Pope Francis: Mother Teresa Canonisation Approved…

Pope Francis has approved of the second miracle of Mother Teresa, thereby clearing the way for her sainthood.  mother-teresa-quotes-12

On 15 December he received the final approval of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints meeting.

The canonisation is expected to be sometime later next year. 

Speaking to Sky News, Thomas D’Souza, the Archbishop of Kolkata, a city which Mother Teresa made her home, said: “We are very happy and overjoyed with this news, the city of Kolkata has been waiting for this day. We thank God of the great gift he bestowed on us with Mother Teresa.”

According to a statement from the Vatican, the second miracle involved a Brazilian man with a viral brain infection that resulted in multiple abscesses with triventricular hydrocephalus.

In December 2008 the patient was in a coma and dying and various treatments had been ineffective.

The patient’s wife is said to have continuously sought the intercession of Mother Teresa for her husband

He was wheeled into the operating theatre for emergency surgery at 18:10 on 9 December 2008 .

At the same time, his wife went to her church and along with the pastor begged Mother Teresa for the cure of her dying husband.

At 18:40 the neurosurgeon returned to the operating room and found the patient inexplicably awake and without pain.

He asked the doctor: “What I am doing here?”

The next morning he was examined, fully awake and without any headache.

On 10 September this year, the medical commission voted unanimously that his cure was inexplicable in the light of current medical knowledge.

The man, now completely healed, resumed his work as a mechanical engineer without any particular limitation.  Source

Comment

Is this latest canonisation to be welcomed? Mother Teresa was certainly keen to help the poor, and was enthusiastic about making the world a better place: to her credit, she spoke out clearly against abortion, even in the presence of politicians. The miracle recounted above seems pretty convincing. Is all of that enough for canonisation? Should we be celebrating?

76 responses

  1. I found a really hate-filled article on Mother Teresa at Patheos, but it contained this information which shows her in a very good light for Catholics:

    When the International Health Organization honored Teresa in 1989, she spoke at length against abortion and contraception and called AIDS a “just retribution for improper sexual conduct”. Similarly, when Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she proclaimed in her acceptance speech that abortion was the greatest threat to peace in the world. (Hitchens cuttingly notes that when the award was announced, “few people had the poor taste to ask what she had ever done, or even claimed to do, for the cause of peace”).

    In 1992, she appeared at an open-air Mass in Ireland and said, “Let us promise Our Lady who loves Ireland so much that we will never allow in this country a single abortion. And no contraceptives.” She also campaigned in Ireland to oppose the successful 1995 referendum to legalize divorce in that predominantly Catholic country.The connection between overpopulation and poverty seemed never to occur to Teresa, who said on another occasion that she was not concerned about it because “God always provides”. (The very existence of her mission would seem to cast doubt on that.) In upholding the irrational dogmas of Catholicism, she failed to recognize – or perhaps chose to disregard – the obvious conclusion that inadequate access to family planning services was and is one of the greatest causes of human destitution.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2008/05/mother-teresa/

  2. I don’t think it is good to canonise people so soon after death, while they are still remembered by most of the people still on earth. That is somehow trivialising sainthood, IMHO.

    I say that, not knowing if there are many others who were canonised soon after their deaths. It just seems odd to me.

  3. Mother Teresa was shown on the news giving out Holy Communion, like an Extraordinary Minister. To me, that rules her out for canonisation. To my way of thinking, she would have had the insight to know this wasn’t right, if she was saint-material.

    • If she did give out Holy Communion almost certainly she was commissioned to do so. Working within the rules, and promoting true devotion to The Eucharist, should be a good pointer to fidelity to Jesus Christ and His Church.

      • It’s not working within the rules when the rules are recently created by modernist bishops. This was a liturgical abuse which was then made legitimate because the pope was too weak to enforce the rule that said no lay person should give out Communion unless there was no priest present. Now it’s a free for all. I never go to these people. I would sooner make a spiritual Communion.

        • Without doubt the rules permit it. The Roman Missal even provides for ad hoc commissioning, as necessary.

          • CMJ

            The rules permit an Indult for Communion in the hand, as per the instructions of Pope Paul VI in Memoriale Domini. The custom of the Church remains that of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling.

            Given that Communion in the hand was illicitlyintroduced into the Church by Cardinal Suenens, that is, without Papal permission, as lamented by Paul VI in the aforementioned Encyclical, and since it does not even follow the Traditional early Church practice but rather that of the Protestant reformers of the 16th century, Paul VI even overstepped his authority by permitting the abuse to continue. Even so, when he did permit it there were very few parishes in the world administering Communion in the hand. Now their all doing it, to the great detriment of the Blessed Sacrament. Scandalous!

            • I think every Pope has Supreme Universal Authority over such matters and so things can and do change, and long standing can become the norm, as the good working of a practice is educative.

              As changes in practice are ongoings past rules are rarely absolutely binding anyway. Our obligation is to what is in force now, and not past practice.

              St James highlights that the tongue, on which the host is eventually placed. is the most deadly and sinful organ of the body. How can the tongue be more worthy than the hand, and what of the command to take and eat?

              • CMJ,

                First off, receiving Communion on the tongue has nothing whatever to do with the worthiness of the tongue, as per the writings of St. James. It is all to do with humility in the presence of Our Lord and the longstanding teaching of the Church that only consecrated hands are permitted to touch the Sacred Species. Of course I do realise that humility is not a very well practiced virtue in these proud times, but still the truth is the truth.

                As for the Pope’s authority, you are mistaken if you believe that the Roman Pontiff has Supreme Universal Authority to undermine the Faith and open up the Blessed Sacrament to universal abuse and sacrilege, as has been the case since Communion in the hand was introduced.

                It is the duty of the Pope to preserve unsullied the spotless faith handed down through Tradition, not alter it according to his, or others, liberal interpretations. This is called abuse of authority and should be respectively, but firmly, resisted by all faithful Catholics.

