A Word on Elitism

Anyone who has done reading on my blog knows that I warn against spiritual elitism. I have put up several articles regarding Mother Teresa following this post. I did not do it to trash an old woman. I did it because I believe that NONE of us are above reproach in any sense of the phrase. MT has been held in very high regard for a long period of time. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She has an impeccable reputation except by those who knew her best. The point I am making in presenting the articles that follow is to remind us again not to esteem any one person so highly. Many things she believed in and taught are not truly biblical. So we need to be careful of the pedestal we put people on.

Christianity is trashed because of our inability to remain focused on who’s who. No one died for us but Jesus Christ. He is the only one who is high and lifted up. He is the only way to God, not through works, but salvation alone. I truly hope this woman repented and is now with Jesus.

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Mother Teresa’s Letters

(CBS) link here

In life, Mother Teresa was an icon — for believers — of God’s work on Earth. Her ministry to the poor of Calcutta was a world-renowned symbol of religious compassion. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a rare interview in 1986, Mother Teresa told CBS News she had a calling, based on unquestioned faith.

“They are all children of God, loved and created by the same heart of God,” she said.

But now, it has emerged that Mother Teresa was so doubtful of her own faith that she feared being a hypocrite, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.

In a new book that compiles letters she wrote to friends, superiors and confessors, her doubts are obvious.

Shortly after beginning work in Calcutta’s slums, the spirit left Mother Teresa.

“Where is my faith?” she wrote. “Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness… If there be God — please forgive me.”

Eight years later, she was still looking to reclaim her lost faith.

“Such deep longing for God… Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal,” she said.

As her fame increased, her faith refused to return. Her smile, she said, was a mask.

“What do I labor for?” she asked in one letter. “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”

“These are letters that were kept in the archbishop’s house,” the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk told Phillips.

The letters were gathered by Rev. Kolodiejchuk, the priest who’s making the case to the Vatican for Mother Teresa’s proposed sainthood. He said her obvious spiritual torment actually helps her case.

“Now we have this new understanding, this new window into her interior life, and for me this seems to be the most heroic,” said Rev. Kolodiejchuk.

According to her letters, Mother Teresa died with her doubts. She had even stopped praying, she once said.

The church decided to keep her letters, even though one of her dying wishes was that they be destroyed. Perhaps now we know why.

Mother Teresa’s Legacy

Q/A from “The Berean Call” (October, 1996)

Question:
You have courageously exposed Mother Teresa’s love of all religions, her denial of the gospel, her statements that each person must believe in whatever “God” is in their mind, and her stated desire to help Hindus become better Hindus, Muslims become better Muslims, etc. Yet you say she deserves our respect for her works of charity. I have heard that even her charity is not all it seems to be. Do you have any information in this regard?

Answer:
Leaving her position as the principal of a famous high school that catered to students from wealthy families, Mother Teresa chose to live among the dregs of society and devoted herself to serving the poorest of the poor. That fact is commendable. She says, “I slept where I happened to be, on the ground, often in hovels infected by rats. I ate what the people I was serving ate….I had chosen that lifestyle in order to literally live out the Gospel….I gave my life completely to God….” (Renzo Allegri, “Mother Teresa: The Early Years,” New Covenant, August 1996, p 8).

There have been numerous reports by former workers in her clinics as well as by visiting medical doctors that the patients are not given proper medication and that the beds and furnishings and general conditions more closely resemble an extermination camp than a hospital or clinic. The reports, coming as they do from a variety of independent observers, seem beyond dispute. As one example, Mary London, a volunteer in Calcutta, wrote concerning Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying,

    My initial impression was of all the photographs and footage I’ve ever seen of Belsen [Nazi death camp] and places like that, because all the patients had shaved heads. No chairs anywhere, there were just these stretcher beds. They’re like First World War stretcher beds. There’s no garden, no yard even. No nothing. And I thought what is this? This is two rooms with fifty to sixty men in one, fifty to sixty women in another. They’re dying. They’re not being given a great deal of medical care. They’re not being given painkillers really beyond aspirin…for the sort of pain that goes with terminal cancer….(Christopher Hitchens, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice; Verso, London, NewYork, 1995, pp 39-40)

We are not indicting Mother Teresa with lack of compassion or with cruelty toward her patients. The problem is her Roman Catholic belief that personal suffering helps to earn one’s salvation. Many Catholic priests and nuns, to this day, wear hair undergarments, put stones in their shoes, flagellate themselves and otherwise try to merit heaven by suffering. Poverty and suffering are not simply endured but are sought and even created. Consider this example:

