Mother Teresa’s actions contradict her saintly title

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Growing up in a Catholic family and attending Catholic school, there were always a few major Church figures that were frequently acknowledged. Jesus, the apostles, Mary the Mother of God, and often mentioned among these, Mother Teresa. A Catholic nun who made it her life’s mission to serve the poor and vulnerable in the slums of Calcutta, India, Teresa is the face of humility for the Catholic Church. But beneath the veil of sainthood lies a more imperfect image of a woman that much of the world has come to idolize and admire.

Something coincidentally not considered by the panel to determine this most distinguished honor is the human suffering and global harm that the candidate inflicted––something that the saintly Mother Teresa was guilty of repeatedly.”

— Parker Breza

First, it must be clear that the issue of sainthood is one for the Church to decide, and the validity of at least three miracles is ultimately at the discretion of the vatican. Something coincidentally not considered by the panel to determine this most distinguished honor is the human suffering and global harm that the candidate inflicted––something that the saintly Mother Teresa was guilty of repeatedly.

One of her most negative impressions was left on the very people Teresa claimed to aid in Calcutta––some of the poorest and most destitute conditions in the world. Instead of seeking to improve their conditions, Teresa was more concerned with converting her patients, impelling them to see the light of God. In doing so, her facilities conditions were described as, rudimentary, haphazard, unsanitary, and dangerous, despite the immense funds she was afforded thanks to shoddy sources.

In contrast to her apparent belief that suffering brought one closer to Jesus, Teresa sought the most advanced and posh accommodations when ailing, including many visits to state of the art hospitals around the world. This of course while patients were being secretly baptized against their will––a practice supposedly necessary for the salvation of the soul, but one not warranted by the indigenous religion of many in the region.

Developing an institution of such a large magnitude obviously requires some support, and in doing so, Mother Teresa was no stranger to cozying up to those of shadier backgrounds to seek out funding for the Catholic cause. The Duvalier’s, former Haitian dictators in the 1970’s and 80’s, robbed the country of its natural riches and stole from the most desperate communities within their country. They generously contributed to Mother Teresa’s cause and as a result of their donations she labeled them as “friends of the poor.”

She also befriended the Nicaraguan contras, a radical Catholic terrorist group that killed thousand of civilians in the pursuit of power. Not to mention her acceptance of $1.25 million from convicted felon Charles Keating, who acquired the money through fraud and racketeering––money that would never be given back despite its tainted hands.

Even more startling was where this money went to. Rather than helping the poor and vulnerable in Calcutta, or another Missionaries of Charity Location, the money was stashed in the Vatican bank to be used at the discretion of the church, surely contrary to the mission of the sisters.

Despite her claimed love of the poor, Mother Teresa advocated for issues not directly correlated with the poor. While her persistence on issues such as abortion and contraception were noteworthy, the failure to advocate for pressing issues related to her constituents was regressive. These views and policies she possessed were even more detrimental to the end goal she claimed to idolize, of a more caring and equal world.

There’s no doubt that Mother Teresa made a serious and lasting impact in Calcutta, India and around the world. But what cannot be agreed upon is the merit in the way she used this immense power to change the lives of people in the most vulnerable of situations. Mother Teresa was by no means an evil person, but was no Saint either.

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