                Yes, the Pope may change disciplinary measures that do not impact negatively on the Faith. But he is not at liberty to introduce dangerous novelties that hail from the Protestant rebellion. Like so many today, you make the Pope out to be some kind of infallible God who can do no wrong. This is not the teaching of the Church. Popes can fail in their duty, and catastrophically so.

                • His ability to legislate on all matters has nothing to do with his pronounce infallible,teaching and nor does it impinge on doctrine or dogma.

                    • How is it it ridiculous to say the Pope has Supreme, and Universal, authority on Church rules, and that those rules may not, in any way, speak to his ability to teach? That is what The Church, not I say. Legislating and pronouncing dogma and doctrine, as in infallible are two distinct aspects of The Petrine Office.

                    • CMJ

                      You are muddying the waters, though I hope not deliberately.

                      The Pope has no authority to legislate in any way that undermines the faith concerning the Blessed Sacrament. Please stick to the subject.

                      Pope Paul VI and his successors have permitted abuse of the Blessed Sacrament by allowing Communion in the hand; not the ancient Christian practice but the Protestant reformers practice. They simply did not, do not, have the legislative authority to act in this way, even if they have timidly tried to mitigate the damage.

                    • A

                      The Pope can legislate as he deems to be within his competency, and few are suggesting that the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and Holy Communion in the hand, are contrary to the faith. Not only that the current, and earlier Miisal(s)?, give a Rite of Commisioning for EMHC. Likewise most Bishops, who are in Communion with Rome, commision the laity to act as EMHC, and distribute Holy Communion in the hand. Thus, The Missal, current universal practice, and various other factors, point to it being within the norms of The One, Holy , Catholic and Apostolic Church under, and in commuinion with, the reigning Pope.

                    • CMJ

                      You obviousl haven’t read Pope John Paul II’s strict rules on Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, which he forbade except in very extreme circumstances. Of course he was ignored, just as Paul VI was ignored when he initially tried to forbid Communion in the hand. And let’s not forget that John Paul II also wrote that none but the consecrated hands of the priest should touch the Sacred Species.

                      You really have no idea how rebellious our bishops are, have you? Learn your Faith from Tradition before you attempt to defend the indefensible. And try to think a little about all those Eucharistic sacrileges that have occurred since Communion in the hand was illicitly introduced.

                      No one who fully comprehends the reality of the Real Presence in the August Sacrament could ever defend Communion in the hand, simple as that. It’s all to do with faith, or lack thereof.

                    • A

                      If Saint Pope John Paul allowed the limited the use of EMHC then he also permitted the use of them. Therefore, even he, or you present as a teacher par excellence on such matters, could not conceive of an absolute ban, and that undermines 100% your own stance!

                      With regards Pope Paul he issued Humanae Vitae against all expectations. He clearly was not timid or a poodle.

                      When it comes to legislation and discipline no Pope is bound by his predecessors.

                      As I said before you must learn to distinguish between laws and dogma and doctrine.

                    • CMJ

                      It’s not a case of Popes being bound by predecessors, it’s a case of them being bound by the eternal law as handed down through Sacred Tradition.

                      Anyway, for your interest, here is an article I had published in the Scottish Catholic Observer on this subject. I hope it opens your eyes.

                      Reviewing Communion in the hand

                      “Why, for God’s sake, should Communion in the hand be introduced into our churches when it is evidently detrimental from a pastoral viewpoint, when it certainly does not increase our reverence, and when it exposes the Eucharist to the most terrible diabolical abuses? There are really no serious arguments for Communion in the hand. But there are the most gravely serious kinds of arguments against it.”

                      These words of Dietrich von Hildebrand were published in a November 18, 1973 article entitled ‘Communion in the hand should be Rejected.’

                      To demonstrate the stature of the one who wrote the article it suffices to recall the tribute of Pius XII, who called von Hildebrand a “20th century doctor of the Church.” Popes Paul VI and John Paul II later paid their own compliments to this German Catholic philosopher and theologian.

                      In the years since von Hildebrand’s article was published, reports of the Blessed Sacrament having being found under church pews or lying in the street have become commonplace in many countries, as have reliable observations of a general loss of Eucharistic faith among priests and faithful.

                      One U.S. gallop poll in recent years recorded just 30% of U.S. Catholics now believing in Our Lord’s True Presence. The other 70% had either various shades of Protestant belief or no belief at all.

                      These findings would appear to confirm what the ‘Servant of God’ Fr. John Hardon S.J., had already bluntly asserted: “Behind Communion in the hand—I wish to repeat and make as plain as I can—is a weakening, a conscious, deliberate weakening of faith in the Real Presence.”

                      Pope John Paul II was already lamenting the trend in his April 1980 ‘Instruction’ Inaestamabile Donum, when he wrote of “…frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world…an increasing loss of the sense of the sacred…lack of reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament.”

                      The Pontiff was to write of these abuses again in Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003) and Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004), deploring their multiplication and asking: “How can we not express profound grief at all this?”

                      In 2005, Cardinal Francis Arinze also spoke out noting that the practice of Communion in the hand had even facilitated easy access to the Blessed Sacrament for blasphemers, who subsequently abused the consecrated host in satanic rituals and displayed all manner of sacrileges against it on the Internet.

                      A few years later, Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne and Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra banned Communion in the hand from their respective dioceses of Lima and Bologna, citing overwhelming evidence of irreverence, profanation and sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament as their reason for acting.

                      Then, in 2008, the truth about this practice began to emerge. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, at that time Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote: “It is now time to evaluate carefully the practice of Communion in the hand and if necessary to abandon what was never actually called for in the Vatican II document, Sacrosanctum Consilium.”

                      The Archbishop wrote these words in his Preface to Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s book Dominus Est, which scholarly work, by an expert in Patristics (Fathers of the Church), challenges the authenticity of this modern practice.