    [G]iven use of a three-storey convent with many large rooms…the sisters …removed the benches…pulled up all the carpeting in the rooms and hallways. They pushed thick matresses out the windows and removed all the sofas, chairs and curtains….People from the neighborhood stood on the sidewalk and watched in amazement. The beautifully constructed house was made to conform to a way of life intended to help the sisters become holy. Large sitting rooms were turned into dormitories where beds were crowded together….The heat remained off all winter in this exceedingly damp house. Several sisters got TB during the time I lived there. (Hitchens, p 45)

The heat was not left off for lack of funds. Mother Teresa has bank accounts with tens of millions of dollars on deposit, so she could afford proper heat, furnishings and food and certainly all the medical attention ever needed. Yet she does without all of these “luxuries,” enforces the same rule upon her “Sisters of Charity,” and deprives her patients of them as well. No doubt, just as she hopes to earn her way to heaven through her own deprivation and suffering, so Mother Teresa hopes to help her patients as well to reach heaven through the suffenng she imposes upon them. The morgue in Calcutta has this inscription on a wall: “I am leaving for heaven today.”

In Roman Catholicism, baptism is essential for salvation. It is known that Mother Teresa’s assistants secretly “baptize” patients by placing a damp cloth on fevered brows, under their breath saying the magic formula that allegedly erases original sin and gives entrance into the kingdom of God. Of course, the uncertain route leads through purgatory and additional suffering in its flames before the gates of heaven can be opened. As one investigative reporter has written concerning the operation in Calcutta,

    Bear in mind that MotherTeresa’s global income is more than enough to outfit several first-class clinics in Bengal. The decision not to do so, and indeed to run instead a haphazard and cranky institution…is a deliberate one. The point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection. Mother Teresa (who herself, it should be noted, has checked into some of the finest and costliest clinics and hospitals in the West during her bouts with heart trouble and old age) once gave this game away in a filmed interview. She described a person who was in the last agonies of cancer and suffering unbearable pain. With a smile, Mother Teresa told the camera what she told this terminal patient: ‘You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” (Hitchens, p 41 )

Many who have worked with Mother Teresa for years consider themselves fortunate to have escaped a cult. One of these, Susan Shields, having spent more than nine years as a Missionary of Charity in the Bronx, Rome and San Francisco, writes,

    I was able to keep my complaining conscience quiet because we had been taught that the Holy Spirit was guiding Mother. To doubt her was a sign that we were lacking in trust and, even worse, guilty of the sin of pride. I shelved my objections and hoped that one day I would understand the many things that seemed to be contradictions. (Hitchens, p 44)

Contradictions abound, not the least being her association with a number of unsavory persons with whom she has been photographed and from whom she has received large sums of money and to whom she has given her blessing and endorsement. There she was in 1981, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in a photo with Michele Duvalier, wife of the infamous dictator Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier. The occasion was Mother Teresa’s reception of the Haitian Legion d ‘honneur award. In return, she praised the wonderful treatment of the poor in Haiti, when actually they were enduring a living hell. The Duvaliers had to flee Haiti not long thereafter to save their wealth and their lives.

Then we have the photo taken with John-Roger, whom at that time almost everyone had already recognized as the most obvious of frauds, leader of the “Insight” cult known as “Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness” (MSIA). Ironically, the occasion was her acceptance of the “Integrity Award,” along with a check for $10,000, from this shameless charlatan who claimed to have a “spiritual consciousness” superior to that of Jesus Christ.

Consider one more example of the associations of this legendary woman who is almost certainly on her way to Roman Catholic sainthood and is already considered to be such by millions. The photo is with Charles Keating of Lincoln Savings and Loan, now in prison for having swindled hundreds of millions of dollars from simple folk. Keating, a staunch Roman Catholic whom Mother Teresa visited whenever in California, gave her more than a million dollars. She wrote to Judge Lance Ito requesting leniency for Keating during his trial. Here is an excerpt from the reply which Paul W. Burley, a deputy district attorney, wrote to Mother Teresa,

    I am writing to you to provide a brief explanation of the crimes of which Mr. Keating has been convicted, to give you an understanding of the source of the money that Mr. Keating gave to you, and to suggest that you perform the moral and ethical act of resuming the money to its rightful owners…. Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were…in possession of money that had been stolen….I submit that Jesus would promptly and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same. You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the “indulgence” he desires. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it! (Hitchens, pp 68-70)

That letter was written more than four years ago. To date, according to a letter I just received from now Assistant District Attorney Turley, he never received a reply from Mother Teresa, who has made no move to return those stolen funds.

