spoof is in the shock that a senior Catholic should have to resign for sexual misconduct, because that’s never happened before…

  6. Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I suppose my cynicism began early in life. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

    She was famous and had lots of money, dictators and famous friends, lots of ‘work’ but she was never associated with anyone getting well. There were no grateful people who received help at her hand. The news was full of stories about her work with the poor and sick but no stories of success or staunch gratitude. Because of her I took notice that none of the religious were getting well. If they got sick, they died. None of the praying stuff seemed to work, no matter who was doing it. This was a seminal moment of epiphany in my path to anti-theism.

    At a young age I asked myself ‘where are all the healed people?’ … ‘even Mother Teresa doesn’t have any’ – it was all hype and no results.

    • Sean
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Not only does prayer seem ineffective, I read a study that came out within the past couple years that prayer actually hampers healing.

      It was a 10+ year study, and they had 3 groups. Patients who were prayed for (mainly by strangers) and knew about it, patients prayed for and did not know (placebo?) and a control of not prayed for. Those who knew had more complications in healing from surgery.

  7. Posted March 5, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Interesting phrase “phony miracles.” As if there were any other kind.

    • @eightyc
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      lol.

      Yeah it’s like this new trend caused by homeopathy where legit medical studies have to now use the term “evidence-based medicine”.

      lol.

      As if there’s such a thing as “magic-based medicine”.

      • Alice
        Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Weeeeell, we really don’t have evidence-based care in a lot of circumstances,even in our much-vaunted U.S. system. For example, it’s been proven over and over again that scheduled c-sections are of little benefit and often serious harm to mother and child. Given that, why do we have a c-section rate of over 30? It’s not magic, but it certainly is profit.

        • danielle
          Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          No, the rate is high because a lot of women would rather have surgery rather than the full-on vaginal birth. The doctor will often OK it with few questions.

          • Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:51 am | Permalink

            Sorry to disagree but I had 2 emergency C sections that saved my life. I gave birth to a daughter weighing less than 5 lbs and was only 6 1/2 months along. Spend 29 days in hospital before the C-section. They had the medivac chopper waiting to take her to the Med and my heart stopped for over a minute. I’d say that C-section was as close to a miracle as you will get and it certainly was not magic.

            • Bigfoot
              Posted July 9, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

              The poster referred to scheduled c-sections, not those performed in emergency situations.

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 9, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

          And I’d always heard it was defensive medicine against possible malpractice suits.

    • johnfraser1
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      glad you said it…my thought exactly.

  8. Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I look forward to this paper. It is very much a pitiful sop at the end.

    I recently had a pastor comment on my blog, Bob Rogers who is Southern Baptist Convention. In response to his nattering, I had a great time pointing out how he was all glowing about Mother Teresa on his blog but was sure that all Catholics were going to hell. He didn’t like me pointing that out. He’ll be even more aghast at others showing just how nasty the woman was.

  9. David Duncan
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I never thought much of her, even before Hitch’s book. But I was surprised at just how much of a hypocrite she was. The Missionary Position was one of Hitchens’ best books ever, and must have taken balls to write.

    She was a hypocrite to fly first rather than coach, but I will admit to a degree of sympathy here. Sardine class drives me crazy.

    • Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I was bad-mouthing her starting in the late eighties, shocking everybody because in my social milieu people was so grateful that someone else was taking care of such wretched unfortunates so they did not have to bother/think about it, that they suspended critical judgement and willingly bought the bogus hype. I grew up in this cult, and their tricks are transparent to me.

      The populace wanted to believe that one person could make a huge difference, they wanted to believe that good overcomes bad, they wanted to believe so they did though the signs pointing to fraud were there from the very beginning.

      The Catholic Church: Fooling people for centuries.

      • Marella
        Posted July 7, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

        The tragedy is that with the money she had she could have made a huge difference, but chose not to.

        • Jim Jones
          Posted July 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Where is the money?

          • microraptor
            Posted July 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            Locked away in some Vatican bank account, no doubt.

    • Posted July 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but would “sardine class” (LOL!) drive you crazy if you were 4’8″ and weighed 80 pounds, dripping wet?

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        :D

        Say what you will about MT–I’d be delighted to find that my middle seat was situated between two of her. Assuming they’d keep their mouths shut.

  10. Peter Ozzie Jones
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    From a draft of mine:
    Then in 2007 we learn from a book of her letters, ‘Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light-The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta’, that she doubted her own faith. These were letters to her superiors and religious confidants over a period of 66 years. She said that while she felt that she was doing God’s will, she experienced the absence of the presence of God.

    See the article “Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith,” by David van Biema, Time, 23 August 2007. In a letter to Rev. Michael van der Peet:

    Jesus has a very special love for you… But as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear—the tongue moves in prayer but does not speak…I want you to pray for me—that I let Him have a freehand.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 6, 2013 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      Evidently Jesus has standards…

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “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.”

    Well, geez, how about the !*real-world*! (and secular) example of…Audrey Hepburn and her decades of work for UNICEF? She was genuinely engaged with the suffering of the third world in a way that easily contrasts with the phoney posturing of Mother Theresa. (Ironically, Hepburn played a nun who decides to leave the convent in “The Nun’s Story”). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Hepburn#Humanitarian_career
    for more detail. (And Catholics already have a better and more honest figure of this kind in their pantheon, Elizabeth Ann Seton.)

    MT would have gotten nowhere without Malcolm Muggeridge, one of the most unctious & sanctimonious religious apologists of the 20th century this side of William Craig. My reasons for disliking him are not quite the same as Christopher Hitchens but CH took many oppurtunities to take MM down, and I relished reading as many of them as I could.