                      It is Bishop Schneider’s contention that what has been sold to the Catholic faithful as a return to the Eucharistic discipline of the early Christians is historically untenable.

                      The discipline of the early Christian Church, insists Mgr. Schneider, forbade both the placing of the Blessed Sacrament in the left hand and the touching of it by the faithful with their fingers. Rather, the faithful were obliged to bow reverently and consume the sacred host directly from the palm of the right hand, taking care to repeat the action to ensure that no consecrated particle remained. Additionally, women were required to cover the right hand with a white cloth.

                      Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise of San Luis, Argentina, in his book ‘Communion in the hand – Documents and history,’ concurs with the findings of Bishop Schneider, declaring: “It would be to deceive the faithful to make them think that receiving Communion in the hand would identify them more with the spirit of the primitive Church.”

                      Bishop Laise, now retired, also refused to permit Communion in the hand in his diocese, as has his successor.

                      Also in 2008, Mgr. Guido Marini, Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, responding to the question of whether the Pope intended to make Communion on the tongue while kneeling mandatory at his Papal Masses, said:

                      “I really think so. In this regard it is necessary not to forget that the distribution of Communion in the hand remains, even now, from the juridical standpoint, an indult from the universal law, conceded by the Holy See to those Bishops’ Conferences which requested it. The method adopted by Benedict XVI tends to underscore the force of the norm valid for the whole Church.”

                      One year later, On July 22, 2009, Cardinal Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, speaking to Life Site News, said: “It is the mission of this Congregation to work to promote Pope Benedict’s emphasis on the traditional practices of liturgy, such as reception of Communion on the tongue while kneeling.”

                      These statements clarify three very essential points for Catholics today:

                      Communion in the hand was not initiated by Vatican II or the Conciliar Popes.

                      Communion in the hand is “an indult” from the universal law of the Church, which remains that of kneeling to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.

                      Communion in the hand is not the traditional practice of the Church’s liturgy.

                      The truth is that Communion in the hand was introduced illicitly into the Church in the mid 1960s. Pope Paul VI lamented this fact in his May 1969 ‘Instruction’ Memoriale Domini, stating: “in certain communities and in certain places this practice has been introduced without prior approval having been requested of the Holy See…”

                      In the same document the Pope upholds the Traditional practice, declaring: “the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way of administering Holy Communion to the faithful… The Apostolic See therefore emphatically urges bishops, priests and laity to obey carefully the law which is still valid and which has again been confirmed.”

                      While it is true that Paul VI in Memoriale Domini provided for an indult under strict conditions for those countries were the “contrary usage” had then come to prevail, it is clear from the wording of the document that this provision was restricted to those countries alone. At the time, these were Germany, Holland, Belgium and France.

                      The intention of the Pontiff was evidently to isolate the novelty of the “contrary usage,” which he prophetically warned carries with it “… the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.”

                      How the indult thereafter came to spread into many other countries is best explained by Bishop Laise, who writes: “These initiatives frequently could not be suppressed because they had spread too widely. With his great kindness and prudence, the Holy Father has frequently ceded, and many times he has done so against his will.”

                      He then adds: “If the legislation did not change [that Communion on the tongue is the lawful practice], the obvious conclusion is that the only reason for the extension of the rite [of the practice of Communion in the hand] is that the Bishops did not listen to the vehement exhortation of Paul VI to diligently submit to the law in force and again confirmed.” [MD] (16).

                      That law of 1500 years has not been abrogated or superseded. This is the message Pope Benedict XVI is sending to the Church today. It is the message par excellence of St. Thomas Aquinas, who wrote: “out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated.” (Summa, III, Q. 82. Art. 3).

                      In this Year of Faith, then, I hope every priest will weigh seriously the matter of Communion in the hand, which today is sadly more reminiscent of the practice introduced by the Protestant Reformers of the 16th century than that of the early Christians.

                      More importantly, I urge the Bishops to follow the Holy Father’s example of humble love for Our Eucharistic Lord by discouraging this “contrary usage” with its clear and proven dangers to faith and reverence.

                      To these I beg urgent reflection on this closing observation of Bishop Laise:

                      “With Communion in the hand, a miracle would be required during each distribution of Communion to avoid some Particles from falling to the ground or remaining in the hand of the faithful….Let us speak clearly: whoever receives Communion in the mouth not only follows exactly the tradition handed down but also the wish by the last Popes and thus avoids placing himself in the occasion of committing a sin by negligently dropping a fragment of the Body of Christ.”

                    • The Scottish Catholic journal may indeed be Catholic, and I do not know if it is. However, it is not an official organ of The Universal Church, and even, most probably, not even the local one.

                      Further articles by its contributors, no matter how highly they esteem themselves, do not equate to Magisterial Teaching or that of the holder of The Petrine Office.

                      I imagine within minutes, on any day, in any edition, it would be possible to discern The Scottish Catholic Journal is the holder of the keys, and its editorial standards may vary to those of The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in communion with The See of Rome, and the reigning Pontiff.

                    • CMJ

                      The Scottish Catholic Observer is Scotland’s national Catholic newspaper. It is sold in every parish of every diocese.

                    • A

                      You claimed that the Church universal has an outright ban on lay people touching the Sacred Host, and suggested Pope Paul was too weak to enforce his own teaching. You then contrasted the heroic, firm leadership of Pope Saint John Paul who merely limited the use of EMHC. You cannot argue that there is an absolute ban, and point up exceptions and contrast a weak Pope, in your view, against a strong one, also in your view, when both disregard your claim to absoluteness on the matter you claim authority on.

                      Further you cannot cite a national newspaper, and indeed your own writings, to counter The G.I.R.M. in the current Roman Miisal, and the fact that Bishops in Communion with Rome Commission EMHC, and the fact they, the Bishops, distribute Holy Communion in the hand.

