Mother Teresa: The Crumbling of a Myth

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Upheld and revered for decades as a virtual saint, Mother Teresa’s carefully tailored image has been shredded.

An analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa was conducted 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. This paper shows clearly that Mother Teresa’s sanctified image does not match the actual facts, rather, they were fabricated; the beatification idea arranged by clever public relations crusades was paid for by the Vatican and produced a public Roman Catholic superstar.

Having received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and bestowed with the title ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’ by Pope John Paul II in 2003 during the beatification process, her effigy among the saints of the Roman Catholic Church seemed cast in gold. Her legacy of having founded over 500 hospices and homes dedicated to the sick, the poor and the dying was held in reverence, and her Foundation received hundreds of millions of dollars donated by well-wishers and supporters of her causes; millions of people world-wide admired her work.

Mother Teresa

Even so, there had been some criticism about her attitude that suffering would bring people closer to Jesus and she would thus deny medical care or pain killers to those in need and preferred to pray for them. Journalist Christopher Hitchens, a contester of religious dogma quotes Mother Teresa as saying, “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.” Yet when this haughty and fanatically moralistic woman was in need of palliative care, she received that in a modern American hospital.

Although there were some questions about the misuse of charitable money and her maintaining positive relationships with dictators such as the Haitian Duvalier family, the myth about her generosity and caring for the poor so carefully forged over decades and supported by the Roman Catholic Church held up strongly. Very few spoke out against her, but of course it was foremost Osho who for years – in a major way – exposed the lies and hypocrisy underlying the fairy story propagated about her.

In response to the question, “You are also against Mother Teresa of Calcutta, but who will take care of the poor, the sick, the orphans and the starving people?” Osho said,

“How long has Mother Teresa been there? And who was taking care of all these people before her? And how long is she going to stay alive? Who will take care of these people after her? Rather than depending on Mother Teresas, why don’t you stop creating orphans, so there is no need for any Mother Teresa?

What is the need to create orphans when the pill is there? Anybody can distribute the pill to people. Orphans can be prevented… But Mother Teresa would not like orphans to be prevented.

It happened that one American couple went to Mother Teresa’s place in Calcutta. They wanted to adopt a child. They had no children of their own. The clerk, the receptionist said, “We have seven hundred children. You can choose. You just sit down and fill in the form.” They filled in the form. The clerk looked at the form and he said, “You wait here. I will come back soon.”

He went inside; he never came back. Somebody else came back and said, “Forgive us. Right now we don’t have any children.”

The couple were puzzled. Just a few minutes before there were seven hundred children, and now they don’t have any children. He said, “What happened?”

The man said, “I don’t know anything. I know only one thing, that I have been sent to tell you that right now we don’t have any children to give to you.”

The reason was that in the form he had just filled in he said he was a Protestant Christian. If he had been a Catholic, then there were seven hundred children! He wrote a letter to The Times of India, and I publicly criticized Mother Teresa. She wrote me a letter explaining why the man was refused. She tried to explain that the man was refused “because we give the children only to those families where their upbringing will not create any conflict.”

I wrote back saying, “Then those children should be given back to Hindus, Mohammedans and not to Christians. What right have you got to give them to Catholics? In the first place you should not give them any Catholic preaching. You don’t have their consent. They can give you consent only when they are at least twenty-one years of age. You are committing a crime against small babies. It is unforgivable.”

She was very angry. She wrote to me, “I don’t want to discuss the matter, but I will pray to God to forgive you.”

I wrote her my last letter. I said, “This is my last letter, to inform you, firstly, that there is no God – so please don’t waste your time in praying. Secondly, without asking my permission, who are you to pray for me? This is interference into my very spirituality. I will sue you in the court!”

These people… Now she has opened an AIDS home in New York. These people are responsible for AIDS; they have created it. This is not service, this is simply punishment. The Vatican should be turned into an AIDS camp. All their monasteries should now be AIDS camps – because they have created it, and they should take the responsibility for it.

This is not service to humanity, this is simply repentance. It will be good if they do it as quickly as possible; otherwise I am going to tell the homosexuals, from all over the world, “Move towards the Vatican. That is your home.”

Osho, Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Ch 9, Q 8

In the above mentioned Canadian analysis, to be published in the March 2013 issue 42 of Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses, Serge Larivée and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not taken 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 facts they discovered debunk the myth of Mother Teresa. One of the questions yet unanswered is where the donations transferred to the MCO’s various (most of them kept secret) bank accounts are. Larivée says, “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Teresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?” He further states that she was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During frequent 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.

Furthermore, according to the researchers, in 1968 she met with anti-abortionist Malcolm Muggeridge of the BBC in London, a man who decided to promote Mother Teresa. She then began travelling 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.”

‘Science Blog’ reported, “Following her death [in 1997], the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process. 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.

What indeed? Which brings us to the next Vatican story about the election of a new pope, because out of mysterious reasons Benedict XVI decided to resign, or did he? It is interesting to note that the new pope, Francis, has from day one made statements about helping and defending the poor and the weak. Sounds familiar? The subject is forever popular yet history shows the poor strangely always remain poor. But I digress; this is stuff for an in-depth look for another day.

BhagawatiBhagawati is a regular contributor to this magazine
Previously published in Osho World Newsletter
More articles by the same author on Osho News

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