Talk:Mother Teresa/Archive 8

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Strange

This stikes me as odd "a northern Macedonian town and capital of the Ottoman province of the Kossovo Vilayet"... last time I checked Skopje was the capital of Republic of Macedonia.

Indeed odd phrasing. Hopefully I've edited in what all will think is a neutral way! Nfitz 02:40, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

At the time of her birth, Skopje was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (NOT Republic of...) did not exist until the 1990s. The the article is correct.

Correct, possibly, but still odd. FYROM is a bizzare political compromise; even many countries officially call it the Republic of Macedonia in two-way communications.--Prosfilaes 01:29, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
the article is correct - Adam Mathias 17:31, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Cooled down

This page has sure cooled down. Has everyone just given up, or have you guys just been busy during the holidays? All of a sudden, everyone stopped editing the talk page, and I am just wondering why this happened. Greenmountainboy 17:43, 31 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I'm back. I've tried to restore some sanity to the article, let me know if I've succeeded.—Eloquence 03:48, Feb 15, 2004 (UTC)

It's hard to say. If I try to check the diff, I have many red block and don't know if you only add/removed a blank line somewhere or if you edited the text. I may not used diff tool in the proper way. Anyway, if it's you that have removed the subtitles under the pictures, I think it's a good thing. gbog 04:53, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I removed some attributions where the facts are uncontroversial (e.g. it is not just alleged that MT spoke against abortion both publicly and in meetings with public officials, it's a documented fact), I also reorganized the criticism section, got rid of a few POV terms like "complain" and restored some deleted information. Yes, I also shortened the captions, because with the new automatic thumbnails, long captions are better placed on the image page itself and not in the article.—Eloquence 04:59, Feb 15, 2004 (UTC)
I don't know what are the customs but, from my POV, it would have been easyer to check if you had made 3-4 different edits (one for blocks, one for captions, one for re-adding stuff,...) gbog

I don't like how most of the criticism were diverted to another page and then removed from that page. I find that to be very sneaky and cowardly. --CHF

I added some stuff I found on "http://www.ewtn.com/motherteresa/" to the page.

I also want to know the sources for the following stuff in the article:

  • "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 Catholic baptism."
  • The entire first section of the "Criticism" page, the stuff about the hospitals and the statements on civil liberties etc.

If there are no sources, it should be deleted. This article needs to be extensively reworked to remove its POV-bias against Mother Theresa. Itake 23:43, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Pascal's wager

One point I do not believe is the following paragraph:

Mother Teresa's defenders have responded that baptisms are either soul-saving or harmless, so the criticisms are without merit (a variant of Pascal's Wager).

Symon Leys' opinion is a really bad and clearly wrong way of expressing why someone would approve those baptisms. Lots of people (and I mean defendants of MT) would not agree with that explanation. That's why I am changing the phrasing. Actually, I have doubts that those baptisms as stated here are properly performed. But this is just my my my opinion. In any case, assuming that all defenders are pro-Leys is wrong. Pfortuny 13:27, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC) (Apologies: I have touched the "criticism" section although I said I would not, but I feel this change can be thought as not strictly touching that section). If I hurt anyone, I apologize. Pfortuny 13:32, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I do not understand why Mr. Eloquence changed some headlines. The words he used are extremely loaded. I think that very unprofessional in what is supposed to be a neutral encyclopedia. We should be clinically neutral, not reading like propaganda. I presume Mr. Eloquence simply made a mistake and does not write as badly normally. 213.190.149.122

Would you mind logging in (and creating a user account)? That would make our communication more "human". Of course, feel free. Pfortuny 17:06, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
What are you talking about? I did not change the headlines, Silsor did.—Eloquence

I unreservedly apologise if I accused the wrong person. Please accept my apologies, Mr. Eloquence. I may have accused the wrong gentleman, (I must have misread the article history) but I think the point was correct. The language was not clinically neutral, which it should be.

As to Mr Pfortuny, I am a free spirit who does not like the concept of creating 'accounts', which sounds like banking. But I appreciate the generousity of your advice. 62.77.180.65

Oh, no problem. As a free spirit, I like to be called by a name and not a number (actually four numbers), which is possible only by banking. But this is just a joke. :) Pfortuny 18:54, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Minor edit Baptism

I would like to make a minor edit in the section titled Baptisms of the Dying. I would like to edit this section:

Critics have argued that Mother Tersea's order provided insufficient information to its patients to make an informed decision about whether they wanted to convert to Catholicism, and that a "blessing" is much different from a baptism.