                      Likewise ,The Ministries of Lector and Acolyte are lay ministries, open to all Catholic lay men, and are universal, and for life, and an Acolyte can distribute Holy Communion, and, further, it is Pope Paul, who you say banned lay people distributing Holy Communion, but was too weak to enforce it, who reintroduced the lay ministries!!!!

  4. I’ve never paid much attention to Mother Teresa, though one of my uncles was fervently devoted to her mission, but a little Googling turns up: a study done in Montreal which refutes the first “miracle” as the result of drug treatment; charges of her scandalously shabby and unhygienic treatment of the poor for whom she was allegedly caring; as well as mysterious disappearances of large quantities of money, including money from donors of questionable character. Also, as Margaret Mary infers above, she had no problem with the Novus Ordo Missae, unlike St. Padre Pio, nor with people practicing false religions.

    I would say that she is the perfect icon for the liberation theology crowd (which includes our present Pope): i.e. a supposedly sterling justification for a Catholic Church that should no longer be focused on our eternal destiny, no longer on mothering and cultivating the “poor in spirit,” but on helping the economically poor.

    However, it would appear, upon lifting the corner of the rug, that this sterling justification is not so sterling. It will be interesting to see if any researchers examine the miracle cited above for any other factors involved in this person’s recovery. I put about as much faith in the Vatican bureaucracy as I do in Obama’s.

  5. I don’t think she should be canonized if she went along with some of the errors that Vatican II introduced. According to some of her writings she suffered from temptations of doubt, even of God’s existence and she suffered a prolonged dryness. I would think it important to study her spiritual directors throughout her life. Who were they? Were they themselves strong in the Faith or did they cause her struggles?

    To me she’s a tragic figure really. Like Pope John Paul she seems likable, warm, kind, well meaning, self sacrificing, but then the riddle of why she doesn’t fully understand the Faith.

    • I think St John of The Cross and others suffered similarly. It is often understood to be a sign of their closeness and intimacy with God rather than a defect. I can’t claim to have read much by St John but his writings are considered to be amongst the best ever written. He no doubt counselled others personally. Indeed few saints have not experienced such things. I forget which saint said to God “if this is how you treat your friends it is no wonder you have so few true friends”.

      • CMJ,

        St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila, St Therese of Lisieux and countless other saints suffered spiritual “darkness” which is not remotely the same thing as doubting God in the sense popularly understood today.

        Let’s see if some “reverse theology” helps. . In our times, it is commonplace to speak of having a “relationship with Jesus” meaning, some sensible consolation, feelings of exhilaration, or whatever it is these people experience when they go to Holy Communion or their prayer meeting, whatever comes first.

        The saints and mystics warned against looking for this sort of sense-feeling/emotional experiences because (a) they may come from a diabolical source, not God and (b) feelings come and go, and if we rely on feeling “good” about God and the Faith, then we are more likely to give up when the feelings disappear. Feelings can also mislead us, hence the people who think they don’t need the Church and her Sacraments. Just Jesus, as if He can be separated from His Church.

        The saints warned against relying on feelings for all of these reasons but especially because feelings change. Just think about it. Sometimes, say when singing one of the lovely “old” (nowadays) hymns, we get a feeling of something deep, perhaps sadness at the realisation of our own sinfulness or of the great goodness of God. Hymn over, feelings gone, annoyance sets in that somebody sneezed right at the end and spoilt the whole thing! 😀 Slight exaggeration but you should get my drift, one hopes. One really does.

        Our “relationship with Jesus” must be in the will. We must WANT to know, love and please God, even if – as St Teresa of Avila said – He appears to “treat His friends” so badly: “Lord, no wonder you have so few friends if this is how you treat them!” is my memory of that quote, but recall, she had a great sense of humour and that was one of her quips. On one occasion she was asked by a priest what she would do if one of her novices came to her and claimed to have had a mystical experience – as St Teresa herself routinely experienced – and she replied with a typical quip “I’d give her an omelette and a glass of milk and send her to bed.” So, don’t take that sort of comment as evidence that the saint doubted God – she didn’t.

        It’s one thing to experience a certain “darkness of soul” where we have to pray with faith despite the absence of “nice feelings” or even a strong sense of God’s closeness, and another to doubt the existence of God and/or His revelations. The great saints did not entertain such doubts, knowing that to seriously doubt God is a serious sin against the virtue of Faith. That the Devil may have tempted them to this sin should not come as any surprise – he tried the same trick with Our Lord in the desert, if you recall. Temptations are not a sin. None of the saints gave in to any temptation against the Faith – read their writings carefully. At the same moment that they express their darkness of soul, their lack of any sense-feelings of enjoyment, as popularly understood today, they are actually addressing God. They are praying to Him as they express their suffering, and it IS a suffering when we have to exercise our will to express our belief – whether in the Real Presence, the Church’s authority to teach or whatever the difficulty may be – which is why so many of us are thankful to be able to voice the Doubting Thomas prayer: Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.”

        That, at first appearance, might be interpreted as an admission of loss of faith but it’s the very opposite – a classic prayer of faith. We are saying that we know that the God Who made us is there whether or not we have any gooey feelings, and all that the Church’s saints and mystics were recording in their writings was, precisely, this truth; that we must not seek sense-experiences, that if we are blessed to have such experiences we recognise them for the great and merciful gift that God has given us, but that our faith must not be reliant on them. Indeed, the mystics teach us that it is precisely when God appears furthest from us, that He is closest.

        Here endeth the lesson. We’ll now sing hymn number 21 – it’s an updated version of “Bind Us Together Lord” – the new “crisis” version: “Bind Modernists Together Lord”…(you know the one… “with cords that cannot be broken”) – and, in the updated version, there’s one additional word in the chorus: “please”! 😀

    • I want to rephrase what I wrote above so it’s not misunderstood:
      Perhaps Mother Teresa had a modernist spiritual director. This would account for her struggles with temptations against Faith and then her voicing religious indifference. Not that it would change anything but it would be interesting to know.

