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Author Topic: Mother Theresa  (Read 969 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Mother Theresa
« on: September 04, 2016, 03:24:18 PM »
Mother Theresa of Calcutta has been declared as a saint today.

I wonder: what's the opinion on her in your countries? Back here, there seem to be two opinions: one that considers her an impeccably saintly person and another that says that she was some kind of fundamentalist who practically tortured people she was supposedly taking care of...

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2016, 05:25:22 PM »

I thought this article on the topic was rather interesting:

Indian rationalists call Mother Teresa's miracle hocus-pocus
https://mukto-mona.com/Articles/mother_teresa/prabir_news.htm

Quote
and another that says that she was some kind of fundamentalist who practically tortured people she was supposedly taking care of...

I'd be interested in hearing a little more about how she "tortured" people? That's new to me.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2016, 05:41:46 PM »
Sweden isn't a Roman catholic country or even a very religious country, but she's generally been held in high regard by the media here and by many doctors and human rights activists. I know she had some fairly conservative ideas (about contraception and so on?) but she does come across as a great example of commitment, love and courage in taking on the distress of run-down and sick people.

I'm not really concerned with whether there are creditable miracles linked to her after her passing. That's crucial to declaration of her as a saint, but surely the real weight of her sainthood lies in what she achieved in Calcutta in her lifetime.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 05:42:49 PM by gaggedLouise »

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2016, 09:38:36 PM »
I thought this article on the topic was rather interesting:

Indian rationalists call Mother Teresa's miracle hocus-pocus
https://mukto-mona.com/Articles/mother_teresa/prabir_news.htm

I'd be interested in hearing a little more about how she "tortured" people? That's new to me.

By the mere factor of trying to make Mother Teresa evil they fail the argument :P

As for those people, I don't see them going to third world countries and helping people with their own hands. :P
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 09:43:48 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Mathim

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2016, 10:01:49 PM »
I thought this article on the topic was rather interesting:

Indian rationalists call Mother Teresa's miracle hocus-pocus
https://mukto-mona.com/Articles/mother_teresa/prabir_news.htm

I'd be interested in hearing a little more about how she "tortured" people? That's new to me.

Read Christopher Hitchens' book about her. You'll question whether or not she actually did anything useful at all in her entire life.

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2016, 10:07:37 PM »
Guess we can't have nice things :P.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2016, 12:43:09 AM »
I'd be interested in hearing a little more about how she "tortured" people? That's new to me.

I've read some accusations that she actually don't give all the available treatment to the patients under her care, as she was "glorifying the suffering".

I've also seen some accusations of financial fraud mentioned...

Not saying any of it is true. Just asking. It's hard to get impartial opinions back here...

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2016, 01:31:13 AM »
I've read some accusations that she actually don't give all the available treatment to the patients under her care, as she was "glorifying the suffering".

I've also seen some accusations of financial fraud mentioned...

Not saying any of it is true. Just asking. It's hard to get impartial opinions back here...

I figure that if one is running a non-profit, volunteering (kind of) network to help severely ill people and orphans in cities that are hursting with poor and badly ill people, orphans and social outcasts, then it's hard not to come up against questions like: are we going to concentrate on helping a very limited number and giving them the best care there is, or should we aim to reach a much larger number of people and make sure they are kept in somewhat tolerable conditions and given a chance to go on in life (or to die in peace)? Her efforts received very little state funding in India for many years - I don't know to what extent she got such funding later on - and the challenge was a huge one, so some of the criticism could be unfair because her hospices and hospitals were being compared with much more solidly funded hospitals and care homes, catering to people who were considerably better off. Just  my thoughts.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2016, 07:16:48 AM »
The criticism I've heard (which may be based on the Hitchens' book) was that even when she was receiving a lot of funding, she was choosing to use these funds to build houses for her convent or for her personal medical treatments, than for the people under her care. Supposedly, she was withholding basic painkillers for some of these people, as she was "offering their suffering to God" and so on...

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2016, 07:30:24 AM »
Would love to know more about that, but Hitchens (if indeed he is the key source) had a reputation for being a hit-or-miss polemicist. A brilliant writer and often very fun or angry and engaging, but not always very accurate...

