Re: Mother Teresa

From: Dan Fabulich (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 14:43:33 MDT

So, this interested me enough that I decided to do a little web
research. Not much; I'm no expert.

First off, I was struck by the claim that she didn't actually do
anything for those likely to survive her treatment. While I was aware
of the fact that she administered to the dying, I was also given to
understand that she would feed the hungry, cure the sick, etc.

Many of her critics have asserted that her only goal was to give
Catholics a good Catholic death... I've yet to see this clearly
stated by her. Every quote of hers that I find talks about feeding
the hungry and "taking care" of the sick. However, I did see this on a
pro-Theresa site:

"Mother Teresa founded here [India] the Kalighat Home for the Dying,
which she named Nirmal Hriday (meaning "Pure Heart"). She and her
fellow nuns gathered dying Indians off the streets of Calcutta and
brought them to this home to care for them during the days before they
died. ...

Ever since then, thousands of men, women and children (more that
42,000) have been taken from the streets of Calcutta and transported
to Nirmal Hriday. Approximately 19,000 of those have had the
opportunity to die in an environment of kindness and love. In their
last hours they met human and Divine Love, and could feel that they
also were children of God. For those who didn't die, the Missionaries
of Charity tried to find jobs or they were sent to homes where they
could live happily some more years in a caring home."

So, out of the tens of thousands of people treated by her order, about
half of those have died. I'd say that this is pretty hit-and-miss for
somebody whose sole purpose is to give people a good Catholic death.

Better to say, as another critic of hers, Christopher Hitchens, says:
"Very rightly is it said that she tends to the dying, because if you
were doing anything but dying she hasn't really got much to offer."

Her order was definitely not geared to provide expert medical help for
those who needed it. It also was obviously not geared to help the
poorest in any one location. When Mother Theresa received donations,
they did not go towards improving the quality of care in any of her
existing facilities, but instead went towards opening up more
facilities. All of these facilities were thereby far less effective
than they otherwise could have been.

Of course, some of what you assert (esp. your suggestion that she had
Munchausen by Proxy) cannot be defended at all. In addition, much of
your cricicism of her relies on the assumption that Catholicism is
wrong. While I happen to agree with you in this, I don't normally
regard people who act upon Catholicism as "evil" unless they start
violating people's negative rights. You may think that supporting the
Duvalier family is sufficient, but I don't.

Wrong, perhaps, but not evil.


      -unless you love someone-
    -nothing else makes any sense-
           e.e. cummings

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