Tuesday, 6 September 2016

"YOU DO AS I SAY - OR.............."
Criticism of Mother Teresa


Criticism from the media.
An Indian-born physician and writer living in Britain, Aroup Chatterjee, who had briefly worked in one of Mother Teresa's homes, began investigations into the finances and other practices of Teresa's order. In 1994, two British journalists,Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ali, produced a critical British Channel 4 documentary, Hell's Angel, based on Chatterjee's work.
The next year, Hitchens published The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, a book that repeated many of the accusations in the documentary. Chatterjee himself published The Final Verdict in 2003, a less polemic work than those of Hitchens and Ali, but equally critical of Teresa's operations.
Support of Indira Gandhi
After Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's suspension of civil liberties in 1975, Mother Teresa said: "People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes." These approving comments were seen as a result of the friendship between Teresa and the Congress Party. Mother Teresa's comments were even criticised outside India within the Catholic media.[2]
Baptisms of the dying
Mother Teresa encouraged members of her order to secretly baptise dying patients, without regard to the individual's religion. Susan Shields, a former member of the Missionaries of Charity, writes that "Sisters were to ask each person in danger of death if he wanted a 'ticket to heaven'. An affirmative reply was to mean consent to baptism. The sister was then to pretend that she was just cooling the patient’s head with a wet cloth, while in fact she was baptising him, saying quietly the necessary words. Secrecy was important so that it would not come to be known that Mother Teresa’s sisters were baptising Hindus and Muslims."[3]
Critics such as Murray Kempton have argued that patients were not provided sufficient information to make an informed decision about whether they wanted to be baptised and the theological significance of a Christian baptism.[4] Simon Leys, defending the practice in a letter to the New York Review of Books, wrote: "Either you believe in the supernatural effect of this gesture – and then you should dearly wish for it. Or you do not believe in it, and the gesture is as innocent and well-meaningly innocuous as chasing a fly away with a wave of the hand."[5]
Questionable relationships
In 1981, Teresa flew to Haiti to accept the Legion d'Honneur from the right-wing dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, who years later, after his ousting, was found to have stolen millions of dollars from the impoverished country.[citation needed]
In The Missionary Position, Hitchens leveled criticism at what was perceived to be Mother Teresa's endorsement of the regime of Enver Hoxha in Socialist Albania. She had visited Albania in August 1989, where she was received by Hoxha's widow, NexhmijeForeign Minister Reis Malile, Minister of Health, Ahmet Kamberi, the Chairman of the People's Assembly Petro Dode, and other state and party officials. She subsequently laid a bouquet on Hoxha's grave, and placed a wreath on the statue of Mother Albania.[6] However, her supporters[who?] defended such associations, saying she had to deal with political realities of the time in order to lobby for her causes.[citation needed]
She accepted money from the British publisher Robert Maxwell, who, as was later revealed, embezzled UK£450 million from his employees' pension funds. There is no suggestion that she was aware of any theft before accepting the donation in either case. Criticism does focus on Teresa's plea for leniency in the Charles Keating case, where Keating was charged with fraud following high-profile business failures. Keating donated millions of dollars to Mother Teresa and lent her his private jet when she visited the United States. She refused to return the money, and praised Keating repeatedly.[7]
She supported Licio Gelli's nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature.[8] Gelli is known for being the head of the Propaganda Due masonic lodge, which was implicated in various murders and high-profile corruption cases in Italy, as well as having close connections with the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement and the Argentine Military Junta.
Motivation of charitable activities
Chatterjee stated that the public image of Mother Teresa as a "helper of the poor" was misleading, and that only a few hundred people are served by even the largest of the homes. In 1998, among the 200 charitable assistance organisations reported to operate in Calcutta, Missionaries of Charity was not ranked among the largest charity organisations–with the Assembly of God charity notably serving a greater number of the poor at 18,000 meals daily.[9]
Chatterjee alleged that many operations of the order engage in no charitable activity at all but instead use their funds for missionary work. He stated, for example, that none of the eight facilities that the Missionaries of Charity run in Papua New Guinea have any residents in them, being purely for the purpose of converting local people to Catholicism.
