Talk:Mother Teresa

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Former good article Mother Teresa was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Criticisms[edit]

The section was a long dense block, so I broke it up under the relevant cross-headings. I also expanded the treatment of Keating (and propose attending to the Duvalier case in due course). The result, granted the existence of Criticism of Mother Teresa, is that the now section seems out of proportion within Mother Teresa - an effect (partly optical, I think) which I didn't foresee when introducing the cross-headings. The next step, then, would seem to be a radical pruning of the criticisms section in the main article and its reformation to give a general overview of criticisms rather than detailed discussion of a few choice topics. Does anyone object or have any comments? Ridiculus mus (talk) 06:32, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

I think if there is a link to the main Criticisms article then the criticisms in the actual biography should be reduced to just a summary rather than a detailed section. I would say definitely prune it. RoyalBlueStuey (talk) 09:13, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I drafted a reduced version (cut down by 27%) which I have now posted in a sandbox. I would be very grateful if comments/ suggestions/ criticisms/ questions were posted by you and others on the sandbox discussion page. I am now working on Criticism of Mother Teresa and The Missionary Position, aiming at a coherent treatment across all three articles. Thanks Ridiculus mus (talk) 17:16, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Now see an alternative, and somewhat shorter, version of the sub-section at my v2 sandbox. Ridiculus mus (talk) 10:42, 3 February 2014 (UTC)


Currently the styling here is distinct from Wikipedia norms. I would prefer either severe pruning, which will draw readers to the full article, or if it is to be a detailed subsection, then the individual categories of criticisms should use standard header styling. Syneil (talk) 11:38, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

When I introduced the sub-headings I deliberately avoided using standard sub-sections, because it would have created a huge disproportion in the contents box. It was, in any case, a temporary expedient and I have now pruned the section, removing the need for cross-headings. Once Criticism of Mother Teresa has been edited, further pruning may be possible and desirable in the instant article. Ridiculus mus (talk) 16:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)


The entire piece is riddled with weasel words. When reference to a criticism is made, it is followed by a dismissal. e.g. "She was depicted as cunning, lacking in modesty and humility; they were either dupes or manipulators. Nor were these criticisms expressed in measured terms. Her critics frequently used vulgar, insulting and abusive language, and even grave allegations of personal impropriety were made against her, dependent on nothing but insinuations and suspicion, guilt by association, and adverse conclusions drawn from her silence. Throughout, Mother Teresa was silent in the face of abuse, and when pressed replied only that she forgave those who attacked her."
This is not how we do things on Wikipedia. Compare it to the criticism sections of other controversial figures. No one would come away from reading this piece well-informed about the body of criticism against Teresa.
I think it would be better that the criticism section reflect much of the evidence against her, with references, without suffixing every sentence with apologia or idolatry. Even the introduction has been skunked: it concludes "she has not lacked detractors, nor was she immune from personal abuse and insults whether in her life or after her death, all of which she bore calmly" Can you imagine the WP intro on Thaksin Shinawatra or George W Bush ending with ?
We need to move this piece so that it is closer to what an encyclopedia article ought to be. Ordinary Person (talk) 05:52, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Something really needs to be done about this. It's honestly the most biased article I've ever read on Wikipedia and it reads like a catholic opinion piece. Definitely see WP:Weasel Words and compare to the content of this article – specifically the criticism section as Ordinary Person mentioned. I honestly believe keeping this article the way it is hurts WP's overall credibility. Teresa is a controversial figure for good reason and this article has clearly been written on one side of the controversy. Even a little further up I'm the talk page one of the editors dismisses criticisms with an ad hominem on one of her critics. Ridiculous. 107.215.192.17 (talk) 18:57, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I have to agree - the person who has re-edited the Criticism section has clearly decided Catholic sainthood means whitewashing. Despicable and anti-Wiki. As they clearly intend it to be. Shameless. TheCryingofLot49 (talk) 03:21, 13 July 2014 (UTC)


Completely agreed with the above. The entire article reads like an apologetic tract. At this point I'd rather link people to the rationalwiki article on her. Merari01 (talk) 19:13, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

To be honest seeing as there is a link to the separate article on the criticism I think a brief summary that some people have criticised her & her work would suffice in the biog. That way we avoid this issue entirely RoyalBlueStuey (talk) 12:12, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Agree with RoyalBlueStuey. Criticism sections within articles are not encouraged precisely because they involve an implicit bias to negativity. See WP:CRIT

Editors should avoid having a separate section in an article devoted to criticism, controversies, or the like because these sections call undue attention to negative viewpoints. Instead, articles should present positive and negative viewpoints from reliable sources together, fairly, proportionately, and without bias