    • Jeremy Pereira
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Malcolm Muggeridge was a big TV personality in his day in the UK, but now he is generally remembered only for this

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeKWVuye1YE

      from about 15 minutes onwards.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 8, 2013 at 5:34 am | Permalink

        Oh, now how did I guess (even before I followed the link) that it would be Muggers and some bishop getting outclassed by Palin and Cleese? :)

  12. Jim
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    And, things haven’t improved after her death. You can see details on the facebook page of a disillusioned volunteer to Missionaries of Charity(!) here:

    http://www.facebook.com/missionariesofcharity

  13. Sastra
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    “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.”

    Actually, as I see it the most ‘positive’ effect of the Mother Teresa Myth has been its usefulness as a tool for battering atheists.

    “So has atheism produced anyone like Mother Teresa? You atheists can’t explain Mother Teresa because only religious faith can inspire that sort of selfless giving to the needy. Mother Teresa is one of the best arguments for God you will ever see. Why would you atheists attack religion when it contains people like Mother Teresa, huh? Bet you never thought of that.”

    Thanks to Hitch I’ve known for years that Mother Teresa was a fraud: she had hospices without pain-killers for ideological reasons for crying out loud. Mother Teresa was a cruel, twisted, sick individual who was pretty damn close to what I’d call evil — not despite her Catholic faith but precisely because of it. And yet here is the anti-atheist poster child, dutifully trotted out on a regular basis in order to fill us with shame and admiration.

    Admitting that it was a “myth” doesn’t make it okay because its message was so good. Look at the entire message.

  14. DavidIsaac
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Another Catholic whose thoughts and actions were in the right place was Dorothy Day, cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement. A nonviolent anarchist who converted to Catholocism in adulthood, she emphasized the distributionist strain in Catholic thought, and organized local groups to feed and house the poor and hungry, and take nonviolent direct action on their behalf(See:Dorothy Day in Wikipedia). Amazingly enough, she was put forward for canonization in New York 3 years after her death in 1980, but remains at the first level “Servant of God,” according to the Wikipedia article.

    I remember my atheist/culturally Jewish parents bringing home her organization’s paper from time to time while I was growing up.

  15. abandonwoo
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I hope the Montreal paper references Antisocial Personality Disorder, among other mental afflictions.

  16. Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The Indian authorities need a good kick up the arse.

    • Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I doubt there is much they could have done about it: it’s not as if it is a crime to be not a very good charity while the religiously inspired media in various countries falls over itself to proclaim you so.

    • Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Also, as Aroup Chatterjee shows in his book, MT was more of a phenomenon in the West than in her own adopted city of Calcutta.

      • Posted March 6, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        It’s got nothing to with the West – its about taking an interest in what’s going on in your own country.

        As for MT, she’s not worth the battery power it takes o write this.

        • Posted March 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          “It’s got nothing to with the West – its about taking an interest in what’s going on in your own country.”

          Well, in case of MT, it seems to have everything to do with the fascination of certain sections of the media, most of it in the “West”, who couldn’t be bothered to take “an interest in what’s going on” on the ground in a desire to elevate another “civilizing” hero single-handedly keeping millions of “poor natives” alive. On the other hand, if Chatterjee’s references are to be believed, the local media and the local authorities seemed very well aware of the insignificance of MT to Kolkata.

          • Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:20 am | Permalink

            I agree with that – but were the local press, etc. bowing to perceived international pressure?
            I don’t think anyone comes out of this mess looking good.
            What you had there was a psychopath who revelled in the painful death of others, but masked it in the name of religion thereby escaping true and honest scrutiny.

            • Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

              “I don’t think anyone comes out of this mess looking good.”

              I agree. In general, India suffers from the same accommodationist mindset so popular in the US, perhaps to a larger degree. Once somebody or something has been raised on a religious pedestal, the Indian media seems to show a lot of reticence in reporting anything against them, even when they have conclusive proof. Part of this also has to do with the fact that Indian hate-speech laws are often misused (cf. the Rushdi affair) to silence critics of any kind of religion.

              • Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

                The people who run religions are the scum of the earth.
                I exclude Buddhism here (its not actually a religion) – but it could still do with extra scrutiny.

                We, the people of the world, must stop following people who pretend to know what life is about just because we feel insecure.

              • microraptor
                Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

                @jumeirajames- guess you didn’t hear about the recent sex scandal involving a Zen Buddhist group.

  17. Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    As Jefferey Shallit points out above, another critique of MT from a medical point of view is Mother Teresa The Final Verdict by Aroup Chatterjee. Chatterjee, a British-Indian physician, was one of the two adverse witnesses at MT’s beatification. The first few chapters of the book seem to be avialable for a free download from the publisher’s website.

  18. tony
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I can see a strange parallel here between Mother T and Jimmy Savile.

  19. Posted March 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    ” Christopher Hitchens’s cleverly titled book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice…”

    If I remember rightly, that was his second choice; he wanted to call it Holy Cow.

    ‘her extreme love of suffering (that is, the suffering of her “patients”)’

    Real medicine has come so far that we forget that “patient” comes from “patio, patere” to suffer. Perhaps the correct term is victims, or prey.

    “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.”
    That may be carefully worded, to be read literally, with emphasis on the “If”. It will be interesting to see if they produce any evidence that it has.

    “her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.”
    This phrasing is curious given that hers is indistinguishable from the official Catholic position, but she certainly used her fame as a humanitarian to push it to the limit, as in the case of the Bosnian rape victims, and she spoke as dogmatically as if she were another Pope. Her position gave her no first-hand or even second-hand knowledge of any of those three things.

  20. Matt Bowman
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Greg Mortenson said that he was inspired by Mother Teresa. Mortenson is the guy who wrote Three Cups of Tea and set up a foundation to build schools in Afghanistan. He was also accused of lying and mismanaging funds. For details read Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit. So much for Mother Teresa’s positive effect. I bought into Mother Teresa when I was kid and a Catholic. And I also bought Mortenson’s book and found it inspirational—duped again!