      • But even your clarification doesn’t help. St John of the Cross lived from 1541 -1592. Not too many “modernists” around then!

        • If Mother Teresa lived in the 1500’s she may not have had any temptations nor expressed errors like she did in the twentieth century.
          If St. John of God lived in the present time he might fall into error because of the modernism of the Popes, Bishops, priests, his teachers and directors.

  6. There have been various reports to the discredit of Mother Teresa. Wikipedia states “Christopher Hitchens’ 1994 documentary about her, Hell’s Angel, claims that she urged the poor to accept their fate, while the rich are portrayed as being favoured by God”.
    The changes to the role of “Devil’s Advocate”, seem to have made it easier to present a case for canonisation with less scope for rebuttal.
    It is very worrying. Historically, it is very difficult to find criticism of saints as even their enemies recognised their virtues even when they were making martyrs of them.

    • If this the same Christopher Hitchens who believed Hitchens that organized religion is “the main source of hatred in the world”, “[v]iolent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: [it] ought to have a great deal on its conscience”. He was relieved to see no evidence for a Heaven, which to him would function like “a celestial North Korea”. He often spoke about his efforts to champion “antitheist” as a descriptor as “atheist” was not strong enough to encompass the immoral conundrum that the existence of a “supervising deity” would imply?

      Hitchens often spoke against the Abrahamic religions. When asked by readers of The Independent (London) what he considered to be the “axis of evil”, Hitchens replied “Christianity, Judaism, Islam – the three leading monotheisms.” In God Is Not Great, Hitchens expanded his criticism to include all religions, including those rarely criticised by Western secularists, such as Buddhism and neo-paganism. The book received mixed responses, from praise in The New York Times for his “logical flourishes and conundrums” to accusations of “intellectual and moral shabbiness” in the Financial Times. God Is Not Great was nominated for a National Book Award on 10 October 2007.[

      You choose you expert witnesses well

      I wonder why he struggled with Mother Teresa. I would expect a true believer, and faithful Catholic, to judge her differently.

      • CMJ

        I’ve already dismissed Hitchens in an earlier post – he is viciously anti-Catholic and his opinion on God, the Church, the price of bread, just about anything, is of no interest to anyone here. He didn’t believe in God, and he now knows his mistake.

  7. 3littleshepherds

    In the spiritual life, temptations of doubt and prolonged dryness in prayer can actually be a sign of holiness. The test is how the soul copes with such temptations. It seems Mother Teresa bore them patiently and with fidelity, which is more of a good sign than a bad one. I seem to recall a report that Pope John Paul II performed an exorcism over her as she lay on her death bed. The reason given at the time was that she was under assault from the devil and the Pope’s action brought her peace.

    There is no question that she was a completely selfless person who assumed the very difficult task of caring for the sick and dying. Stories of financial irregularities, etc., in relation to her are, for me, mythical. She was the most detached person from money that could be, a person totally dedicated to God and the poor. Additionally, she had a great devotion to Our Lady and her rosary.

    The one serious down side for me is that Mother Teresa apparently made no effort to convert the souls she came into contact with. To be fair to her, India is not very friendly towards Christianity and so she was always at a disadvantage, being watched, suspected, etc., because of her Catholic Faith. Nevertheless, there are some questionable aspects to her life and mission in this regard that need to be thoroughly investigated by the Church prior to any canonisation. The most important work of the missionary, a real test of their sanctity, is how they pursued the conversion souls to Christ, Our Lord in the most hostile and dangerous environments.

    Truth is, I’m suspicious of all modern canonisations, Padre Pio excepted due to the numerous miracles associated with him.

    The process is so weakened today, most especially by the abolition of the Devil’s Advocate, that I find it difficult to see how any kind of absolute certainty can exist in these procedures. And the clincher is the speed with which these canonisations are being pushed through, particularly those that give credence to Vatican II and the post-conciliar rebellion. The Church was always very prudent and wise with the processes, investigating some for decades or centuries before declaring. Now they seem to be rolling off the assembly line every other day. Something is not right wih this.

    All in all, whatever they declare with regard to Mother Teresa I’ll wait for the judgment of the Church in future healthier times of faith. Everything is just too superficial and emotional with modern Churchmen right now.

    • Athanasius,

      Well said, I agree with every word of that. I’d heard of Mother Teresa’s reluctance to encourage converts to the Faith but then again I heard once that she spoke of baptism as the ticket to heaven, or something like that, and she was accused of proselytising. I can’t remember where I read that, but mostly it is said that she just encouraged people to stay in their own religion. That’s definitely wrong.

    • Athanasius

      I didn’t mean anything contrary to what you wrote. I just wrote that she was tempted for a long time. I do wonder if somone she knew might have taught things against the Faith that she had to struggle against, thus causing or adding to her temptations.

  8. Here are some quotes attributed to Mother Teresa. (Please correct if she did not say any of this)

    1. “If the individual thinks and believes that his or her way is the only way to God, then that is their way of salvation”

    2. “Some call him Allah, some simply God. But we all have to acknowledge that it is he who made us for the greater things: to love and be loved”

    3. “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him” (“Mother Teresa Touched Other Faiths,” AP, Sept. 7, 1997).

    4.Time: What do you think of Hinduism?

    Mother Teresa: I love all religions, but I am in love with my own. No discussion. That’s what we have to prove to them. Seeing what I do, they realize that I am in love with Jesus.

    Time: And they should love Jesus too?

    Mother Teresa: Naturally, if they want peace, if they want joy, let them find Jesus. If people become better Hindus, better Moslems, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there. They come closer and closer to God. When they come closer, they have to choose.