As for the inapposite reference to George W. Bush, I find the approach there (where there is no distinct "Criticism" section) not so different, in principle, from that adopted here. In the section "Image" we read (in-line refs omitted):-

Bush has been parodied by the media, comedians, and other politicians. Detractors tended to cite linguistic errors made by Bush during his public speeches . . . Some pundits labeled Bush "the worst president ever". In contrast to his father, who was perceived as having troubles with an overarching unifying theme, Bush embraced larger visions and was seen as a man of larger ideas and associated huge risks. Tony Blair wrote in 2010 that the caricature of Bush as being dumb is "ludicrous" and that Bush is "very smart".

Ridiculus mus (talk) 16:55, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

I disagree that the topic should be avoided entirely because that again leads to apologetics and a rose-tinted article. "Instead, articles should present positive and negative viewpoints from reliable sources together, fairly, proportionately, and without bias" would indicate that the criticism has its place. Furthermore, the language as used in the article needs trimming. If one wishes to present a wholly positive image one should go to information as presented by the church, not a wikipedia article. The apologetic language needs removing and instead there should be a mere representation of facts in non-emotional tones. Phrases like "all of which he bore calmly" or attacks on the character of Hitchens really have no place.

Merari01 (talk) 00:23, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

No one is suggesting the topic be avoided altogether. There is a distinct article Criticism of Mother Teresa. Compare the treatment of criticism of Mohammad to which reference is made below. The reference to bearing attacks calmly has been deleted. Can we move the discussion along? Yesterday I proposed replacing the existing section along the lines suggested below (with a redirect to Criticism of Mother Teresa); the other possibility is deleting the dedicated sub-section and also deleting the article Criticism of Mother Teresa, reintegrating criticisms into the main article as per the guidelines in WP:CRIT. The implication that rebuttals of criticism should be omitted is not justified, however. Ridiculus mus (talk) 05:19, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, Merari01. There's no point in shying away from the fact that some of these matters are controversial. I'll start by trimming the weasel words now and then we'll have a go at reforming the criticism section later.Ordinary Person (talk) 04:59, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Okay, I think I got most of it. Ordinary Person (talk) 03:12, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

guys please refrain from critizing catholosism Nfaloo (talk) 00:27, 25 September 2014 (UTC)nfaloo 9/24/14

I think perhaps someone ought to write an article "Praise of Mother Teresa". "Ridiculus Mus" (et al) you pretend to be an authority on all that is right and wrong in this world, yet you hide behind the complete anonymity that Wikipedia gives you. Who are you? What are your personal views? You cannot claim to stand as a figure of complete neutrality and remain entirely anonymous. Your attitude to me seems laced with left wing and atheist political ideology. Are you an atheist? If you are that is fine, but many atheists campaign against Roman Catholicism. Perhaps you are more biased than you would have others believe. Well, who are you? That is criticism of you. Are you happy with that? Will you angrily delete my criticism and denounce me as stupid or politically incorrect? Can you tolerate someone who does not share your views?

Rather than writing at length about Mother Teresa here, why do you not write a book on her. Then people can make a better judgment about you, the author and your political and ideological standpoints with respect to your subject.

Mother Teresa was - at least in her lifetime almost universally regarded as a figure of compassion and love. I do not recall her being widely regarded as 'controversial'. All practicing Roman Catholics are against abortion. Abortion is even today, not universally accepted as a human right.John2o2o2o (talk) 10:25, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

To respond to part of that, when you look at the beginning of the article you should see a tab at the top labelled "View history". Click on that and you will see the answer to "Who are you?" The article has been created by a large number of editors collaborating over many years. Some might be atheists. Chances are many are Catholics. You can edit too. HiLo48 (talk) 10:39, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 October 2014[edit]

Mother Teresa advocated the use of Natural Family Planning (NFP), also accepted by the Catholic Church, as a means of birth regulation, particularly in her own poverty-stricken country. In her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, she said,"We are doing another thing which is very beautiful—we are teaching our beggars, our leprosy patients, our slum dwellers, our people of the street, natural family planning. And in Calcutta alone in six years—it is all in Calcutta—we have had 61,273 babies less from the families who would have had, but because they practice this natural way of abstaining, of self-control, out of love for each other. We teach them the temperature meter which is very beautiful, very simple, and our poor people understand.” http://nfpandmore.org/wordpress/?p=1293 She also taught NFP through the use of mucus readings to detect ovulation periods. Clesalex (talk) 07:19, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Stickee (talk) 12:43, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Albanian citizenship doutbful?[edit]

Wiki box says her nationality was both Indian and Albanian between 1991 and 1997, this is not possible as India don't recognise dual citizenship. So please clarify and delete albanian citizenship as there is no citation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 117.216.146.240 (talk) 13:46, 17 October 2014 (UTC)


hello.i think i ought to say something here.i am a muslim,but i still think she is a good person.you have to have a little bit fantasy,be able to try to see other peoples view point.she clearly thought she was saving the eternal souls of those she converted,thus it is far more greater in magnitude than saving their mortal shelfs.it is all a question of good will.search good will in wipedia.

-) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.159.235.42 (talk) 15:19, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

"Kosovo Albanian origin"?[edit]

That doesn't seem to be proved in the article. Ethnic Albanian? Yes. But the only piece of information regarding her place of origin that seems to be confirmed from the information provided in the article is that she was born in Skopje, now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. JD — Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.76.96.157 (talk) 21:11, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

All the myriads of sources show her of Albanian origin , and not of kosovo albanian , which seems to be a clear wp:synth . IJA i hope you will reflect , this was my last attempt in a civil and as per wiki rules discussion . You insist on putting a kosovo Albanian origin without a single source VS the myriads of sources showing her of Albanian ethnicity .Gjirokastra15 (talk) 15:25, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

@Gjirokastra15: - All three of the sources I referenced show that her origin is in Kosovo (I'm aware she was born in/ near Skopje, but I'm not questioning where she was born). Yes her ethnicity is Albanian (no-one disputes that) but her family is associated with and come from Kosovo which makes her a "Kosovo Albanian". All of the sources clearly show that, why have you kept reverting this? IJA (talk) 15:43, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

@IJA:Because the Kosovo Albanian term , is one label that you insist on putting . While all the bibliography and i mean ALL of it (including the one you brought as well ) , is using the term Albanian .... ! Thus you are wp synthing ... can it be more clear than this ? Otherwise i dare you to find a single source where the kosovo albanian term is used .

Kosovo is a newly created state , where 90 % of the population declare themselves as ALBANIANS . It was created after mother teresas death !!! In the section albanians the kosovo albanians are a part of it as well ... Remember wiki is all about facts and sources , and not subjective realities Gjirokastra15 (talk) 15:51, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

@Gjirokastra15: - I'm not questioning her ethnicity, the sources say she was an Ethnic Albanian. All Albanians from Kosovo are ethnic Albanians. All I'm saying is that she is an ethnic Albanian was originates from Kosovo. What is wrong with saying that? It is a fact which I properly referenced. The term "Kosovo Albanian" had been used on this article for ages before you decided to remove it without a consensus. You removed this more specific information. Why are you so adamant that this precise information must be removed? A Kosovo Albanian is an ethnic Albanian with ancestry or descent in the region, regardless of whether they live in Kosovo. It seems that you have a problem with the term "Kosovo Albanian". I don't think this is the correct place to discuss the term, I suggest that you take that to Talk:Kosovo Albanians. The state of Kosovo has nothing to do with this as it was established over ten years after her death. IJA (talk) 16:04, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
There is an entire article on "Kosovo Albanians", Mother Teresa happened to be a Kosovo Albanian. I assume that you'll reply to this, however I have to leave the world of wikipedia as I have other commitments in the real world. I'll get back to you tomorrow. Regards IJA (talk) 16:09, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

@IJA:I have no problem whatsoever . The problem is that you refuse to admit that all the bibliography refers her as Albanian and not kosovo albanian which is a wp synth of yours . In fact you just stated that you are not questioning her Albanian ethnicity . Then why are you reverting precisely that ? And to conclude , as long as the sources show her of Albanian ethnicity ... thats how it should stay . Mother teresa is of Albanian origin and her family originates from Kosova . So no i did not remove any information , in fact i amplified it , by stating that her family originates from Kosovo and she is of Albanian ethnicity .

Have a great day then , and i willl be waiting for a reply . Regards , Gjirokastra15 (talk) 16:17, November 2014 (UTC)

@Gjirokastra15: I have no problem what so ever saying Mother Teresa is of Albanian origin and her family originates from Kosovo as long as KosovO (no a) is spelt with an O as it is in the English language? Agree mate? IJA (talk) 22:59, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

@IJA: That would be more than fine with me as well . I am glad that we managed to establish a consensus and thank you for the civil and constructive discussion that we had . Regards , Gjirokastra15 (talk) 23:33, 15 November 2014 (UTC)