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Was Mother Theresa a good person or a fraud ?

 
 
Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 02:42 am
While the name of Mother Theresa is mostly associated with selflessness and helping the poor, she is not without her critics.

While some want to make her a saint, others claim she was a schill of the Catholic Church, helping the rich get richer at the expense of the poor.

Some critics alleged that Mother Teresa and her followers accepted donations specifically earmarked for the sick and the poor, but that the funds were used for other purposes, particularly evangelism. Some of these complaints amount to accusations of fraud.

What are your thoughts about Mother Theresa and her works ?

Was she a good person or a fraud ?

Did the Catholic Church use her simplemindedness and vow of poverty for their financial and public relations gain ?
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Eorl
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 03:25 am
My guess is she was probably both.

She was probably also a bad person and an honest person.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 04:09 am
I remember a news story about Mother Theresa. A reporter asked her why she was not suggesting birth control to the overwhelmingly poor people with whom she worked, who were saddled with way too many mouths to feed, and not enough money to buy the food.

Her answer floored me. She said something like she was there to spread the word of god, and not a social worker. Here was a person with a lot of credibility in the area in which she worked, who could have, singlehandedly, improved the plight of many people. She chose to toe the party line, rather than do something that would REALLY help those people.

From that day forward, any respect that I ever had for Mother Theresa was gone.
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material girl
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 04:22 am
Good for you,I have opinions on this situation, I shall probably air them when Ive convinced myself Im not going to go to hell because of them.

I often wonder about people like Prince Harry who do lots to help the babys once they are born with HIV/AIDS but do nothing about promoting prevention!!
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flushd
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 05:14 am
Interesting! I don't know enough about it, but I'm interested to hear more.

It's not surprising to hear the info Phoenix has provided. She was a Catholic first and foremost.

There is one quality of Mother Theresa I always have respected, and no matter what I find out here, I still will. That is her readiness to get her hands dirty and participate.

Regardless her motives and where I may disagree with her, I admire that get-in-there-and-work earthliness. She touched people, literally and figuratively. The planet can always use more people who are willing to scoop up human beings in their arms, offer a hug and love.
The physical touch alone was a great gift.

I have a strong aversion to missionary work of any kind - I completely disagree with it.

She's an interesting character all right.
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Chai
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 06:23 am
I'm in the same position as flusd.

Very true, she was a catholic nun first and foremost.

Kind of a catch-22. by being a catholic she had the resources to touch so many peoples lives...because of vow of obediance she couldn't advocate birth control.

I would have to read some specific information before I could formulate an opinion.

CerealKiller...can you provide some articles giving more facts and details?
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 06:41 am
I am no authority on her life. I just figure she was a product of her church and upbringing. If she was "brainwashed" in the ways of the church, she could not have necessarily realized how short sighted she was being. Therefore, I accept her good works and give her the benefit of the doubt. We can't all be intellectual giants.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 06:46 am
Quote:
A reporter asked her why she was not suggesting birth control to the overwhelmingly poor people with whom she worked, who were saddled with way too many mouths to feed, and not enough money to buy the food.

Her answer floored me.


Someone I used to know put it this way: "She could walk through a sea of starving babies and tell a starving woman at the end of it, 'No, you can't have a rubber!'"
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 06:54 am
Patiodog wrote:
Someone I used to know put it this way: "She could walk through a sea of starving babies and tell a starving woman at the end of it, 'No, you can't have a rubber!'"


Yeah, so strip away all the warm and fuzzy bullshit about her, and you have a woman who is NOT really interested in helping people living on this earth. Her only interest was to save souls for the so-called next world. What a crock! Evil or Very Mad
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Tico
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 06:57 am
I am conflicted over this, and similar expos├ęs of heroes, modern or historic. Part of me recognizes the need for truth, and would be offended and righteous if denied it. But another part laments the lack of heroes in our lives, and wishes that we could just all admit that no person is perfect but let`s celebrate the greatness that some exhibit.

After all, without flaws their perfection would be intolerable to us and without flaws their achievements would be less.
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NWIslander
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 09:38 am
Interesting question. She may have been primarily an evangelist who toed the party line, but OTOH there have been many other evangelists down through history who didn't care diddly squat about alleviating poverty. At least she did something, which is better than nothing.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 09:44 am
NWIslander- I understand what you are saying. But she had the clout, and the confidence of the people, to get to the root of the problem. She chose not to, in the service of her faith. To me, that was not very "holy" behavior".

Sometimes one needs to consider the greater good.
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Chai
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 09:51 am
In order to do that, she would have had to leave the catholic church. Do you think she would have been capable of that?

I mean, she would have had to go directly again their edicts.

I'm not sure if after all the years of service, she would have been able to do that.

I'm just wondering...if she did do that, she would have gained monetary support some some, but lost support of the churchs money....I'm just musing.
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CerealKiller
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 01:14 pm
Chai Tea wrote:
I'm in the same position as flusd.



