Criticism of Mother Teresa
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Mother Teresa was an Albanian born Catholic Nun who lived and worked among the poorest and most needy in the slums of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) . She is held up by the Catholic Church for her willingness to live amongst, work with and help the most needy and for her evangelism of the church.
While alive Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and received many other accolades, for her work. She had, however, also faced criticism equal or greater in intensity to the encomium. In general, her work and her outlook mirrored that of the Catholic Church but her views of poverty and suffering went even farther, at least in practice, than that seen in the Church: the resulting clash with modernity likewise mirrors the histories and Criticism of the Catholic Church.
Particular criticism leveled against her are: for her views on birth control and abortion, which aligned wholly with the Church; the operation and funding of her ministry (her association with people such as disgraced US banker Charles Keating and Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier in particular); as well as her relationship to modern medicine and the benefits it can confer; and her views on suffering . Other critics have included Hindus and Muslims in India, who saw her efforts to help the poor as a front for evangelism, although this is common complaint for any missionary and/or charity work, regardless of religion, and is not particular to Mother Teresa.
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. Her writings revealed that she struggled with feelings of disconnectedness that were in contrast to the strong feelings she had experienced as a young novitiate. Because of this she has been posthumously criticized for hypocrisy.
Mother Teresa has been criticized for accepting donations from disreputable characters
- She risked her credibility by taking money from former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. In 1981, Teresa flew to Haiti to accept the Légion d'honneur[disambiguation needed] from Duvalier, who, after his ouster, was found to have plundered the impoverished country.
- The donation issue came up in the early 1990s when it was revealed that Charles Keating, an American banker known for the infamous saving and loan scandal, had donated up to $1.25 million to Missionaries of Charity. Amidst calls to return the money, Mother Teresa chose to remain silent, an incident that is still cited by her critics who demand transparency. Typically, friends, family and colleagues write to the judge urging leniency. Mother Teresa asked the court to show mercy on Mr. Keating, a generous contributor to her charities.
- She also 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 instead focuses on Teresa's plea for leniency in the Keating case, and her failure to return the money. In their book, Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership, authors Ruma Bose and Lou Faust suggest that the cause was right, even if the source of the money was tainted. Mother Teresa's view was that if someone offers charity for the poor it should be accepted for their sake regardless of the merits or otherwise of the giver.
In addition to receiving money, Mother Teresa faced criticism for the administration of the funds: A report in German magazine Stern, made the contention that only seven percent of the donations received by the Missionaries of Charity in 1991 were used for the actual administration of charity.[better source needed]
In the media
In February 1994, Indian-born writer living in Britain, Aroup Chatterjee, persuaded Vanya Del Borgo at the television production company Bandung Productions in London and to undertake Hell's Angel (shown on Britain's Channel 4 television on 8 November 1994), the first attempt to challenge Mother Teresa's public image on television. Ms Del Borgo chose Christopher Hitchens as the presenter, knowing him as she did from their days together at The Nation in the United States. Left-wing British journalist Tariq Ali served as co-producer. Chatterjee was not happy with how Hell's Angel turned out, especially its sensationalist approach, such as Mr Hitchens calling Mother Teresa 'a presumed virgin'. The film however caused some ripple effects, in Britain and internationally. In 2003 Chatterjee published The Final Verdict, a less polemic work than those of Hitchens and Ali, but equally critical of Teresa's operations.
In November 1994, Christopher Hitchens published The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, a book which repeated many of the accusations in the documentary. In articles with Free Inquiry and Slate magazines Hitchens said Mother Teresa is widely and falsely seen as selflessly devoted to serving mankind and that people fail to examine claims about Mother Teresa because she is considered holy. Pope John Paul II nominated Mother Teresa for sainthood a year after her death. There was, in Hitchens’ opinion, no reason to pay so much attention to Mother Teresa rather than to many other people working to relieve Third World misery. In a review of Hitchens' book for the London Review of Books Amit Chaudhuri noted that "If there is a slight Eurocentric quality about The Missionary Position this is because Mother Teresa and her reputation in the West, the workings of the Western media, and Mother Teresa the Roman Catholic proponent of anti-abortion dogma are central to Hitchens; Calcutta and its history and people are mentioned sympathetically, intelligently, but briefly, and remain in the background".