Baptism is not a conversion to Catholicism or even to Christianity. It is "the sacrament of regeneration by water in the word (per aquam in verbo)." (Roman Catechism.) According to Catholic teachings Baptism washes away a person's sins and makes it possible for the person to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This would make Mother Teresa's statement that it is a 'ticket to heaven' accurate.

I would like to rewrite the paragraph to read:

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.

I believe this maintains the substance of the criticism, but does not equate Baptism with conversion.

--Pcaylor 20:13, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable to me. This page has been quiet for a while now, I think you can probably make changes like this without worrying so much about reigniting flames. :) Bryan 00:42, 19 May 2004 (UTC)
Your expression is probably better than the present one. Pfortuny 07:32, 19 May 2004 (UTC)
I think it might be worth altering this to "Catholic baptism". As a non-Catholic Christian, I definitely can't see an equation of removal of sin and baptism anywhere other than in Catholic church history. I'll change it, but obviously it can be changed back if there's a good reason for this change not to happen! Robg 14:05, 10 January 2006 (GMT)

Mother Theresa never forced anyone to convert to Catholicism. In fact, she even brought in muslim or hindu representatives as requested by the sick and dying !

Additions by anon and some changes

Recent additions by an anonymous editor undoubtly needed npoving, but this "npoving" by Eloquence could be a little bit too much and ressembles a revert... gbog 12:57, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

Hardly. We've already discussed the collection of quotes, and adding "allegedly" to a proven fact or hiding rambling accusations in "Some critics would argue" is itself POV.--Eloquence* 18:09, May 30, 2004 (UTC)
Maybe. I don't know. What I know is that a cat should be called a cat, and a "3/4 revertion on a possible new user's edit" called a "3/4 revertion on a possible new user's edit". If the guy who added this (probably full of good will) comes back and sees what happend to his (possibly first) contribution, what will he think about wikipedia project and wikipedians ? gbog 03:47, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
I carefully reintegrated every useful statement he added to the article, improved his language and added a citation. If you want to call that a 3/4 revert, call it a 3/4 revert. But a revert costs me about 5 seconds while this edit cost me about 5 minutes. Certainly we will not allow a collection of rambling POV statements to be added to an article just to make a newbie happy. Would you make the same argument if someone had edited, say, Donald Rumsfeld in the same manner ("Many would argue that Rumsfeld knows nothing about warfare, that he never was in a war, and that he certainly should not be allowed to command thousands of soldiers who are willing to give their life for the questionable goals dictated by US imperialist foreign policy.")?--Eloquence*
I don't know anyone called Ronald Rumsteak or Donald Rhumfield that could have something to do with our Holly Mother Theresa :), subjet of this article; do you ? I just pointed that being a little bit softer in your 3/4 reverts (by explaining them on talk page, for example) could be nice and would give the good example (as MT did !) to new users. gbog 07:07, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
I do not know Donald Rumsfeld either -or what he has to do with this article. However, in some sense the quotations stuff was already discussed and they were removed. However again, this does not mean those quotations or something similar cannot be added. The problem is we want an article not a collection of pro/anti statements. That's what makes quotations complicated. However again, I also agree that any large edit had rather be discussed -or at least- explained in the talk page. However, I only say "had rather" not needs and even less must. Pfortuny 07:58, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
For quotations, there is Wikiquote. Regarding Rumsfeld, you may read our article analogy.--Eloquence*

Gandhi.

It is alleged in the wiki article for Indira Gandhi that Mother Teresa supported Gandhi during her repressive 1975-77 "emergency powers" period. I have never read of anything like this before, and I hate to accuse a good woman without good proof.

Can anybody tell me if this is true? I seriously hope not, but if it IS true it belongs somewhere in the wiki article.

Support for forced sterilisation?

Another point: The article includes the following statement: After Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's suspension of civil liberties in 1975, and her son's campaign of forced sterilisation, she said: "People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes." If she made this statement, I think it is necessary to make the following clear: 1. Did she support the suspension of civil liberties? 2. Did she support the campaign of forced sterilisation? 3. Did she support both? She might have supported the state of emergency, but I think that it is quite unlikely that she supported forced sterilisation (since that would have contradicted her (and the Vatican's) stance on similar topics (e.g. abortion, contraception etc.). It'd like to have the question of her support of forced sterilisation be backed up by sources. Gugganij 19:10, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

So do I. I doubt its truth very much. Pfortuny 12:16, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

If the statement mentioned above is not backed up by a reliable source. I am going to delete at least the part and her son's campaign of forced sterilisation in one week. Gugganij 14:35, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Supporting documentation

I believe the source for the claim is Aroup Chatterjee's The Final Verict: from chapter 14:

Q.101. What were the relationships of Mother Teresa and of Missionaries of Charity with various religious and civil authorities with which they came in contact with?