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      I believe those are authentic quotes, as I’ve read them all over the place over the years.

      The Christopher Hitchens’ claims, I have always dismissed out of hand. He was viciously anti-Catholic and his video on Mother Teresa was one of the worst pieces of stitch-up journalism I’ve ever encountered. He read malice into her every meeting with businessmen/politicians whom he considered “shady” … as if they’re not ALL shady (at least the politicians!) to a greater or lesser degree. “Shady”? Would YOU want to bump into Christopher Hitchens in a dark lane on a wet night (I mean when he was alive – I know none of us would want that experience now! You have to laugh…)

      But, certainly, Mother Teresa’s apparent effective denial of the central teaching “outside the Church, no salvation” and her reported refusal to carry out the most basic Christian duty to “go into the whole world baptising them…” – a command that came from the lips of Our Lord Himself just before He ascended into Heaven – is definitely cause for concern and should, alone, without any other evidence, prevent any canonisation taking place. If it does, as other fast-track canonisations have taken place, we’ll have to – as Athanasius observes – wait for the judgment of the Church at a future, more healthy time of faith. Amen to that!

  9. 3littleshepherds

    I understand where you are coming from. However, I think these modern canonisation processes just raise more questions than they answer, so don’t hold your breath waiting for clarification.

    Lily,

    Yes, sad to say I have never read anywhere that Mother Teresa sought to convert souls from their false religions. Some may say that the example of her religious life spoke more eloquently to those in darkness than words ever could. But that’s a seriously flawed argument. We are all obliged to preach Christ, and Him crucified, to non-believers when the occasion presents itself. In Mother Teresa’s case, I too have read that she not only did not encourage conversion, but actively confirmed souls in their false religions. I cannot, however, state that this information is accurate, much less authoritative. That’s why the Church, until recently, had a very strict and in-depth canonisation process lasting a long, long time.

    • And what’s the bet that that “long long time” (to investigate a candidate) will be re-instated when it’s my turn? Life is soooooooo unfair 😯

  10. 3littleshepherds

    Yes, I have read the same quotations attributed to Mother Teresa many times. If true, then we are certainly not talking about genuine canonisation material.

  11. I like Mother Teresa, it would be impossible not to be moved / impressed by what she accomplished for the less fortunate in her lifetime.

    I had been hitherto unaware of the trendy V2 platitudes attributed to her – a shame, but perhaps unsurprising given the era she lived in.

    A big irony of her idea of “converting” people to be a better , is that one reason her work was so much in demand and so succesful was of how callous Hinduism is toward the needy.

    My understanding is that they believe in karma, and so it is considered completely normally and acceptable (in Hindu eyes) to see people starving, or dying in the gutter. The assumption is that such people are paying off some debt they created in a former life, and so they must be left to suffer.

    Not even Vatican 2 waffle can put a positive spin on that. I am sure Francis would have a go, but he would fail.

    I especially liked Teresa for the effect she had on the likes of Christopher Hitchins. His attacks on her were partly a cheap way to drag himself up the ladder of fame, and partly anger caused by the non-comprehension of an alcoholic, narcissitic, atheist boor who could not fathom why someone would devote their life to the good of others (instead of to fame, money and the next drink).

    • A big irony of her idea of “converting” people to be a better…..

      Sorry I missed the end of that sentence (!) – “better adherent of a false religion” is what it should say!

  12. Seems Donal is also wrong. The approach of the Church seems now to resemble that of the MSM to celebs, a rush to canonisation, brooking no opposition.
    Sources do not matter. What matters is the veracity of the information. Something is either untrue or true even if you do not like it.

  13. I am saddened to read these comments about Mother Teresa.
    I personally knew Mother and the Missionaries of Charity. The sisters, brothers and Fathers are known for their orthodoxy, the quotes from Mother above are taken out of context and without knowledge of Mother,the society, she founded and their work.

    1. The MC’s never receive holy communion in the hand and it is very seldom that Mother or a Sister or a Brother would give out communion, only in the absence of a priest who could assist. There are over 400 sisters in the Mother House and it was often difficult for the priest to give communion to the Sisters, volunteers and the the public who came for Holy Mass. Mother was very clear that it was not the role of a sister or the brothers or the laity to take on the role of a Priest.

    2. In a modern world when it is often difficult to determine a nun or priest, the mc’s still wear a habit and have rules, each house is dedicated to Our Lady, the society still practices the religious rituals and penances (corporal and spiritual) long forgotten by many an order.

    3.The aim of the society is to satiate the Thirst of Jesus on the cross through the sanctification and salvation of souls through wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.

    4. The society is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, feast day 22 August, the members of the society go out in pairs and from the movement they leave the house they pray the rosary. They are a living rosary crusade. The little office is prayed every day and the mass in the extra-ordinary form prayed at least once a week in each convent.

    5. The society converts by actions and not by words, however, at each soup kitchen, hostel and home the gospel is read each day, prayers said and not without a chapel and daily mass. Mother openly preached her love of Christ and called families to pray the rosary.

    6. Mother loved to tell us about the 30,000 conversations in Calcutta alone – or tickets to St Peter as she called it.

    7. Mother was obedient- The Holy Father was her superior and she obeyed.

    8. Mother spoke fluently about the love of Jesus – you just have to read the speech she gave hen she received the Nobel peace prize. She did everything for the love of the Church. In every refectory in every house there is the pledge ‘ I will gave saints to Mother church’.

    It does not surprise me that you condemn her because she does not adhere to your skewed concept of a Traditional Religious. Because you saw a picture of her holding the ciborium in the Mother House – given permission by the local Bishop to assist the priest in giving Holy Communion to the faithful.

    The doubt that a person of great faith,love and charity could be a genuine Saint is abhorrent. It seems to me that you are happy to judge the actions of a great catholic woman, I hope that when you arrive at the gates of heaven you can say ‘I clothed you, I fed you, I washed you, I visited you’ when Christ asks you what you did to him.