  21. Marella
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Mother T didn’t care at all about her patients, even their suffering was not for their benefit, it was for hers. She was so terrified of dying and hell that she hoped their suffering would sanctify her. She purposely withheld treatments and painkillers that could have done huge amounts of good, in order to wallow in these poor people’s misery, and get herself into heaven.
    She was sick, twisted, duplicitous and most of all, sadistic, as well as greedy and unprincipled. Pretty much evil personified really.

  22. Gregory
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    this is low…
    Picking on a deceased woman who spent her life helping other.
    I dont agree with her beliefs but im not going to slander her name after she passed away

    • gbjames
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Who spent her life helping others? Are you kidding?

      The opposite is true. She spent her life bilking people of money and watching poor people die without medical assistance.

      • microraptor
        Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, her humanitarian work was Enron quality.

    • Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      In his book (linked above), Chatterjee brings up this point. He points out that 1) he, and other critics, tried to reach her when she was alive: she never responded, though she was quite quick to respond to supportive journalists 2) The Missionaries of Charities, her organization, is alive and well, and still follows the same policies as in her day. This needs to be countered. 3) And most importantly: it turns out see was not so much of a humanitarian end the end: Chatterjee gives evidence that the Missionaries of Charities has always overplayed the number of people it has helped. He mentions several tragic incidents (such that the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984) when the Missionaries of Charities and MT tried to take credit for helping victims: when all they had actually done was that MT, accompanied with a couple of colleagues had visited the area for a day and made the insensitive suggestion that all the victims needed to do was “forgive”. Chatterjee, and several later commenters, have pointed out that locally in Calcutta, Missionaries of Charities is not known to be a particularly important player in the area of providing assistance to the needy.

      • chiu
        Posted July 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        so who is the most important in providing assistance to the needy ? the indian govt, the hindus, the muslims, the rich indians ???

        • Mary O'Grady
          Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          Aroup Chatterjee’s book details the work of Hindu charities which actually do provide assistance to the needy in his home city.

    • Matt D
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry the facts disturb you, but they represent truth so you may avoid it or face it. Your choice.

  23. Diane G.
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    sub

  24. Mark Joseph
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    This is so good. Why are people moral? The religious would have us believe that it is only possible on the basis of (their) religion. This is known in the technical literature of ethics as “bullshit”.
    For a very interesting take on the whole question, Monicks had a nice recent post,
    “What lesson can we learn from atheists?” at
    monicks.net/2013/02/22/what-lesson-can-we-learn-from-atheists/ (if this does not work, put http:// in front of it)

  25. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Why was she flying first class? Because she loved suffering. See, if she flew Cattle Class, the airline would have made sure she had all the suffering she wanted. Which would have made her happy. So she nobly chose to deprive herself of this perfect opportunity to indulge her love of suffering, by flying First Class.

    Monty Python had it right – “Fetch… the comfy chair!”

  26. Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Wow. Before this blog post I had no idea that there was this side of her. I am really shocked. I know that she was human after all, I didn’t think of her as a perfect saint, but some of these things are pretty awful. I look forward to reading this paper, I actually know someone who works closely with the Mother Teresa Trust in India, I wonder how he’ll react to this…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      He’ll probably react the same way as an American I knew, who had two brothers killed in Vietnam, reacted to any suggestion the Vietnam War was a mistake…

      it was just not tolerable (to him) to suggest that they’d died for nothing.

      • Posted March 6, 2013 at 4:02 am | Permalink

        I suppose those are the people that get hurt the worst by revelations like this – people who believe what they perceive to be the truth and dedicate the lives to its pursuit. You can’t blame them for that. My friend actually does some great work in Delhi. Its sad really – we need heroes so badly that I guess we often have to make them up – and then to our own detriment we follow their concocted image – only to be shattered when its revealed that things aren’t so black and white.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 6, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

          If your friend is doing good work in Delhi (and it’s not rendered misguided or harmful by the organisation he’s working for) then I guess he’s just got to regard the work as its own justification.

          It’s probably dangerous to regard any person as too inspirational, nobody’s perfect.

  27. Posted March 6, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Stuff Found and commented:
    Not quite the saint she has been painted apparently.

  28. Daniel Murphy
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    From the description, it sounds like the paper relies heavily on already public sources. Are there any specifics in the paper that weren’t already exposed in Hitchen’s “The Missionary Position” and subsequent articles and speeches?

    For example, I’ve tried without success to find any source that has been able to do a more than speculative accounting of how Ms. Bojaxhiu spent what I can only imagine can be hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions over the years to the Missionaries of Charity, the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center, and affiliated programs. God knows you won’t find one at the MTCC official website.

    I notice that the offical site has a page devoted to alleged quotations that Mother Teresa did NOT say. I notice that this odious quote:

    “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”

    (quoted in Hitchens, “The Missionary Position”) is NOT one that the Center’s page denies.

  29. DerpyShell
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The Hitch documentary is called “Hell’s Angel” and the direct link to the short documentary is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ7G79WvTPE

  30. Xtrchessreal
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This twisted suffering thing is not just a Christian thing, Ghandi wrote that the Jews (regarding the Third Reich) should have jumped off a cliff of their own rather than allow so many to be killed, perhaps only a million would have died before the world took notice.

    And now we have the world including US Americans just watching while the US becomes the next biggest evil that has ever had power on the earth. Killing after killing, imprisoning anyone that stands in its way, or media smearing their reputations, rejecting science like it was a disease.

    • Posted July 11, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      This twisted suffering thing is not just a Christian thing, Ghandi wrote that the Jews (regarding the Third Reich) should have jumped off a cliff of their own rather than allow so many to be killed, perhaps only a million would have died before the world took notice.

      In fact, Gandhi said quite the opposite, and what he said was a reflection of what he had already been putting into practive in India (see, for example, the Dandi March. It also bears noting that this writing was in 1938).

      If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now.