She was sometimes accused by Hindus in her adopted country of trying to convert the poor to Catholicism by "stealth".[10] Christopher Hitchens described Mother Teresa's organisation as a cult that promoted suffering and did not help those in need. He said that Mother Teresa's own words on poverty proved that her intention was not to help people, quoting her words at a 1981 press conference in which she was asked: "Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?" She replied: "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."[6]
Quality of medical care
In 1991, Robin Fox, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet visited the Home for Dying Destitutes in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and described the medical care the patients received as "haphazard".[11] He observed that sisters and volunteers, some of whom had no medical knowledge, had to make decisions about patient care, because of the lack of doctors in the hospice. Fox specifically held Teresa responsible for conditions in this home, and observed that her order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, so that people who could otherwise survive would be at risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment.
Fox conceded that the regimen he observed included cleanliness, the tending of wounds and sores, and kindness, but he noted that the sisters' approach to managing pain was "disturbingly lacking". The formulary at the facility Fox visited lacked strong analgesics which he felt clearly separated Mother Teresa's approach from the hospice movement. Fox also wrote that needles were rinsed with warm water, which left them inadequately sterilised, and the facility did not isolate patients with tuberculosis. There have been a series of other reports documenting inattention to medical care in the order's facilities. Similar points of view have also been expressed by some former volunteers who worked for Teresa's order. Mother Teresa herself referred to the facilities as "Houses of the Dying".
In 2013, in a comprehensive review[12] covering 96% of the literature on Mother Teresa, a group of Université de Montréal academics reinforced the foregoing criticism, detailing, among other issues, the missionary's practice of "caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, … 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".[13] Questioning the Vatican's motivations for ignoring the mass of criticism, the study concluded that Mother Teresa's "hallowed image—which does not stand up to analysis of the facts—was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign"[13] engineered by the Catholic convert and anti-abortion BBC journalist Malcolm Muggeridge.
As an image of colonialism and racism
In an essay in the collection White Women in Racialized Spaces, historian Vijay Prashad said of Mother Teresa:
Mother Teresa is the quintessential image of the white woman in the colonies, working to save the dark bodies from their own temptations and failures. [...] The Euro-American-dominated international media continue to harbor the colonial notion that white peoples are somehow especially endowed with the capacity to create social change. When nonwhite people labor in this direction, the media typically search for white benefactors or teachers, or else, for white people who stand in the wings to direct the nonwhite actors. Dark bodies cannot act of their own volition to stretch their own capacity, for they must wait, the media seem to imply, for some colonial administrator, some technocrat from IBM or the IMF to tell them how to do things. When it comes to saving the poor, the dark bodies are again invisible, for the media seem to celebrate only the worn out platitudes of such as Mother Teresa and ignore the struggles of those bodies for their own liberation. To open the life of someone like Mother Teresa to scrutiny, therefore, is always difficult. [...] Mother Teresa's work was part of a global enterprise for the alleviation of bourgeois guilt, rather than a genuine challenge to those forces that produce and maintain poverty.[14]
Posthumous criticisms
Mother Teresa died in 1997. Despite her request that all writing and correspondence be destroyed, a collection was posthumously released to the public in book form.[15][page needed] Her writings revealed that she struggled with feelings of disconnectedness,[16] that were in contrast to the strong feelings she had experienced as a young novice.[17] In her letters Mother Teresa describes a decades long sense of feeling disconnected from God[18] and lacking the earlier zeal that had characterized her efforts to start the Missionaries of Charity. As a result of this, she was judged by some to have "ceased to believe" and was posthumously criticized for hypocrisy.[19][20]
The Showtime program Penn & Teller: Bullshit! has an episode titled "Holier than Thou" that was released in 2005, which criticises Mother Teresa, as well as Mahatma Gandhi and the 14th Dalai Lama. The show criticises Mother Teresa's relationships with Charles Keating and the Duvalier family, as well as the quality of medical care in her home for the dying. Christopher Hitchens appears on, and narrates, some of the episode.[21]