Criticism was leveled at Mother Teresa's apparent endorsement of the aggressively atheist regime of Enver Hoxha in communist Albania. She had visited Albania in August 1989, where she was received by Hoxha's widow, Nexhmije, Foreign 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, without commenting on the Albanian Communist party's human rights violations and suppression of religion. Nexhmije later described Mother Teresa as a "true patriot" and a "great Albanian" who "came with an open mind and praised our achievements". Regarding Mother Teresa's homage to Mother Albania, Christopher Hitchens elaborated that:
The ‘Mother Albania' monument, it might be worth emphasizing, is not an abstract symbol of sentimental nationhood. It is the emblem of the cause of Greater Albania. A nearby museum displays the boundaries of this ambition in the form of a map. ‘Mother Albania' turns out to comprise - in addition to the martyred province of Kosovo - a large piece of Serbia and Montenegro, a substantial chunk of formerly Yugoslav Macedonia and most of that part of modern Greece now known as Epirus.
Motivation of charitable activities
She was sometimes accused by Hindus in her adopted country of trying to convert the poor to Catholicism by "stealth". Christopher Hitchens said that Teresa's own words on poverty proved that her intention was not to help people. He quoted Teresa's 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."
Chatterjee added 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. According to a Stern magazine report about Mother Teresa, the (Protestant) Assembly of God charity serves 18,000 meals daily in Calcutta, many more than all the Mission of Charity homes together.
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.
Quality of medical care
In 1991, Dr. 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". 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. Dr. 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".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 contrast to the conditions at her homes, Mother Theresa sought medical treatment for herself at renowned medical clinics in the United States, Europe, and India, drawing charges of hypocrisy from critics such as Hitchens.
To the Lancet's criticism there was a response by David Jeffrey (Macmillan Lead Palliative Care Consultant, 3 Counties Cancer Centre, Cheltenham General Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine at the University of Bristol) where he asserts: "Recently, criticism has been levelled at Mother Theresa for not attaining the standards of care in Calcutta that might be expected in a UK hospice. Such criticism is destructive and fails to appreciate the difficulties and frustrations faced by individuals striving to provide some basic compassionate care with little or no resources" 
Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
The Showtime program Penn & Teller: Bullshit! has an episode titled "Holier than Thou" that criticizes Mother Teresa, as well as Mahatma Gandhi and the 14th Dalai Lama. The show criticizes Mother Teresa's controversial relationships with Charles Keating and the Duvalier family, as well as the poor medical care in her home for the dying. Christopher Hitchens appears on, and narrates some of the episode.
Stance on abortion
In her Nobel Lecture, Mother Teresa described abortion as "…the greatest destroyer of peace today." Earlier, in her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, she stated, "... if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between". At a National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the U.S. Senate and House of representatives on 3 Feb 1994 she said, “I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception.
Her orthodox views on abortion and contraception were welcomed by the socially conservative Pope John Paul II who used Mother Teresa as a spokesperson for papal causes. Her views put her at great odds with the feminist movement. She was criticised by liberals who disliked her conservative stance on abortion and contraception.
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 Catholic media.
Baptisms of the dying
Mother Teresa encouraged members of her order to baptize dying patients, without regard to the individual's religion. In a speech at the Scripps Clinic in California in January 1992, she said: "Something very beautiful... not one has died without receiving the special ticket for St. Peter, as we call it. We call baptism ticket for St. Peter. We ask the person, do you want a blessing by which your sins will be forgiven and you receive God? They have never refused. So 29,000 have died in that one house [in Kalighat] from the time we began in 1952."
Critics have argued that patients were not provided sufficient information to make an informed decision about whether they wanted to be baptized and the theological significance of a Christian baptism.
Some of Mother Teresa's defenders have argued that baptisms are either soul-saving or harmless and hence the criticisms would be pointless (a variant of Pascal's Wager). Simon Leys, 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."
Upon her death and despite her wishes, a volume of private writings was collected, edited by her postulator Brian Kolodiejchuk and was published. In her letters Mother Teresa describes a decades long sense of feeling disconnected from God and lacking the earlier zeal which had characterized her efforts to start the Missionaries of Charity. As a result of this she, and the Catholic Church, received much criticism for, at least, the appearance of hypocrisy.
Response from Catholics, not necessarily affiliated with the Church hierarchy, have ranged from speculation that she may have suffered from clinical depression  brought on by a demanding work ethic amongst the continuing misery of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) slums to a belief that just such existential struggles are a hallmark of sainthood: Many other saints had similar experiences of spiritual dryness, or what Catholics believe to be spiritual tests ("passive purifications"). Mother Teresa's namesake, St. Therese of Lisieux, is believed to have undergone just such an experience that she called it a "night of nothingness." Contrary to the belief by some that the doubts she expressed would be an impediment to canonisation, just the opposite is felt to be true by Catholics; it is very consistent with the experience of mystics who have been canonised in the past.
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