      It is clear that although he was familiar with the horror that was Nazi Germany (“Germany is showing to the world how efficiently violence can be worked when it is not hampered by any hypocrisy or weakness masquerading as humanitarianism. It is also showing how hideous, terrible and terrifying it looks in its nakedness.”), he did not quite relaize in 1938 the true enormousness of its enormity. But to accuse him of asking Jews “to jump off a cliff” is clearly wildly inaccurate.

  31. Posted March 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    she spent her entire life to helping others and now some people envy her popularity

    • pulseteresa
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      What a ridiculous statement. Did you even read the above post? She spent her life actively causing and perpetuating the suffering of others. I’d be surprised if it turned that she helped anyone but herself. Read Christopher Hitchens’ “The Missionary Position.” Then read the paper referenced in this post when it becomes available, though I seriously doubt you even bothered to read Jerry’s post.

    • DerpyShell
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Nobody envies her, the are sickened by her. She let people die so she could live a luxurious life, she had millions of her own funds and treated the sisters like trash.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 7, 2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink

      The problem, Boris Pintaric, is that your statement is demonstrably false. You are either lying or ignorant. I hope it is the latter because that can be easily remedied. Just do some open-minded reading.

    • Matt D
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Well, when your ready to grow up and face the truth, we’ll be here.

  32. stephbk123
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on CHRONICLES and commented:
    Well I did not know about any of that! How fascinating.

  33. Katherine Jaconello
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    http://www.vaticanbankclaims.com/quebec.pdf

    The above is a link to the actions of the Roman Catholic Church in complicity with the provincial government and federal government of Canada and the medical establishment.

    The psychiatrist who did his due damage, Heinz Lehmann, is an Order of Canada holder, member of the Royal Society of Canada, and member of the Medical Hall of Fame. No manner of communication of the truth to these organizations garnered a whisper of discontent.

    I am not surprised about Mother Teresa. Post the truth, no matter how awful. Let’s face up to it as part of the forging of a new century. We are not going to fall prey to the lies of the past!

    • Mary Canada
      Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the pdf. Canada has lots of dirty little secrets regarding the catholic church

  34. Erp
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    As a followup, those with access can find the paper, Les côtés ténébreux de Mère Teresa, at http://sir.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/01/15/0008429812469894

    Note it is in French and it is a survey of the literature

  35. Posted May 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Those who do good are never really known. There are people who might not save millions of lives, but might volunteer to care for a few elderly patients, or donate some food to a local shelter, or care for the environment and animals. Most people want their deeds to be known, even when the proclaim to be humble, but those few who really do an effort to be kind without recognition are authentic and genuine.

    I no longer believe in the superiority of those who pretend to be good and humble while surrounded by cameras or luxury. Just a few weeks ago I saw some Buddhist monks in Palm Beach descending from a Mercedes. The Dalai Lama lives such a luxurious life, and is even called his holiness for what? Mother Theresa said so many beautiful words, and you would think only a saint could come up with such insightful thoughts… but I guess even the best manipulators and psychopaths can imitate love, and come up with pretty phrases.

    Let’s hope we can stop putting our faith on other flashy philanthropists, and simply worry about us trying to be the best we can, without pretense. Let’s worry about truly loving and caring for others; we don’t have to go save millions of people, but if we simply start with ourselves, our families, and friends, we can do more good than by simply pretending to care and love when in reality we are only trying to make ourselves feel special/superior/enlightened.

    • chiu
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      to amodernphilosopher. this revelation on MT is very shocking.
      makes one think a million times about donating to charity organisations. i supported MT’s foundation before. thank goodness, i’ve stopped. of all the comments, yours is the most sensible one.

  36. Avinash Machado
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    She was essentially a media creation.

  37. MAX GALSTAUN
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Teresa herself and her biographers forget that she started her “mission” with a lie. Teresa started her work in a school in the GALSTAUN family flat, at NO 14, Ripon Lane, Calcutta 16. There are witnesses alive who testufy going to this school run by Teresa.
    Photos can be found here :

    https://www.facebook.com/galstaun/media_set?set=a.1590661377487.83078.1564467353&type=3

  38. BeyondRedemption....
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    And, for the uninformed…. These are the types of people that the Catholickass Church elevates to the position of ”Saint” What a CRUEL JOKE!!!! Yeah, POOP JP II, the man who condemned millions to die if AIDS, by banning the use of condoms……….. has just been elevated to Sainthood also… and wasn’t he one of M. Teresa’s biggest supporters……….. too Catholic Church… a STAIN that just won’t fade away!

  39. BeyondRedemption....
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    To, amodernphilosopher… True Philanthropists seldom seek the spot-light. Let’s not confuse those people, with people like M. Teresa….. They are not the same…..

  40. Posted July 7, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Ok, everyone, let’s all weigh in on our humanitarian accomplishments while all of those poor, suffering people lay dying in Calcutta wards. What exactly are the accomplishment of the critics?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      Well now, speaking for myself, I’ve managed NOT to take millions in charity money intended for those people and divert it to my own ends, which makes me better than Mother Teresa, I think. I’ve also managed not to kill millions of people, which makes me better than A. Hitler or Pol Pot or Idi Amin, and I’ve even managed not to collect millions in donations from gullible listeners, which makes me better than most televangelists. I think most of the commenters on this site could claim the same.

      Now, if you want me to compare my modest accomplishments with someone who’s actually done something worthwhile, it gets a bit tougher… :)

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      0.5 – 1 % of our [Sweden] tax money goes to relief and support world wide. That’s about world average, so you can’t claim many of us do nothing.

      And since this work is monitored, it is seldom as hurtful as Bojaxhiu’s.

    • Draken
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

      The fact that I’m not a banker or a doctor should not prevent me from criticising a banker who misinvests all the clients’ millions, or an MD who uses prayer to heal his patients.