A correspondent writes:
"In October 2012 Connolly commenced a part-time evening course at Maynooth University to learn GERMAN. On the first night he joked with the other students that the reason he was learning GERMAN was so he could impress the German Pope. sadly for Connolly, Benedict resigned four months later".

PAT SAYS: I hope he makes more sense in German than he does in English! 

We also know that GRINDR is very present in the Maynooth German Department.

We still do not really know what Diarmuid Martin thinks about Deacon Michael Jack Gorgeous Byrne or whether or not he has sent him to Rome already
Gorgeous posing in DM's Pro Cathedral

Some say he is already in Rome? If he is that is a very strange move on DM's part after the blizzard of publicity about Gorgeous.

The big question now is - - will DM ordain him a priest in 9 months time?

Many of this Blog's readers are now seriously wondering about DM and asking if he is compromised in some way or is his judgement suspect or even if he is over friendly on the question of sexually active gay seminarians and priests.


Christopher Hitchens
MT [Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”
― Christopher Hitchens


The Pulley

Related Poem Content Details

When God at first made man, 
Having a glass of blessings standing by, 
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can. 
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie, 
Contract into a span.” 

So strength first made a way; 
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure. 
When almost all was out, God made a stay, 
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure, 
Rest in the bottom lay. 

“For if I should,” said he, 
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature, 
He would adore my gifts instead of me, 
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature; 
So both should losers be. 

“Yet let him keep the rest, 
But keep them with repining restlessness; 
Let him be rich and weary, that at least, 
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness 
May toss him to my breast.” 


  1. Just to add something to the Mother Teresa debate. The worst thing she ever did was to hoard up millions while her nuns were forced to use the same syringe over and over again on the patients. I have googled and there is no refutation of that at all. We need hard evidence to refute such a terrible deed. The excuse that they were doing all they could do under the circumstances is just an excuse. There is no excuse for spreading disease that way. The believers are blinded by faith. Real faith in God should be based on reality and determination to get rid of bias. Any faith that does not care enough about truth is an idol. As Bonhoeffer said we need to be careful that our religious faith in God does not become an idol. The fundamental problem with idolatry is that it cuts you off the real God if there is one. When a saintly person shows terrible serious flaws you can be sure the God they are a saint for is the one they have created in their heads. Jesus made that very point about the Pharisees.

    It is startling how people on this blog are dismissing Colette Livermore a good woman without reading her book. That is bias pure and simple. As for calling her disgruntled and dishonest that is a biased judgement. Did they walk in her shoes? As for Christopher Hitchens, though he was correct, he should have been a little more methodical in his refutation of Mother Teresa's humanitarianism. But the argument does not depend on Hitchens - there are many testimonies and investigations that support his thesis and those are carried out by people more qualified than those armchair religionists who despise the findings and want them forgotten.

  2. Maybe we should focus more on attacking the Maynooth gang, rather than St Teresa... Just a thought

    1. A good thought.

      But maybe we should seek the truth about ALL places, people and situations?

      We are all Searchers after Truth?

    2. I understand your point. But corruption in Maynooth is not just about corruption in Maynooth. No corruption exists in a bubble. It is a subdivision of bigger corruption. And the problem is not so much Mother Teresa as is the Church not caring about the truth and the media as well are to blame for undeserved popularity though largely the media consensus is now negative towards her or at least questioning. Even if (hypothetically) we are being hard on her, nobody can be validly canonised when the issues are not properly dealt with. The Church will never release its findings about her. The research done into saints to be is kept secret. If those people are all truly holy why would it all need to be completely confidential? And we are still waiting for the canonisation of St Joseph Calasanz to be reversed and apologised for. We will have an eternal wait. He was made the patron saint of all the Catholic schools in the world by Pope Pius XII and praised by John Paul II but he covered up clerical child-abuse in the teaching order of priests he founded. The saint was canonised by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. The book, Fallen Order, by Karen Liebriech, was written when the author researched archives including those of the Inquisition and discovered how this monster fostered institutionalised child-abuse in his schools by protecting the offenders.

    3. Mourne Man Michael6 September 2016 at 18:19

      Never heard of this St Joseph C fellow so can't comment on him. But think your earlier points relating to Mother T. excellent and very relevant. If the facts about Joseph C are as you say, then this and canonisation of T goes to show the institutionalised self serving malaise  in the RC hierarchy.

    4. 13:03, I used to admire English saint Thomas More...until I discovered he was a multiple murderer. Under his Lord Chancellorship of England, he had two or three people burned alive for heresy, after having them physically and psychologically tortured.

      Paul the Apostle was a multiple murderer, too...but he repented. More, as far as I know, did not. And yet he was canonised by the Catholic Church. The mind boggles.

  3. Yes, truth has to be sought everywhere, but there is a time for every situation and NOW is the time for Maynooth
    If the pressure is not put on NOW, nothing will ever be done. fact
    Just as for years the countless scandals were ignored and forgotten about because of the it'll-die-down-after-a-few-weeks mentality that prevails there
    They need to know that this is the last straw
    They are on the ropes so they can't be given any time to recuperate and get away as they have always done before
    Let's keep the pressure on and not get sidetracked

  4. I fully support your efforts towards reform and accountability in the Church but this post reveals your personal bias and prejudices. The critics of Mother Teresa have been answered many times. There is a fair and objective assessment in today's Irish Times which you of course ignore.