  14. I am saddened to read these comments about Mother Teresa.
    I personally knew Mother and the Missionaries of Charity. The sisters, brothers and Fathers are known for their orthodoxy, the quotes from Mother above are taken out of context and without knowledge of Mother,the society, she founded and their work.

    1. The MC’s never receive holy communion in the hand and it is very seldom that Mother or a Sister or a Brother would give out communion, only in the absence of a priest who could assist. There are over 400 sisters in the Mother House and it was often difficult for the priest to give communion to the Sisters, volunteers and the the public who came for Holy Mass. Mother was very clear that it was not the role of a sister or the brothers or the laity to take on the role of a Priest.

    2. In a modern world when it is often difficult to determine a nun or priest, the mc’s still wear a habit and have rules, each house is dedicated to Our Lady, the society still practices the religious rituals and penances (corporal and spiritual) long forgotten by many an order.

    3.The aim of the society is to satiate the Thirst of Jesus on the cross through the sanctification and salvation of souls through wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.

    4. The society is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, feast day 22 August, the members of the society go out in pairs and from the movement they leave the house they pray the rosary. They are a living rosary crusade. The little office is prayed every day and the mass in the extra-ordinary form prayed at least once a week in each convent.

    5. The society converts by actions and not by words, however, at each soup kitchen, hostel and home the gospel is read each day, prayers said and not without a chapel and daily mass. Mother openly preached her love of Christ and called families to pray the rosary.

    6. Mother loved to tell us about the 30,000 conversations in Calcutta alone – or tickets to St Peter as she called it.

    7. Mother was obedient- The Holy Father was her superior and she obeyed.

    8. Mother spoke fluently about the love of Jesus – you just have to read the speech she gave hen she received the Nobel peace prize. She did everything for the love of the Church. In every refectory in every house there is the pledge ‘ I will gave saints to Mother church’.

    It does not surprise me that you condemn her because she does not adhere to your skewed concept of a Traditional Religious. Because you saw a picture of her holding the ciborium in the Mother House – given permission by the local Bishop to assist the priest in giving Holy Communion to the faithful.

    The doubt that a person of great faith,love and charity could be a genuine Saint is abhorrent. It seems to me that you are happy to judge the actions of a great catholic woman, I hope that when you arrive at the gates of heaven you can say ‘I clothed you, I fed you, I washed you, I visited you’ when Christ asks you what you did to him.

  15. Andrew,

    No one wants to believe that Mother Teresa was a saint more than we here on this blog, most of us anyway. The thing is we, like the old Church, don’t jump to conclusions as quickly as modern Churchmen, and apparently also you, do. There are many things to be weighed in a candidate’s case for canonisation and great prudence is required.

    Now, you say that Mother Teresa has been quoted out of context, presumably in regard to her statements about non-Catholics. Well, give us your evidence. Provide for us the correct context, by which I mean not so much your opinion but the concrete circumstances that alter her remarks and render them more in line with Traditional Church teaching on false relgions.

    You have put forward a convincing case thus far for Mother Teresa, with the exception of the handling of the Blessed Sacrament. So now it’s over to you again to inform us how we have quoted Mother Teresa out of context in relation to her declarations about false religions.

  16. Here are just two official quotes of Mother Teresa from the EWTN site, which is pretty trustworthy with quotes.

    “There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls – 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers…There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ”

    This opposes nearly 2000 years of Magisterial Catholic teaching on false religions.

    “You and I, we are the Church, no?”

    No, we are not the Church. We are members of the Church, which is a divine institution endowed with a preisthood and Sacraments for the salvation of souls. It is a great error to teach that “we are Church”. This is what the Protestants teach and believe of themselves.

  17. Athanasius,

    I have not jumped to conclusions at all, I love the church and I question also the large number of Saints and Blesseds created by St. John Paul II.

    I however do believe in the cult of the little nun from Calcutta, I knew her, I understood her motives and her love for the church as I am sure you do for Archbishop Lefevbre.

    Mother did not openly convert, she as I have said lead souls to Christ through her actions and many converted. I do believe that in her actions and work she preached the gospel, through the corporal work of mercy, love and charity to the most unloved and unwanted.

    Her fierce opposition to abortion, her constant witness to Christ and his holy Mother and the Church are testament (in my book) to her sanctity.
    I would urge you to read her letters, her witness to Jesus her spouse in the darkest hours are exemplary and could teach us all something about faith.

    I wonder sometimes what Archbishop Levbre would think of her? I am sure they would agree on everything, they were of the same good missionary fervour and formation of the pre Vatican II church.

    The postulator of her cause recently said”
    Since Mother Teresa’s aims in serving the poorest of the poor in India and elsewhere have been questioned recently, I would like to make the following clarifications.

    Mother Teresa offered tender, loving care to those most in need, the poorest of the poor, all over the world independently of their race, color, nationality, cast or creed.In each human being, she saw a child of God, created for greater things: to love and to be loved. Respecting this innate value and dignity of each person, she endeavored to bring this love where it was lacking, offering her humble service to whoever was in need, without considering their religious affiliation.

    Mother Teresa believed that conversion is a work of God and that faith is a gift. She respected every person, including atheists or agnostics, and respected the faith they had or even lacked. Here is a short testimony of someone who was closely associated with Mother Teresa for 23 years: “I am a Hindu and I never saw the slightest evidence in all my 23 years of knowing Mother Teresa in the Missionaries of Charity, of converting. …

    When I asked her whether she converted, she answered, ‘Yes, I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu, or a better Muslim, or a better Protestant, or a better Catholic, or a better Parsee, or a better Sikh, or a better Buddhist. And after you have found God, it is for you to do what God wants you to do.’ ” She wanted people to come closer to God (however they understood Him) and believed that in this way they would also come closer to each other, love one another, and ultimately create a world that is better for everyone to live in.