      Especially not if it my, or my country’s, money that is misappropriated.

  41. chiu
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    sorry, do not totally agree with what’s written here. all extreme religious beliefs
    not just Christianity are dogmatique. i’m a baptised catholic and very often i do not agree with the religious doctrines. like MT i even doubt God’s existence. many things written in the books are not applicable in the modern world today. so what’s the real reason behind all these ? to discredit the Catholic Church and Christianity ? Can you really claim that other religions are not enemies of every freedom ? i’ve always argued that religion is a personal choice not to be imposed on others.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      What is the relevance to the perpetrated atrocities? Enemies of freedom is one thing, enemies of humanity another.

    • Notagod
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      What a mishmash of contradictions. I bray that you can get yourself sorted out soon.

  42. Beacon of Aquarius
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Beacon of Aquarius and commented:
    Posted by Beacon of Aquarius July 7 2013

  43. Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Too bad she couldn’t have worked with Bill Gates. They would have made the perfect pair.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      Huh? Speaking as a long-time hater of Micro$$oft, I still don’t think you can make that comparison. So far as I can tell, Bill Gates was motivated by competitiveness in business, possibly ruthless at times, I think he started giving money away when he found he had more than he knew what to do with. I wouldn’t accuse him of being twisted like Mother Teresa.

      • Chris
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        Aye, much as Microsoft pisses me off, I can’t knock Bill Gates. The foundation he runs with his wife (a Catholic, IIRC) has even gone up against the RCC over reproductive rights. Good for them!

  44. IL
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    A quick correction, thousands of Serb women were raped my Serbs, who over the course of 600 yrs have been converted to Islam and Catholicism by Vatican and Islamic extremism and taught to hate and murder their own race. Bosnian women, by definition and religion are for the most part Serbian Orthodox women as about 2/3 of Bosnia was Orthodox before war and there are absolutely no recoded Serb on Serb crimes, other than the what described above. What took place is Bosnia is terribly falsified, much like a lot of Mother Theresa’s life and mission. I would retract that statement, and research it as well as Agnes’ life has been. Most of that information can be retrieved directly from the court cases currently open against Serbs in ICTY in Hague and it is as plain as white rice. Cheers

  45. Posted July 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Gotta give her SOME positive credit:

    Her Cinnamon Buns Rock!!!

    http://bobkaylor.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8345304b969e20133f6493452970b-320wi

  46. Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Marin Progressive.

    • Aroup Chatterjee
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Please do not assume I am beating my own drum – but it was ME not Hitchens who first took her down, I started the relook at her back in 1994, and we asked Hitchens to present our film. This needs to be known for the sake of historical veracity

      • Kalyani Kurup
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Thank you very much for posting this information. I don’t think many people are aware of this. I have heard a lot about Christopher Hitchens’s opinions on Mother Teresa and about his book ‘The Missionary Position’ but never heard your name or your involvement in the whole thing. Glad to get the information.

  47. Posted July 8, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I come from a very catholic family. The Mother Teresa myth is untouchable in that world.

  48. Posted July 8, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on DOUG PHILIPS and commented:
    Great piece on Mother Teresa from Jerry Coyne, author of the very well done and very digestible-for-lay-people-like-me book, Why Evolution Is True. The piece touches on a weird aspect of Catholicism, its facination with suffering. As early as I can remember, I was taught to “offer up” my suffering to God in a really weird way that never made much sense to me.

    • BeyondRedemption....
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      It’s a mental condition, to worship suffering, when there is so much beauty in this world… once you get past all the horrors……

    • whatameye
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      ho.lee.cow…I had no idea MT was that crazy…Medical term would be heavy religiosity? I can relate…I was given this same advice as the eldest girl in a 1950’s campbellsoup catholic world. The makings for plenty of narcissism. My mother was a convert-the worst kind-still having babies when I was 25, all born C-section. When I yearned for a new dress or to go on vacation with a friend, I got, “offer it up”, ad nauseum. When the “Apostolic Blessing” from Pope John,(the one before RATzinger)arrived at my mother’s door-his picture and signature in an 8×10-I wanted so badly to toss it in the fireplace and “offer that up.”

  49. Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “This is a peer-reviewed paper written by academics, ”

    Dr. Coyne: what makes you think that this aspect will lead to this paper being accepted by the public?

    After all, most research into evolution is done by scientists who publish in peer-reviewed journals, no?

  50. BeyondRedemption....
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    We’re an Avaricious species, and that, very often, causes us to be our own worst enemy. Or the enemy of mankind. M. Teresa was just another human being, after all… Her sin was, seeking glory, not giving service as she claimed… The money that she raised was not used to help the sick and dying, as she claimed….. It was used to build more than 250 residences for Nuns…. with her name on them. The sad thing is, I fell for her line too, and I contributed to her scam more than once.

  51. Debra Keller
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I believe she was not a saint. She had many flaws–as we all do.

    • gbjames
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Some flaws are bigger than others.

  52. Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Sarvodaya and commented:
    Very disturbing, though it confirms what I’ve already read and seen from other sources.

    • Kim
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      What do you find disturbing? That M.T. is being revealed as the malevolent human being she was? I find that encouraging. Always a positive to learn the truth.

      • Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        I agree, I meant more so the implications; how many other saints have such skeletons in their closet?

        • Posted February 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Those were my thoughts too. We live in an age where information is easily found & it is easier than ever to check something out, so i wonder just how many other “Saints” have been given a pass with their “Fake” miracles (is there another kind)? I would guess that the vast majority of these saints have gained their dubious awards because it was in some way convenient for the Vatican.

  53. Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The argument that the myth of Teresa may inspire genuine good work, despite her own reputation being so grossly undeserved may be compelling, However when you build something up from a foundation of a dishonesty lies and general marketing bullshit it can be pretty shaky, Because in addition to the work you also have to maintain the lie, which is a waste of resources and time that could be put to better use. Do good work because you have a genuine concern for the well being of other people, not because you want to impress someone or be like someone else.

    • Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      Why are you so envy of her sitting on the first clas?? Why take it against her when she’s too old already!! Cant you just give her that geriatric rights!!

      • Kalyani Kurup
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        You cannot preach poverty for others and insist on comforts for yourself.

      • Gary
        Posted January 4, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Are you seriously suggesting that promoting lies, deceit and rewarding evil and sadism honors the god of the faith?

        Or are you simply running to default thinking to defend and deflect any criticism of the church?

    • aroup chatterjee
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I do not believe any good stemmed from the Teresa myth industry

  54. John
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Another Kardashian moment from WordPress.com

  55. Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on nothing shakes the smiling heart.

  56. Micke Ostlund
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    There isn’t anything wrong with accepting money from dictators or criminals but these money should of course be used to help those who suffers.

    Apart from that I’m sure Mother Theresa had a good heart. The problem is all those people who put her on a piedestal. She was probably very much a human being with all her flaws as well as all her good things just like everybody else. She wasn’t a living Saint and she was way too hard on the nuns whom she was responsible for.

    We the people often put certain people on piedestals and condemn them when they are not living up to the standards we think they ought to. We forget that they don’t deserve to be idolized as much as the are. Many of them find their way to drugs or other means to get away from reality because they themselves don’t want to be put on high horses.

    Some of those people may be like Mother Theresa, humble in a way but unable to correct people. They accept the glorification because they are not interested in making people feel dissapointed about their heroes. Some may keep their silence about it because there’s a couple of bucks to be made. Others because as much as they hate being idolized they also have great needs for being loved and cherised. It’s only human you know and I’m quite certain Mother Theresa was human.

    Please note I’m not a fan of hers but not an enemy either. I can certainly see where she fell through. Sick people should get medications, food and shelter. Not only sympathy for being sick.

    Micke Östlund,
    Vaxjo, Sweden

    • Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

      I agree with you! These people are so immoral! Im not Catholic but I know shes right on her stand against anti abortion!

      • Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:23 am | Permalink

        There isn’t anything wrong with accepting money from dictators or criminals but these money should of course be used to help those who suffers.

        Apart from that I’m sure Mother Theresa had a good heart. The problem is all those people who put her on a piedestal. She was probably very much a human being with all her flaws as well as all her good things just like everybody else. She wasn’t a living Saint and she was way too hard on the nuns whom she was responsible for.

        We the people often put certain people on piedestals and condemn them when they are not living up to the standards we think they ought to. We forget that they don’t deserve to be idolized as much as the are. Many of them find their way to drugs or other means to get away from reality because they themselves don’t want to be put on high horses.

        Some of those people may be like Mother Theresa, humble in a way but unable to correct people. They accept the glorification because they are not interested in making people feel dissapointed about their heroes. Some may keep their silence about it because there’s a couple of bucks to be made. Others because as much as they hate being idolized they also have great needs for being loved and cherised. It’s only human you know and I’m quite certain Mother Theresa was human.

        Please note I’m not a fan of hers but not an enemy either. I can certainly see where she fell through. Sick people should get medications, food and shelter. Not only sympathy for being sick.

        Micke Östlund,
        Vaxjo, Sweden

        — very well said!

        • Notagod
          Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Did you miss the part where she rejoiced at their suffering? Like any “good” catholic would.

          Apart from that I’m sure Mother Theresa had a good heart.

          Not really, Mother Teresa; Died: 5-Sep – 1997 Location of death: Calcutta, India Cause of death: Heart Failure.

          • BeyondRedemption....
            Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            She had a heart???????????

        • gbjames
          Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Almost all of us do better. Very few of us systematically fail to ease the pain of others when we have the chance. This woman made a fetish of the pain of others. This was not someone who deserved any honor.

    • gbjames
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      I’m sure Mother Theresa had a good heart

      How do you know that?

      Read Hitchens’ short book “Missionary Position”. You may change your mind. She was a cruel to many thousands of people whom she could have helped, but didn’t because she thought suffering (mostly of others) was divine. Religion poisons everything, including “good hearts”.

    • Draken
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:07 am | Permalink

      There isn’t anything wrong with accepting money from dictators or criminals

      Hell yes, there is. Anything from ‘silent condonement’ via ‘whitewashing’ to ‘aiding and abetting’ jumps to mind.

      • Jckson
        Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink

        I suppose you also believe a dying man shouldn’t take food from a dictator. Please, go on. Tell us how the poor should die. It’s “condonement!” Why? Please, explain!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          Your argument might have some validity if any of the money from the dictators had actually, like, reached the dying and helped them.

          We can certainly say how the poor should die and it’s “in better conditions than Mother Teresa gave them”.

          That aside, it’s true there are arguments both ways on whether ‘dirty money’ can or should be used for good. Just in this case it’s kind of irrelevant because Mother T didn’t use it for good anyway.

          • aroup chatterjee
            Posted July 11, 2013 at 1:38 am | Permalink

            Teresa did NOT actually feed many dying men or women. All she did was feed her own ego, her (false) reputation and that of the Vatican.

            • BeyondRedemption....
              Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

              BINGO!!!!

        • Ed
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          Where does a dictator get his money? The poor in his own country. So the most you could possibly say is she took from the poor and gave to the poor. But as others note, she really didn’t give the poor anything more than a floor mat to die on. In the meantime, she used the money to fly first class around the world, hobnob with celebrities, collect her Nobel Peace prize (what a disgrace), and get decent medical care for herself when she was sick. Sounds like a real saint to me.

      • Amandonor for it.
        Posted January 31, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        There is indeed nothing wrong with accepting money from dictators. There is a MAHOR problem with aiding them. This evil woman accepted the money and gave them honor for it.

        Had she accepted the money secretly and spent it on good it would have been good. She however rewarded and validated them in order to raise her own reputation.