  5. Can we leave off poor Mother Teresa and get back on track please: the Maynooth track!

    1. 'Poor Mother Teresa'? 'Poor'? You are freakin' kidding us, aren't you? Have you ANY idea how much that 'poor' servant of Christ was worth?

  6. This blog will loose it's credibility if it begins to attack saints rather than the demons in charge of Maynooth.

  7. I agree with 17:45. Lets go after Maynooth and the Bishops. Lots of questions to be answered. Keep up the great work and blog Pat.

  8. I think that it can be agreed that the reason for the boom in this blog's popularity is from its exposure of the 'going ons' in Maynooth. This is important because for whistleblowers to get media time is unheard of, so I've been a fan since the story broke, however I've read plenty of attacks on Mother Teresa for years, nothing new there. She is gone to God now and she has been judged and rewarded accordingly. But the Maynooth shower have been escaping judgement and 'just rewards' for decades. I think for the sake of justice and reader interest, the target should remain aimed at them. Imagine how incredible it would be to have Maynooth reformed and have a holy staff in place there to produce real Priests. I think this blog could be the most instrumental way to bring this about, but only if secondary stories are put aside for now and the scope remain on Maynooth until resignations/replacements occur (look at the Bishops conference recently! that would have never occurred without this blog. We can't stop there though, as it's not enough)

  9. Pat, I agree with all the above comments. You need to keep up the pressure on Gaynooth and the gangsters in charge there. After years of lies, obfuscation and deception, the national seminary is finally receiving proper attention as the primary source of the the rotteness of the diocesan priesthood.

    Don't let them of the ropes now Pat. It's time to deliver the knockout punch and get that place cleaned up or shut down once and for all.

  10. Can you not text Deacon Byrne and ask where he is? he's obliged to tell you as hes now a public figure - ordained and receiving a salary no doubt in addition to having free accomodation and tuition fees paid in full.

    Will you be revealing the details of the text conversation you had with him. did he deny or confirm any details. will he be making a statement? how is he generally?

    1. How is he? You mean you care?!

  11. Pat,
    maybe you could do a story on ex-priests and mental health. Pope Francis talked about the vinegar faces in the Church too and there are a lot of them. It would be interesting to hear a positive story on your blog rather that negative. The good news stories. how are people making the world a better place for those around them.

    I would be interested to hear why you wanted to become a priest? I would want to hear about the saints that inspired you? It would be good if we could hear what is at the heart of all those men and women who sacrifice and suffer for God. The Saint of Calcutta has challenged us to think about how we respond to our own Calcuttas and i would love to hear how you think we as people could respond to poverty in Larne or reach out to the migrant community.

    if it is a popular blog and not just the readership of the Sun newspaper or daily mail or independent. give us a story thats different from the tabloid arena. lets make it educated and interesting.

    how could we help those priests that are struggling....could we pray? tell them we are concerned? fast? i think that all those women and men who give up their life for Jesus are trying to live a counter-cultural life.

    i would love to hear solutions instead of problems
    i would love to hear prayers instead of curses
    i would love positivity instead of negativity
    i would love to feel the presence of Jesus instead of the evil one!
    i would love the priests, religious who read this to know they are valued and loved and not scorned and hated
    i would love to hear peace instead of war
    i would love to hear hope instead of darkness

    Pat, you have a platform and with it comes responsibility. you remind me of a Jamie Bryson of the Church.

    blessed are those who thirst for justice they will have their fill...


  12. Ok, this is lengthy, but bear with me, as it needs to be said in reply to Colette Livermore’s attack on Mother Teresa. While I do not doubt that she is trying to do good, I think her views on religion are skewed, and that they can shed light on Maynooth.

    First, from her book, I was struck by the fact that Colette seemed to completely lack a supernatural dimension in her vocation, a burning personal love for Christ which is the only force capable of enabling someone to lead such an heroic life.

    A religious vocation is not social work, it is not about a natural solution to the ills of this world -- such a vocation is two-fold -- without that deeply personal, ardent love for Christ, the thirst to be co-identified with Him -- which is a gift -- one cannot endure 1) the purifications which are necessary to prepare us for the beatific vision, and which one receives in abundance in religious life, nor 2) the mystery of suffering, which an all-loving God permits for reasons that truly spiritual persons understand, accept and embrace.

    Rather, she seems to approach the vocation and the problems from a total natural perspective. She never transcends -- although she did go through the motions with admirable generosity and self-giving -- it is completely horizontal.

    Where is the supernatural vision and love which renders all that suffering luminous and precious; where is the burning love for Christ -- a gift of grace -- which informs such a life and makes it possible to transcend all the difficulties with which she was faced, and yet to which the author never appears to have brought a supernatural perspective.