India has no reason to be grateful to Mother Teresa

Posted May 13, 2010

Sanal Edamaruku
13 May , 2010
Mukto Mona
Source Link

“India, especially Calcutta, is seen as the main beneficiary of Mother Teresa’s legendary ‘good work’ for the poor that made her the most famous Catholic of our times, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a living saint. Evaluating what she has actually done here, I think, India has no reason to be grateful to her”, said Sanal Edamaruku, Secretary General of the Indian Rationalist Association and President of Rationalist International in a statement on the occasion of her beatification today. The statement continues:

Mother Teresa has given a bad name to Calcutta, painting the beautiful, interesting, lively and culturally rich Indian metropolis in the colors of dirt, misery, hopelessness and death. Styled into the big gutter, it became the famous backdrop for her very special charitable work. Her order is only one among more than 200 charitable organizations, which try to help the slum-dwellers of Calcutta to build a better future. It is locally not very visible or active. But tall claims like the absolutely baseless story of her slum school for 5000 children have brought enormous international publicity to her institutions. And enormous donations!

Mother Teresa has collected many, many millions (some say: billions) of Dollars in the name of India’s paupers (and many, many more in the name of paupers in the other “gutters” of the world). Where did all this money go? It is surely not used to improve the lot of those, for whom it was meant. The nuns would hand out some bowls of soup to them and offer shelter and care to some of the sick and suffering. The richest order in the world is not very generous, as it wants to teach them the charm of poverty. “The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering,” said Mother Teresa. Do we have to be grateful for this lecture of an eccentric billionaire?

The legend of her Homes for the Dying has moved the world to tears. Reality, however, is scandalous: In the overcrowded and primitive little homes, many patients have to share a bed with others. Though there are many suffering from tuberculosis, AIDS and other highly infectious illnesses, hygiene is no concern. The patients are treated with good words and insufficient (sometimes outdated) medicines, applied with old needles, washed in lukewarm water. One can hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers are even in hard cases not given. According to Mother Teresa’s bizarre philosophy, it is “the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ”. Once she tried to comfort a screaming sufferer: “You are suffering, that means Jesus is kissing you!” The man got furious and screamed back: “Then tell your Jesus to stop kissing.”

When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Price, she used the opportunity of her worldwide telecast speech in Oslo to declare abortion the greatest evil in the world and to launch a fiery call against population control. Her charitable work, she admitted, was only part of her big fight against abortion and population control. This fundamentalist position is a slap in the face of India and other Third World Countries, where population control is one of the main keys for development and progress and social transformation. Do we have to be grateful to Mother Teresa for leading this worldwide propagandist fight against us with the money she collected in our name?

Mother Teresa did not serve the poor in Calcutta, she served the rich in the West. She helped them to overcome their bad conscience by taking billions of Dollars from them. Some of her donors were dictators and criminals, who tried to white wash their dirty vests. Mother Teresa revered them for a price. Most of her supporters, however, were honest people with good intentions and a warm heart, who fall for the illusion that the “Saint of the Gutter” was there to wipe away all tears and end all misery and undo all injustice in the world. Those in love with an illusion often refuse to see reality.

Mother Teresa’s House of Illusions

Article taken from Moriel – here.

How She Harmed Her Helpers As Well As Those They ‘Helped’

by Susan Shields
The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine,  Volume 18, Number 1

Some years after I became a Catholic, I joined Mother Teresa’s congregation, the Missionaries of Charity. I was one of her sisters for nine and a half years, living in the Bronx, Rome, and San Francisco, until I became disillusioned and left in May 1989. As I reentered the world, I slowly began to unravel the tangle of lies in which I had lived. I wondered how I could have believed them for so long.

Three of Mother Teresa’s teachings that are fundamental to her religious congregation are all the more dangerous because they are believed so sincerely by her sisters. Most basic is the belief that as long as a sister obeys she is doing God’s will. Another is the belief that the sisters have leverage over God by choosing to suffer. Their suffering makes God very happy. He then dispenses more graces to humanity. The third is the belief that any attachment to human beings, even the poor being served, supposedly interferes with love of God and must be vigilantly avoided or immediately uprooted. The efforts to prevent any attachments cause continual chaos and confusion, movement and change in the congregation. Mother Teresa did not invent these beliefs – they were prevalent in religious congregations before Vatican II – but she did everything in her power (which was great) to enforce them.

Once a sister has accepted these fallacies she will do almost anything. She can allow her health to be destroyed, neglect those she vowed to serve, and switch off her feelings and independent thought. She can turn a blind eye to suffering, inform on her fellow sisters, tell lies with ease, and ignore public laws and regulations.