        If I was a xtian I would be less bothered by her since I would be certain that she would rot in Hell for eternity and suffer as she made other suffer.

  57. connie
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    OMGG is there nothing true in this world…..

    • BeyondRedemption....
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      Remember the old saying, ”If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”

  58. cynthia caldwell
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    i’m glad to see the truth finally coming out.my question is why didn’t it come out sooner?

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Aroup Chatterjee’s book ‘Mother Teresa – The Final Verdict’ came out in 2002; so this has been around for a few years at least.

      I guess the book didn’t get the publicity it should have. Also, I guess people don’t want to believe something less than admirable about a person they thought was the epitome of goodness.

  59. Risa
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    After reading this now I admire her more. Flawed personalities and antiheroes are way more interesting. Her personality and morals might be questionable if you believe what these authors say about her but doesn’t change the fact that she aided hundreds. I really want to know more about this but I’m not sure my views on her will change at all. People are never 100% evil or 100% good and it’s the mix or good and bad deeds what define us as humans.

    I can see why the catholic church want to make her a saint. A lot of saints had questionable morals as well and they need new idols.

    I really admire Mother Teresa and I think the more I’ll learn of her shortcomings the more I’ll admire her. How many of us could do better than her?

    • microraptor
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      If we were given the kind of financial backing she had, I’d say that most of us could do a lot better than her.

    • Notagod
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Being better than a christian god is a rather low bar to set for yourself.

    • Draken
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      Just about any nongovernmental aid organisation with less than 20% overhead does better than Mother Theresa, Inc.

    • Andy
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      That’s the problem with admiration, it is mostly based on unsubstantiated biases (in this case, the media hype) and makes it hard to acknowledge that your long held belief was farce. You could sit in your plush living room and feel good that someone else is taking care of the poors. You just sent her $100 and got over your guilt.

      Can you tell one specific work that her, so called, charity actually did, in any mentionable magnitude?

  60. Patti
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “Phony miracles”??? Are there any other kind?

  61. carl mosconi
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Truly unfortunate that there was no hell for her to go to!

    • microraptor
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Hey! Just because she was a fraud who hurt people while supposedly helping them still doesn’t justify eternal torture. We’re supposed to be taking the moral high ground compared to the religious wing-nuts, remember?

      • Draken
        Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        But I think when she died purgatory was still in effect.

  62. Jackson
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Seriously? Taking money from dictatorships is one of your main qualms? Hey, at least Cuba doesn’t bomb the middle east, dude.

  63. Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    almost too funny that they glorify mother theresa but rejecting existence of pope joan :)

  64. Ranjith
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I am not surprised how people misuse opportunity for selling… Even if God comes to earth for healing people, there will be objections/rejections from society… It is the fact that happened 2000 years back with Jesus… I do not feel pity for these people, because they were/are/will do it…. For any good there will be always bad….

    And off course I am not catholic nor bothered about sainthood…

    For those who say they do anything for money, why you earth you are NOT doing it(helping needy)???

  65. Posted July 14, 2013 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    A great many years ago, in a meeting with Ann Wigmore, in a friend’s apartment, she recounted how in Calcutta she met a young mother and her small children begging on the street. She came back the next day and gave that young woman a sewing machine and some lengths of cloth so that the woman could work and earn a living. Soon after, the young mother had a thriving little business and had pulled her children and herself out of abject poverty and homelessness. This deeply angered Mother Teresa who harshly criticized and attacked Ann Wigmore. This is when I started doing some research and questioning the authenticity of Mother Teresa, and found out that she refused to buy cheap and effective medicines that could have quickly cured a great many people in her Homes for the Dying

  66. Ken Miller
    Posted August 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Quantum reality is strange, troublesome, and downright illogical, but its unexpected discovery solves one of the key philosophical problems faced by any religious person: How can a world governed by precise physical law escape a strictly deterministic future?…

    The indeterminate nature of quantum behavior means that the details of the future are not strictly determined by present reality….few theologians appreciate the degree to which physics has rescued religion from the dangers of Newtonian predictability.

    I suspect that they do not know (at least not yet) who their true friends are!

  67. Thomas McLoughlin
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    The problem with this review of her achievements or fakery is that I can’t judge how cynical or jaded they are, perhaps out of personal anger and angst at a grand old institution with alot of problems.

    Some obvious points:

    1. Slums – real slums – have a totally different moral compass. Rather I understand from survivors of slums (eg in Santiago in the 60ies) that they are ammoral places. Child abuse is normalised. Everyone is crawling over everyone else to surive. A slum is a dangerous scary reality that hardly conforms to comfortable middle class mores.

    2. First class seat on a plane? Are you serious? Don’t you think the if only for PR purposes it was donated by the airline? This is such a no brainer it sort of undermines the reality of all the rest of the critique as naive and shallow.

    3. I agree Catholicism has a sickness in it about original sin and masochistic embrace of suffering, for instance celibacy as a virture as distinct from perversity. Compare say Buddhism. I rejected that concept as a Catholic a long time back.

    4. What I don’t get from the criticism is a sense of balance – are you saying she did no good at all, despite her fame and expansion of her order? That itself doesn’t sound very credible.

    5. Hundreds of millions of dollars in donations? Given the costs involved that doesn’t sound like alot of money over time for the size of the operation.

    6. Accepting money from dictators and criminals – well you can deconstruct that in many ways. Do the poor give a flying proverbial where it comes from? Shoud we? Yes but should they? I expect not.

    • Andy
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      It is well known that she constantly used her (fake) “working for poor” image to humiliate the airlines emolyees into giving her a first class seat, for free (not coach class). Airlines couldn’t do much given her towering image created by western media. Indian media, to prove their (pseudo) secular credentials, totally ignored the lies spread by the leading figure of the minority religion (read Christianity).