Offline Humble Scribe

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2016, 10:00:14 AM »
He might exaggerate for sake of effect, but I'm not aware of an instance of him getting his facts wrong. In any case, he wasn't responsible for the primary research here, he was repeating things that other authoritative sources had produced. In the case of the deliberate suffering, there seem to be two main damning reports, the first from the Editor of The Lancet in 1991 (this is a widely respected, peer reviewed UK medical journal) - he had visited her missions personally and questioned the way that the care was being given; and the second from the Universities of Montreal/Ottawa in the Canadian journal Studies In Religion in 2013. The latter reviewed 500 separate reports and documents on Mother Teresa and was published as "The Dark Side of Mother Teresa". When I was growing up the general opinion was that she was an unquestioned force for good, but then, people used to say that about Jimmy Savile as well... I think at the very least she was a questionable individual who was good at turning the media story her way. Hitch may have been a polemicist who liked being controversial, but that doesn't make him wrong.

Personally I think the whole concept of sainthood is a ridiculous medieval holdover, which the Vatican uses as a political tool, but hey.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 10:05:12 AM by Humble Scribe »

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2016, 10:18:20 AM »
I am just happy for another female saint.

As for the controversy. Im gonna go 50/50 there. Maybe she did do fucked up things, but she certainly did help people too so...in that respect its like any other charity. :P

Online Blythe

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2016, 11:36:18 AM »
From what I remember about the controversy about Mother Teresa--she didn't distinguish curable and incurable illnesses (which is kind of important when tending the sick), there wasn't anything in the way of managing patients' pain, and she grouped people with tuberculosis (high contagious) in with people who didn't have it. Also heard there was some controversy with her trying to baptize people without their consent (baptizing Hindus and Muslims without their permission, for example).

I don't have a source on that; that's just what I recall off the top of my head as some of the controversies levied at her. I'm not sure how truthful they are, either.

(No real opinion on her becoming a saint other than some surprise that it actually happened; doesn't it usually take longer for that?)

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2016, 11:52:01 AM »
 “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Too many base success on the grand gesture and not on the everyday work that is done to alleviate suffering and disease.  A good person is often seen as an affront and criticism is used to belittle and debase them.  To her credit the opinions of others, whether good or ill, did not influence her reaction to the need she saw and the work she did.   

Mother Teresa dedicated her life to service and to the love of those she served.  She didn't look for love for herself or praise for the work she did.  She knew the world would be capable of hate for her, for her life, for her sacrifices, yet she endured and gave all she had to give.  How wonderful this world would be if we could give even a small percentage of what she gave as selflessly as she did.

Offline Humble Scribe

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2016, 02:44:36 PM »
(No real opinion on her becoming a saint other than some surprise that it actually happened; doesn't it usually take longer for that?)

She was fast-tracked. The church suspended its normal "investigation" rules into whether miracles are actually attributable to her because she was popular. They did the same with Pope John Paul II. Since miracles are bullshit, I don't much care about that one way or the other.

Too many base success on the grand gesture and not on the everyday work that is done to alleviate suffering and disease. 

Maybe. But denying people painkillers because you believe in the dignity of suffering is fucked up whichever way you want to slice it, and denying that aspect of her is to wilfully fail to see things in the whole.

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2016, 02:48:23 PM »
Maybe. But denying people painkillers because you believe in the dignity of suffering is fucked up whichever way you want to slice it, and denying that aspect of her is to wilfully fail to see things in the whole.

I'm not sure where you are getting that or if the source is even legitimate. 

Online Missy

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2016, 03:12:43 PM »
I might point out that religions also aren't known for being particularly objective.

Irregardless it makes little difference, it's just who religious people want to be their heroes or not and the rest of us just have to let be on the news or ignore it if it doesn't bear any pertinence to us.

Like all things it is what it is whatever it really is or is not.

Offline Humble Scribe

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2016, 03:14:23 PM »
I'm not sure where you are getting that or if the source is even legitimate. 

This article has most of the links, including to the Lancet piece I mentioned.

This is the Canadian study, unfortunately in French, but I understand it to be pretty thorough.

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2016, 03:16:42 PM »
Oh.  Those.  I see where your information came from and now I understand.

Online Gadifriald

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2016, 03:37:29 PM »
This article has most of the links, including to the Lancet piece I mentioned.

This is the Canadian study, unfortunately in French, but I understand it to be pretty thorough.
I did not go link clinking much, however, that Salon article by its very tone and the clear opinions of the author was a piece biased toward Mother Theresa, religion and pretty much the whole Western World!