    The Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity state: “We shall not impose our Catholic Faith on anyone, but have profound respect for all religions, for it is never lawful for anyone to force others to embrace the Catholic Faith against their conscience.” This reflects the intention of Mother Teresa herself, and the Missionaries of Charity follow in her footsteps.”

    With regards to communion on the hand:

    egarding receiving Holy Communion, the Church states:
    “Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
    From the CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENT – INSTRUCTION Redemptionis Sacramentum; On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist)

    Mother Teresa would not have contradicted the Church. On the mode of receiving Holy Communion, she wrote to her sisters: “This is like the permission of the Bishops given some years ago for receiving Holy Communion in the hand. It is allowed, but not an order, … as M.C.s, we have chosen to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. If questioned about [it], do not enter into discussion – “let every spirit praise the Lord” – but let us pray that all be done for the greater glory of God and the good of the Church.”

    • Andrew

      With respect, you appear to have fallen for the Modernist misconception that sanctity consists in relieving the poor, the hungry and the destitute of their bodily ills.

      While this is certainly a most important act of charity, see the corporal works of mercy, the primary act of Catholic charity is to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth that their souls may be saved, called the spiritual works of mercy.

      Now there is no question that Mother Teresa practiced the corporal works of mercy to an eminent degree. But I’m afraid her life is very questionable when it comes to the more important spiritual works of mercy.

      The statements she made about false religions, regardless of how her followers try to dress them up, were not consistent with the infallible dogma ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ or with the Magisterial teaching of the Church on false religions.

      Here are some examples of that teaching:

      In his Encyclical Mirari Vos, Pope Gregory XVI writes: “Now we consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the Apostle that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. Let they should consider the testimony of Christ Himself who said “He that is not with me, is against me” (Luke 11:23), and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless the hold the Catholic faith whole and entire.”

      In his Syllabus of Errors, Pope Pius IX condemns and proscribes the following propositions:

      “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.”

      “Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation.”

      “Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ.”

      In Libertas Praestantissimum Leo XIII observes and warns against “…that liberty which is opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess, as he may choose, any religion or none…”

      These are just a few examples. I can quote many others if you so wish but clearly it is already impossible to defend Mother Teresa’s words in light of just these few Papal condemnations.

    • “The Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity state: “We shall not impose our Catholic Faith on anyone, but have profound respect for all religions, for it is never lawful for anyone to force others to embrace the Catholic Faith against their conscience.” This reflects the intention of Mother Teresa herself, and the Missionaries of Charity follow in her footsteps.”

      That’s unbelievable. The great missionary Orders who went abroad to spread the Faith, did so because they wanted to bring that great gift of God to those who didn’t have it. How is that “imposing” the Catholic Faith on anyone? None of the missionary Orders forced anyone to convert but they build hospitals and schools and so on, to take care of the temporal needs and through their example and catechising helped to convert souls (God does the actual converting, as we know). I’ve never heard of any missionary apart from Mother Teresa talk about encouraging non-Christians to stay in their religion and be better Hindus etc.

      I’m just stunned to read those words of Mother Teresa.

      • Lily,

        The error is not in the words “we shall not impose our Catholic Faith on anyone,” as this is forbidden by the Church. Rather, it lies in the next line, which speaks declares a “profound respect for all religions”.

        This is how Modernism corrupts the Faith, by making a true Catholic statement followed by an heretical one. Catholics who respect false religions profoundly disrespect the Author of Divine Truth, God Himself.

  18. I meant to say how can she and her Order be called “missionary” when they have that terrible statement in their Constitution?

  19. Lily, you have completely misunderstood the paragraph in the constitutions.
    Athanasius, we are going to have to agree to disagree on Mother Teresa. What you have done is now encourage me to go away and read Benedict XVI on the hermuentics of continuity.

    • Dilexitecclesiam,

      Well, would you explain that paragraph from the Constitution of the Missionaries of Charity please, because it seems self-explanatory to me.

      What, in your view, does it mean (and don’t gimme “it means nobody should be forced to convert) – that’s elementary. No missionary with the slightest grasp of the Faith would ever try to force anybody to convert. Ridiculous notion.

    • Anthony

      Don’t trouble yourself with that which is termed “hermenuetics of continuity,” it’s a fable. There is only Sacred Tradition versus Modernism with no bridge between the two. You will find this if you do read by looking for solid doctrinal evidence rather than theological polemic.

      I’m sorry you can’t see the obvious from the very pens of the pre-Vatican II Popes themselves. They are certainly my guide in this confusing crisis.

  20. I have nothing of note to contribute to this discussion; I too have read some very disturbing things about what Mother Teresa allegedly said and believed, as well as her wonderful work for the poor and dying. I will always remember her for her uncompromising stand for the unborn. I read that she visited a hospital for AIDS victims, and a dying young man in that terrible condition grasped her hand and asked her why didn’t God send someone who could find a cure, and she answered that He had, but that that person had been aborted.

  21. Therese

    We have to assume that Mother Teresa was of genuine good will. She was certainly a selfless servant of the poor, the needy and the dying, who personally acknowledged Our Lord as her Lord and had devotion to Our Lady.

    Sadly, she was in error in matters of faith and she spread that error around. Indeed, she even suggested that Archbishop lefebvre had “turned his back on Jesus” when he was forced to consecrate bishops to maintain the the Traditional priesthood, even though she acknowledged that she was theologically out of her depth in such matters. She was of the definite opinion that Popes can do no wrong, that they were somehow incapable of error, which history itself shows to be untrue. The case of Honorius I, for example, says all that needs saying on that front.

    So yes, she was, I believe, well intentioned and selfless, but theologically and doctrinally clueless. We commend her in hope to the mercy of God, for sure. But who with any true grasp of Catholic teaching would recommend her for canonisation?

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