    Human thought and human purpose are not sufficient, nor powerful enough, nor efficacious enough to sustain someone in such a demanding vocation. The author seemed never to have been endowed with the spiritual "equipment" and impetus necessary to get past the human expectations with which she entered this life. And herein lies the cause of her ultimate disillusionment.

    Yet only those penetrated by grace and a deeply personal experience of God know what that is all about.

    I pray that Ms. Livermore's book does not unjustly scandalise people. We cannot even count the nigh-infinite number of heroic acts of Mother Teresa and her sisters and the total immolation of such a life. So what -- they are not machines, they can experience weaknesses. But love is proved in the will. How many of us would so willingly live a life of such total poverty amongst the poor in order to bathe, feed, clothe and share their deprivations? This book is truly guilty of pointing at the mote in one's brother's eye.

    Also, Ms. Livermore shows herself to be very compassionate for the physical sufferings and weakness she witnessed in those to whom the MCs ministered. Were not her sisters and St Teresa worthy of compassion also? Where is her tender love and compassion for the wounds of human weakness in these dear souls who have given everything, and who also suffer much for having done so? Who among us could endure so much deprivation while serving and not "lose it" sometimes?

    part 2 to follow

  13. part 2

    Where is her compassion for her sisters' illnesses of heart and mind when they find it difficult to be patient under trying circumstances? Further, there are many possible reasons why their "faults" could have been prompted by a zeal for generosity and self-immolation known to God alone in their hearts. What might have appeared to be a fault, could have been easily vindicated by a good intention to safeguard the regularity of life which is necessary to keep the Sisters from losing the equilibrium which makes it possible to continue in such a difficult life year-after-year-after-year.

    Even Ms. Livermore confessed after leaving and ministering to the poor as a doctor that she had failed to find a way to insulate herself from burnout and snapped at someone who came for help. That precisely is the reason that the MCs have a Rule of Life -- to protect them from the "burnout" that would render them altogether useless and incapable of continuing.

    Mother Teresa and the Sisters too ought to have been the object of Ms. Livermore's compassion. It is an injustice to publicise the mote in their eye, when she would have done better to enumerate and sing the praises of the countless hidden acts of heroism these dear sisters perform each and every day, year after year, and which must far outweigh their human weaknesses in the eyes of God.

    Finally, I think we can find her worldview analogous to Maynooth: a now spiritually void institution which seeks to produce nice social workers, but that will NEVER work. Not only will they not be nice, they will not work (i.e. they'll either be living double lives or go on 'sabbaticals', that is, leave the Priesthood eventually). Priests/Seminarians need to first love and want to imitate Jesus, then they will find the will and drive to help the people. Not vice versa; if inverted, the only thing found instead will be vice. The spiritual dimension of people cannot be ignored, or it will stagnate and - especially in the case of Maynooth – rot. The staff should not try to ignore God and His demands for Priests or we will only find more and more scandals. It is up to the Bishops to place God-centered Priests in charge of the Seminary – Priests like Fr Marsden, who know that simply being a social worker will drain and burnout people, whereas the source of energy and refreshing rest which is needed to live to the demands of pastoral life only comes from an animated spiritual life aligned to Jesus'.
    Maynooth and the Bishops ignore this at their own peril

    1. Thank you --- poster at 21.55 6th Sept --- that really needed to be said. Thank you for your wisdom and mature balance and truth.

  14. D & C Changes just out....very interesting!

    1. If the D&C changes are out, you must be the only one who has heard them - or else I am the only one who hasn't heard of them!

    2. Where can I find the down and conor changes? I hope our priest isn't being moved.

  15. Pat,
    I agree with the previous contributors. Keep at Maynooth and the bishops lack of affirmative action.
    Stay away from MT for the present. She's a distraction.
    The Spin Doctor

    1. A distraction? Bollocks! She epitomoses the institutional Catholic Church and everything wrong therein.

    2. A good response to the vicious attacks on St Mother Teresa can be found at this link.

      In the interests of fairness and balance, please provide the link:


  16. Interesting Bob Geldof in his autobiography "Is that it " pays a warm tribute to Mother Teresa. He met her in the 1980s in Ethiopia during the terrible famine which he did so much to highlight. He described her as a "saint in the real sense of the term" because of the work he witnessed. Now Bob does not normally confer too much praise on traditional Catholicism but he certainly admired Mother Teresa. Like so much else the truth often lies in between. She may have been rigid and made mistakes but she was not I believe the monster that some of her critics allege.