      To your point 4 – your asking the question itself proves the point. Had she done anything worth mentioning, you probably would have mentioned thaykt here as a counter arguement. Absence there of, proves that her claims were mere myths and nothing substantive was ever done. Go to Kolkata (Calcutta) and see if you can even find her organization, let alone to extent you ever inagined (blame media).

  68. Charlie
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    “Religion allows billions to believe things only lunatics could believe on their own.”

    Sam Harris

    • shiroijin
      Posted November 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always loved that quote!

  69. Posted November 25, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    And now the criticism section of her wiki bio is gone. Fuckers

  70. lisaestus
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    For a lucid and unflinching account of serving in Missionaries of Charity close to Mother Theresa, see Mary Johnson’s memoir “Unquenchable Thirst.”

    http://www.maryjohnson.co/book-an-unquenchable-thirst/

  71. Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on π's blog.

  72. fanci64
    Posted January 19, 2014 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    This woman was a terrible person. I hope there is never another like her to spread her lies and push her agenda while letting people starve right in front of her. Giving rosaries and telling them that god would save them and when that wasn’t happening telling them well then it was gods will. She as deplorable and so are her teachings. Take your lies and deceit and use the money to actualy feed the hungry and give homes to the homeless. Give condems and education on aids to those that are in danger. Shit just actually help someone instead of spreading your myths about some non-entity. Ugh!

  73. Willard Bolinger
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    No one mentioned that Hitchens book claimed that she did not even sterlize any medical instruments. No pain medicines were given, as someone mentioned. Some food and water was provided and a place out of the weather.No beds either just a mat on the floor. Not much else.

  74. sarahlearichards
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Eye-opening article. Comments I’d read on FB led me to learning more about her. She didn’t sound like a very compassionate woman to me. The point of Christ suffering was so we didn’t have to. Some suffering, because of this world we live in, is unavoidable, but to withhold succor from the poor and sick and suffering, well, that’s evil. Jesus, when He was on this earth (I am guessing, by the title of your blog, you are not a believer–that’s fine, but this is where I’m coming from), healed people–He didn’t let them suffer. I’ve heard that Mother Teresa helped cloak the sins of the pedophile priests, but I don’t know if that’s true.

  75. SmilingAtheist
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Bottom line…………… in order: To become a ‘Saint’… first you must have been a HUGE PIECE of SHIT, while you were alive…..

    • Kalyani Kurup
      Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting comment!

  76. Posted June 4, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Ahaa and commented:
    I’m not sure that there is a lot to say about this story as it’s fairly well known now. However, it should be pointed out that the claim about the ‘missing millions’ is simply that …a claim… not substantiated. However the conditions of her hospices and disposition to leave her patients untreated are much easier to support. As in fact the contrast with her own life were she was able to access first class medical care. while they “…suffered in Christ”. The ‘miracle’ that she needed to have her canonisation pushed through was it seems simply a product of a new Kodak film quality and the rapture with which Malcolm Muggeridge received it. Perhaps it’s better to have the truth about our icons that to keep adding further embellishments to history.

  77. Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    She encouraged poor woman to procreate.


9 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she – and the Vatican – were even worse than w… (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. [...] This is one of the several recent posts on Mother Teresa, whose Nobel Peace Award is questioned by many. The plain and simple truth about her is that she did whatever sort of social work a Catholic Church worker could possibly be expected to do. Such work never can be very highly regarded, but, on account of successful propaganda, she won the Noble Peace Award which, we observe, is sometimes controversial and motivated by political considerations. But to attribute miracles to her is an insult to human intelligence, which only the Catholic Church is capable of trying out. The following section from Hindu writer Sita Ram Goel's book "PAPACY, its Doctrine and History" (Voice of India, 1986) is well worth quoting in this connection: CHRISTIANITY AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION The less said about the Christian call for Freedom of Religion the better. The record of Christianity in this respect exists in cold print and need not be reproduced here. Christianity has been and remains one one of the greatest and most persistent enemies of every freedom, let alone freedom of religion. Some of the most unrelenting crusaders against freedom in every form are still being hailed as saints by the Church. We have yet to hear of a Christian theologian who has betrayed anything but awe towards men like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis Xavier. As recently as 1984, Mother Teresa gave an interview to INDIA TODAY which had come out a cover story on her in one of its issues. One of the questions put to her was: "With whom would you have sided between Galileo and the Church?" It did not take her even a split second to say, "With the Church." Galileo was not propounding any theology opposed to Christianity. In fact, he was a believing Christian. he had only reported a physical phenomenon which he had seen with his own eyes and which he was prepared to show to the inquisitors appointed by the Pope. His discovery has since then been accepted by the whole world, including the Catholic Church. But Mother Teresa finds it difficult to forgive the man simply because differed with the Church, even though he was right and the Church was wholly in the wrong. What the Church really means by Freedom of Religion is that it should have an unbridled opportunity spread its superstition and extend its hierarchy with the help of mammoth finances from the West. What it does not endorse a Freedom of Religion is a non-Christian's right to live his own life without its ministrations. It insists that it has an inalienable right to inflict its missionaries and its mumbo-jumbo on everyone everywhere. If anyone objects to this uncalled for and aggressive interference, he is violating Freedom of Religion. (See also whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com) [...]

  3. […] Continue Reading… […]

  4. […] A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she—and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought […]

  5. […] Great info from Jerry Coyne -> A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she—and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought […]

  6. […] Bonus article: Why Mother Teresa is Even Worse than We Thought […]

  7. […] A new exposé of Mother Teresa shows that she—and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought […]

  8. […] have since looked into this and have found no such bylaws. See this report, quoted […]

  9. […] have seen Bono’s halo smudged, and encountered very troubling challenges to the image of the penultimate ‘good celebrity’, namely Mother Theresa. Fortunately, we have also learned that there are critical voices around tackling the global […]

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