Offline Humble Scribe

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2016, 04:02:11 PM »
I did not go link clinking much, however, that Salon article by its very tone and the clear opinions of the author was a piece biased toward Mother Theresa, religion and pretty much the whole Western World!

"I didn't read the articles, many written from the eyewitness testimony of medical professionals, and therefore feel safe in dimissing them completely."

Fair enough. Lots of people didn't believe there was child abuse going on in Catholic ophanages either.

It may not sound like it, but I really don't have much of an axe to grind here. Just that - if the only things you've ever heard about Mother Theresa are good things, remember that the Church has a very efficient media management operation and is very good at burying stories it doesn't like. These things I've posted may be outliers - a few random snipes by people. Or they may be the tip of an iceberg that didn't get reported for the very same reason you're dismissing them now. But don't be too quick to simply handwave things away because they don't fall into your own preconceptions. That's cognitive bias. Robin Fox, the former editor of the Lancet, wasn't some lone crazy who hates the church - he was a highly respected senior doctor and clinician, and if he had misgivings, it's wrong to simply dismiss them just because of some woolly feeling that Mother Theresa was basically on the side of the angels. Maybe she was, but these concerns are valid ones and deserve more than a simple wave of the hand.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 04:16:35 PM by Humble Scribe »

Online Gadifriald

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2016, 04:24:49 PM »
"I didn't read the articles, many written from the eyewitness testimony of medical professionals, and therefore feel safe in dimissing them completely."

Fair enough. Lots of people didn't believe there was child abuse going on in Catholic ophanages either.
Cute little trick with putting your opinions of my statement in a false quote...really cute...I am most impressed...really...your dismissal of others opinions is truly remarkable...

I read the entirety of the Salon article despite it trying to crash my browser repeatedly and it was clearly written by an author who had a clear agenda against the subject of the article. I did not read the Canadian study as I do not read French well enough to do so as my education in that language and especially Québécois is limited. I am not Catholic and personally do not know how much truth there is behind allegations of the failings of the charity set up by Mother Theresa and the quality or lack thereof of the medical care provided in over 600 clinics spread across many countries. However, allegations of secret baptisms sounds like the kind of unsubstantiated rumors that often get thrown around in countries where foreign religious organizations or even secular charities operate. The medical care failings may well be true and happened in a massive organization in a time when Mother Theresa herself was a very old woman. I, who am an agnostic spiritualist, have no opinion on Sainthood but have always admired the lifetime that Mother Theresa dedicated in service to the poor and when she passed and over a million of the locals whom she had worked to help turned out for her funeral, the candle she lit against the dark glowed bright that day!

Offline Oniya

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Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2016, 05:51:17 PM »
"I didn't read the articles, many written from the eyewitness testimony of medical professionals, and therefore feel safe in dimissing them completely."

To be fair, the Lancet article is locked behind a pay-wall.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2016, 01:59:59 AM »
Only because it was mentioned earlier, here's a video clip by Hitchens that's critical of Theresa.

I don't really agree with the views in this clip as they tend to accuse of her having a very large scale agenda. I'm not convinced that she was out to build an empire or anything grand like that or that her work with the poor was some sort of narcissistic scheme. She was a nun, and she tried to convert people to her religion, but that's kind of goes hand in hand with being a religious missionary. The dirty side to missionary work is trading compassion and care for religious conversion of those who are in a very vulnerable position ( and thus, are more likely to convert ). I would say it's fair to assume that both motivations were present, but that's not necessarily bad.

Perhaps a better question to ask is whether or not the people who she cared for benefited from the service she provided. You could argue that the medical attention was sub par, but was it better than nothing at all? My understanding is that the people she treated were generally those who people wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. ( that's about 3 meters for our friends in the UK )



Offline Renegade Vile

Re: Mother Theresa
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2016, 05:15:21 PM »
I didn't even know she wasn't a Saint yet. Though I have heard discussions on whether someone should be granted the status or not take a very long time, so it makes sense I suppose.
As for how people regard her here in Belgium, it's nearly universally in a positive light, but no to a saintly, unblemished extent. She just gets recognized for charitable work but isn't really brought up much. There are a few charity organizations active that either use her name/likeness or just make frequent mention of her, but I can't even remember the last time I saw any of them given any mainstream attention.