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.

Recognition and Criticism[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. (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)
To respond to the rest, how people are generally regarded by severely biased, non-experts has nothing to do with how they should be depicted on wikipedia. I am sure that, even though Mother Teresa is thoroughly documented as thinking suffering was good and that the poor "should accept their lot," many Catholics love her. Most of these Catholics probably don't know that she thought the people she supposedly helped should suffer and die in poverty; that's where wikipedia comes in. Even including the obvious POV nature of this article, the article on criticisms of Mother Teresa is almost as long as the generally positive article on Mother Teresa. Why in the world should these be separate? This is a bit like having generally positive articles on people like Osama Bin Laden or the Ayatollah Khomeini from a specific Muslim perspective and then separate articles about their criticisms. Think comparing Bin Laden and Teresa is rediculous? Bin Laden is famous for murdering around 3,000 people. Mother Teresa is famous for helping around 29,000 people (that's in only one of her "clinics") to die slowly in what she devoutly hoped was terrible pain. She had the money to help alleviate their pain, but she didn't use it for that. She believed in their pain, she thought it was good, and she was also proud that every single one of them was baptised regardless of their actual religious beliefs. You can find the sources for this on the criticisms page and literally everywhere else. Teresa was a true believer in suffering and a religious bigot; she didn't try to hide it. From the perspective of many uninformed Catholics and a minority of informed Catholics, this was good. From the perspective of everyone who hates suffering and tries to reduce it where possible (so, most people and most Catholics), she was a monster. Basically what we have in this article is Catholic sources deciding how Mother Teresa will be depicted and non-Catholic/compassionate Catholic sources being sent to some alternate page where they wont be noticed.Pwoodfor (talk) 02:28, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

"Allegations have been made that she knowingly accepted donations from disreputable sources. It was said that in one notorious case she knew or ought to have known that the money was stolen; and that she accepted money from the autocratic and corrupt Duvalier family in Haiti, which she visited in early 1981. In neither case were these aspersions substantiated, although this did not stop her critics from repeating them"

The conclusion of this paragraph is superfluous and self-evidently a breach of Wiki's NPOV injunction. The same is true. of the word "aspersions" Accordingly, I have removed the former and amended the latter to "allegations". Tarquin Q. Zanzibar 09:23, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

For a section entitled "Criticisms" it seems to devote as much time to a defence of Mother Theresa as to criticism. I feel that such apologism should be in a different section or this section renamed "Controversies". Tarquin Q. Zanzibar 09:23, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

"particularly from atheists who were dismayed at what they considered to be people's gullibility" - Where's the substantiation for this claim? The citation of for a comment made by a single atheist, Christopher Hitchens (which links to another Hitchens reference in this same list in this same article on this same page, that reference in turn linking to the Christopher Hitchens Wikipedia article), and cannot be used to back the assertion that criticism was "particularly from atheists". This being the case, rather than delete the sentence entirely I have amended it so as to remove the unfounded claim. Tarquin Q. Zanzibar (talk) 14:11, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

This problem still exists. The Criticism section contains almost no criticisms, but is almost wholly apologetics for Teresa that describes the criticisms in the voice of a supporter, often followed by quotes from someone saying something nice about her. While Criticism sections are generally frowned upon by wikipedia style guides, this section is a joke. This is often a problem with articles on controversial topics related to the Roman Catholic Church. Ashmoo (talk) 15:33, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

The criticisms of this quack can't be thorough enough. She duped the entire planet into perceiving her in a saintly light that was entirely inappropriate. As for receiving a Peace Nobel? what for? (talk)! —Preceding undated comment added 00:44, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Hello User:John2o2o2o,
I agree. The previous wording that Mother Theresa was "widely criticized for opposing abortion" was problematic. The implication is that her position was criticized by everyone, and supported by nobody. I have adapted this article to include that her position was supported by pro-life advocates, while opposed by pro-choice groups. This is in accordance with the Wikipedia:Neutral point of view policy. Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 14:05, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

Hi. I raised the criticism section to a primary heading for two reasons. I did so with full knowledge of the discussion on the subject on this page, with which I am in full agreement, in terms of it having been trimmed down to the essential, given that there is a dedicated detailed article on it. Reasons for change in level:

  • 1. It is counter intuitive to have "criticism" as a sub-section of praise (which is what "Recognition and reception" is basically about)
  • 2. The fact that there is a full article on criticism tells us that it is an important question, and as such, though in a reduced form, it should be accorded a commensurate level of prominence.