CerealKiller...can you provide some articles giving more facts and details?


Hi Chai Tea.

Here are some excerpts and sources I have read about criticisms of MT.

All the millions and millions she collected and adminstrated were not spent were she promised it would be spent, in fact, she even went so far as to lie about it. Donors were told the money they contributed went to aid and the construction of healthcare facilities in India and elsewhere. There is evidence that it was spent largely on missionary work. No hospitals were built, because, in her own words: "the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

Dr. Aroup Chatterjee, a physician who formerly worked with the Missionaries of Charity, claims that she dishonestly exaggerated the good work she did among the poor, that she failed to spend the very large amount of money donated to her on helping the poor and that the medical care given to people in her homes is grossly inadequate.

He stated, for example, that none of the eight facilities that the Missionaries of Charity run in Papua New Guinea have residents living there; their sole use is converting people to Catholicism.

Christopher Hitchens is a British-born journalist now living in Washington, D.C. He described Mother Teresa's organization as a cult which promoted suffering and did not help those in need. "I would describe Mother Teresa as a fraud, a fanatic, and a fundamentalist... she was corrupt, cynical, nasty and cruel". Hitchens further alleged that while Mother Teresa and her order had the money to help save lives, victims of disease got no medical care whatsoever.

Chatterjee contends that, among India's charitable organizations, Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity is the only one which refuses to release a public financial account. Hitchens asserts, "I would say it was a certainty that millions of people died because of her work, and millions more were made poorer, stupider, more sick, more diseased, more fearful, and more ignorant".

Susan Shields is a former member of Mother Teresa's order who is now critical of her. Having been in Mother Teresa's order for ten years, she states that large transactions of cash occurred; most were deposited in the Vatican Bank.

In 1991, Dr. Robin Fox, then editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, visited the Home for Dying Destitute in Calcutta and described the medical care the patients received as "haphazard". Dr. Fox specifically held Teresa responsible for conditions in this home, and observed that her order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients; people who could otherwise survive their ordeals would be at a heightened risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment.

Fox conceded that the regimen he observed included cleanliness, the tending of wounds and sores, and kindness, but he noted that the sisters' approach to managing pain was "disturbingly lacking". The formulary at the facility Fox visited lacked strong analgesics which he felt clearly separated Mother Teresa's approach from the hospice movement. Fox also wrote that needles were rinsed with warm water, which left them inadequately sterilized, and the facility did not isolate patients with tuberculosis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Theresa

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

http://www.slate.com/id/2090083/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 01:38 pm
Until I read that post, CK, I thought of her as, well, not at all harmless, but driven by the ideas of another time, and that she meant well within the realm of her understanding. That may have been true. Even the whole concept of suffering, and, further, offering it up, is doing good, sounds familiar from teachings in my childhood. When I was seventeen, I had a brief brush with recruitment into an order of nuns that had some being missionaries in India. They "knew" I had a vocation. I managed to fall in love instead. That was a long time ago and my ideas are very different now, but I remember the thinking.

Now, though, the idea of fraud is palpably possible to me.
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Chai
 
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Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 06:27 am
I echo osso's sentiments CerealKiller.

Thanks for the information and links...it is a real education for me.
I've read some, and will read the rest in a little while.

yes, the whole concept of suffering being good....(shakes head).
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Lash
 
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Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 06:52 am
Good grief. It was like mopping up blood from a gushing wound, rather than stopping the bleeding.

Another saint bites the dust.
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Eorl
 
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Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 06:55 pm
Phoenix32890 wrote:
NWIslander- I understand what you are saying. But she had the clout, and the confidence of the people, to get to the root of the problem. She chose not to, in the service of her faith. To me, that was not very "holy" behavior".

Sometimes one needs to consider the greater good.


Are you presuming too much here Phoenix?

Assuming that she actually WOULD go against the church in this, would the damage she would do TO the church (and subsequently, the good the church does, and that she did) outweigh the good she could do for people by breaking away from the church?

If the church threw her out in her teens as a heretic, would humanity have been worse off in the long run?....perhaps....who can say?

Maybe, if you were in her shoes Phoenix, and you had her theistic and Catholic view of the universe, you would do as she did....namely, doing the best she could for people within the constraints of the church she was married to.

Perhaps she had the wisdom to change what she could, and to know the difference?
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Eorl
 
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Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2006 05:19 pm
(Hope you aren't offended Phoenix. I was hoping to learn something from your answer, as I usually do.)
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Fri 4 Aug, 2006 06:05 am
Eorl wrote:
(Hope you aren't offended Phoenix. I was hoping to learn something from your answer, as I usually do.)


I have never been offended by anything that you write, Eorl, and I understand your point. I think that I am coming from out of my own view on life. Church teachings change very slowly, but they DO change with the times. Mother Teresa was in a position to do a tremendous amount of good, but it meant that she would have to lock horns with the church.

She chose not to, and wasted an opportunity to really be a "saint"!
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