Women from many nations joined Mother Teresa in the expectation that they would help the poor and come closer to God themselves. When I left, there were more than 3,000 sisters in approximately 400 houses scattered throughout the world. Many of these sisters who trusted Mother Teresa to guide them have become broken people. In the face of overwhelming evidence, some of them have finally admitted that their trust has been betrayed, that God could not possibly be giving the orders they hear. It is difficult for them to decide to leave – their self-confidence has been destroyed, and they have no education beyond what they brought with them when they joined. I was one of the lucky ones who mustered enough courage to walk away.

It is in the hope that others may see the fallacy of this purported way to holiness that I tell a little of what I know. Although there are relatively few tempted to join Mother Teresa’s congregation of sisters, there are many who generously have supported her work because they do not realize how her twisted premises strangle efforts to alleviate misery. Unaware that most of the donations sit unused in her bank accounts, they too are deceived into thinking they are helping the poor.

As a Missionary of Charity, I was assigned to record donations and write the thank-you letters. The money arrived at a frantic rate. The mail carrier often delivered the letters in sacks. We wrote receipts for checks of $50,000 and more on a regular basis. Sometimes a donor would call up and ask if we had received his check, expecting us to remember it readily because it was so large. How could we say that we could not recall it because we had received so many that were even larger?

When Mother spoke publicly, she never asked for money, but she did encourage people to make sacrifices for the poor, to “give until it hurts.” Many people did – and they gave it to her. We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts.

The flood of donations was considered to be a sign of God’s approval of Mother Teresa’s congregation. We were told by our superiors that we received more gifts than other religious congregations because God was pleased with Mother, and because the Missionaries of Charity were the sisters who were faithful to the true spirit of religious life.

Most of the sisters had no idea how much money the congregation was amassing. After all, we were taught not to collect anything. One summer the sisters living on the outskirts of Rome were given more crates of tomatoes than they could distribute. None of their neighbors wanted them because the crop had been so prolific that year. The sisters decided to can the tomatoes rather than let them spoil, but when Mother found out what they had done she was very displeased. Storing things showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.

The donations rolled in and were deposited in the bank, but they had no effect on our ascetic lives and very little effect on the lives of the poor we were trying to help. We lived a simple life, bare of all superfluities. We had three sets of clothes, which we mended until the material was too rotten to patch anymore. We washed our own clothes by hand. The never-ending piles of sheets and towels from our night shelter for the homeless we washed by hand, too. Our bathing was accomplished with only one bucket of water. Dental and medical checkups were seen as an unnecessary luxury.

Mother was very concerned that we preserve our spirit of poverty. Spending money would destroy that poverty. She seemed obsessed with using only the simplest of means for our work. Was this in the best interests of the people we were trying to help, or were we in fact using them as a tool to advance our own “sanctity?” In Haiti, to keep the spirit of poverty, the sisters reused needles until they became blunt. Seeing the pain caused by the blunt needles, some of the volunteers offered to procure more needles, but the sisters refused.

We begged for food and supplies from local merchants as though we had no resources. On one of the rare occasions when we ran out of donated bread, we went begging at the local store. When our request was turned down, our superior decreed that the soup kitchen could do without bread for the day.

It was not only merchants who were offered a chance to be generous. Airlines were requested to fly sisters and air cargo free of charge. Hospitals and doctors were expected to absorb the costs of medical treatment for the sisters or to draw on funds designated for the religious. Workmen were encouraged to labor without payment or at reduced rates. We relied heavily on volunteers who worked long hours in our soup kitchens, shelters, and day camps.

A hard-working farmer devoted many of his waking hours to collecting and delivering food for our soup kitchens and shelters. “If I didn’t come, what would you eat?” he asked.

Our Constitution forbade us to beg for more than we needed, but, when it came to begging, the millions of dollars accumulating in the bank were treated as if they did not exist.

For years I had to write thousands of letters to donors, telling them that their entire gift would be used to bring God’s loving compassion to the poorest of the poor. I was able to keep my complaining conscience in check because we had been taught that the Holy Spirit was guiding Mother. To doubt her was a sign that we were lacking in trust and, even worse, guilty of the sin of pride. I shelved my objections and hoped that one day I would understand why Mother wanted to gather so much money, when she herself had taught us that even storing tomato sauce showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.


For nearly a decade, Susan Shields was a Missionaries of Charity sister. She played a key role in Mother Teresa’s organization until she resigned.