I trust that this meets with the approval of those who have dedicated time to analyses the issue and who have spent time on this and related articles. Thanks, regards, Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 13:04, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Agreed, should definitely be a primary heading. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 13:17, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't feel very strongly either way, but I must point out that your argument (point 1) is simply false: "Reception" means how people responded to (whatever), whether positively or negatively. So it is perfectly consistent to have "Criticism" within the "Reception" section. Imaginatorium (talk) 14:28, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
The section is currently called 'Recognition and reception' though. Gap9551 (talk) 16:13, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Reception Section[edit]

I agree with User:Imaginatorium. The reception section should include both criticism and praise. There are many issues for which Mother Teresa was both criticizes AND praised. Currently, these is an alarming bias in the current criticism section, which states that Mother Teresa was criticized for her pro-life views (no sources were given). While this is true, she was also praised for her pro-life views. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to include this content in a "criticism" section, just as it would be equally inappropriate to include this content is a "praise" section. Reception is a neutral title, and should therefore be considered. Ontario Teacher BFA BEd (talk) 19:44, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

Skopje became a part of Serbia in 1912[edit]

Why is the article locked for edit? Skopje was a part of Serbia in 1912, it was not a part of Ottoman Empire in 1912-1918 as stated in the text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by N.D.KingPhD (talkcontribs) 12:52, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Again: "Her birthplace of Skopje, now capital of the Republic of Macedonia, was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918, when it became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.[22][23]" is A FALSITY. Skopje was a part of Serbia from the First Balkan War in 1912.
Why is the article locked for edit, so this bullshit cannot be corrected?
Maybe if you made a polite edit request, with a reliable source to cite, such a thing could be accomplished. ScrpIronIV 18:30, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

What kind of asshole attitude is that ScrapIronIV? What makes you the ruler of this article? If an inaccuracy is pointed out, it should be corrected if valid, but asking people to ask nicely or else warrants legal action and public flogging.


<ref></ref>Mother Teresa… Very few know that this woman’s real name was Agnessa Boyajian. She was an Armenian. She told about it to Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I during her visit to Armenia in 1988 after the disastrous earthquake. Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Church said, “Mother Teresa is an Armenian. Surname of her father who escaped from Western Armenia to Albania is Boyajian. Her mother is Albanian Christian.”Garotnt (talk) 15:19, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

She was Albanian ,no discussion Eltoniboy (talk) 20:47, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 24 May 2016[edit]

Katsullivan (talk) 04:00, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

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."[121]

Above is not a credible source and false in nature. This is a ridiculous entry and extremely bias and prejudice.

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. Imaginatorium (talk) 06:22, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
@Katsullivan: I'm the first to jump to Mother Teresa's defense, but it is a section on criticism, whether we like it or not. Saying "unreliable!" just because it's biased won't make it go away—it obviously has to be biased in order to be a criticism. Deus vult! Crusadestudent (talk) 23:04, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Non-neutral language[edit]

Someone edited this sentence:

A controversial figure both during her life and after her death, much like Jesus and almost all the Christian saints, Mother Teresa was widely admired by many for her charitable works.

...removing the middle clause: "much like Jesus and almost all the Christian saints". I think this removal is a very good idea. The language is rather odd: since MT is (we're told) a saint, she ought to be expected to be at least somewhat "like Jesus and other saints". So it doesn't say very much. But what is the odd "almost all" qualification for?? Who knows. And crucially, it is quite unclear whether this clause is referring to the first clause of the sentence or the last. Was she controversial like the other people, or admired like them? So it is rather muddled. Removing it leaves a clear sentence, amply supported by evidence. Imaginatorium (talk) 19:35, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

  • Support Given this justification, I can get behind the edit now. Thank you. Jujutsuan (talk | contribs) 19:50, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm fine with the removal. Majoreditor (talk) 13:43, 6 June 2016 (UTC)


Per the cameramen who were actually there, and who actually handled the film, and gave actual testimony, and where the actual evidence comes from... per each of these points, the neutral tone is that the cameramen "realized", not "thought"... they "realized" that the film clearness was due to the upgraded Kodak video they had. Because that's what happens when you use upgraded technology. Upgraded technology isn't a miracle, and the cameramen "realized" what had happened, and spoke on it. (youtu. be/65JxnUW7Wk4?t=2m12s) The camera men were there, not you or me, User:Afterwriting. Leave the camera technology to the cameramen using the technology. I didn't change anything about the mythological claims. KnowledgeBattle (Talk) | GodlessInfidel ︻╦╤── 06:11, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

@Afterwriting: Come here, before you undo it again. You've, now, made 3 reverts. Explain yourself, in detail. KnowledgeBattle (Talk) | GodlessInfidel ︻╦╤── 06:45, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
WP:STATUSQUO is quite clear. It is your responsibility to seek consensus for a change. You don't get to revert to your preferred version first. If you can't then the article remains as it is. As to the "issue" at hand, I consider it complete nonsense to suggest that "realized" is somehow more neutral language. We don't know for an objective fact that the new film was the cause of the better light. All we know is that is what the camermen believed to be the reason. Afterwriting (talk) 07:00, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Just to agree with what Afterwriting said. And to mention that we are all allowed to assume the obvious: that the camera crew knew a lot more about film than MM did. Imaginatorium (talk) 07:05, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
@Afterwriting: There's no "consensus" needed for the edits I made, they were minuscule, relevant, and more clear.
And yes, we do know, as an objective fact, that the upgraded technology, which captured better light, is what was the cause of the better light.
Think about your statement, put like this: "We don't know for a fact that B comes after A, just because B always comes after A."
I edited a few other things, other than fixing that word to be more clear. You reverted it all, anyway.
Sorry, not concerned with discussing it with you, any further. I tried to get you to talk before you kept reverting the edits. You can take it up with an administrator, if they ask for your opinion. KnowledgeBattle (Talk) | GodlessInfidel ︻╦╤── 07:23, 16 June 2016 (UTC)