A. She was expedient and practical about keeping good relations for survival in a generally hostile country like India. The ruling party of West Bengal, the Marxists had close ties with the (erstwhile) Albanian Communist Party which had persistently refused her permission to see her mother and sister. But she appeased the West Bengal government and would collaborate with any politician (of whatever persuasion) who would further her cause. She maintained friendly relations with all religious groups because it was necessary for her to do so. During the 1974 - 77 Emergency in India, thousands of men (many of them unmarried and childless) were forcibly vasectomised, but she praised the state of emergency as she had friendly relations with Mrs Gandhi who she saw as the best protector of Indian Christians amongst the Indian political establishment.

Chatterjee's response is clearly juxtaposing the fact of the mass sterilisation with MT's support for the state of emergency and provides a motive (expediency, ie. currying favour), but does not directly assert that MT specifically supported the sterilisation. ---- Charles Stewart 01:26, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This is true, but (as Hitchens states in his book) is still a morally questionable position for a saint. Evidently some sterilizations were acceptable to Teresa as the price for a policy that would offer Christians the most protection. It's the "greater good" argument, but she and the church are supposed to deal in absolutes. ProhibitOnions 22:53:12, 2005-08-22 (UTC)

Muggeridge miracle

I'm surprised the supposed miracle of good camera work in the Muggeridge documentary isn't mentioned. Maybe it is covered and dismissed in the endless talk articles. I would add it myself but I might loose an arm, perhaps a braver soul then I will see fit to include what I think is a significant point. MeltBanana 01:04, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, I have not seen it here ever and I do know the talk pages rather well... Feel free to add true content (dunno what that is about). Pfortuny 17:30, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I Find it Unbelieveable that Mother Teresa is a Controversial Topic!

Why should Mother Teresa be a "controversial topic" I wonder? So many intolerant and hateful people are in the world as it is, do we need so many at Wikipedia? Pitchka 20:36, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)

Are you suggesting we remove the Mother Teresa article from Wikipedia because it's about an intolerant and hateful person? :) Bryan 21:49, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Apologies, the "controversial" notice was tagged incorrectly, it is supposed to be issues that comes with the topic. At first I thought I had to use {{controversial}} because I thought {{controversial2}} was supposed to put on the article itself. - Mailer Diablo 11:58, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Could someone review this edit? [1] silsor 17:42, Jan 11, 2005 (UTC)

Farming out criticisms

This edit by Digby moved the whole of the criticisms section onto a subordinate page. Was this a good thing? Possibly not all of the criticisms deserve to be on the main page, but the edit seems to me to have imbalanced the article. ---- Charles Stewart 00:32, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think so, it was getting very big. Somebody needs to go and summarize the criticisms to put on the main page, then it should look better. -Frazzydee| 00:38, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

No, it's not a good thing. This has been tried before, see Talk:Mother Teresa/Archive1#Separate article for criticisms.3F, Talk:Mother Teresa/Archive4#Split article .3F. I am thoroughly opposed to it; if an article is too long it should be split up into sub-articles based on topic, not based on POV. Splitting an article up based on POV takes one article that could potentially have been NPOV and turning into two articles which are by design both POV. Not good. Bryan 02:03, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Okay, didn't know it had been discussed before. For the record, I didn't move the section, I just renamed it. And left a short summary on Mother Teresa. -Frazzydee| 02:12, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
No problem. Looks like Digby did it, and he has very few edits so he probably wasn't aware of the previous discussion either. He didn't even give an edit summary or I probably would have noticed this split a lot earlier, I have things on my watchlist for reasons I've long forgotten and don't pay a lot of attention to any more. :) Bryan 06:14, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad this article has a criticism section, but...

Some of the criticism offered are really inane.

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.

Suppose this is true. How is only helping hundreds of people a grounds for criticism?

When the money a charitable organization has received is enough to help an awful lot more than hundreds of people, and it only helps hundreds, that is reasonable grounds for criticism. The best (for MT) interpretation of this is that her charity was incompetently run. Michael Voytinsky 00:59, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
In fact, the money not used to help an awful lot more (and instead, to misappropriate it to mission elsewhere, thereby furthering her own interests) is the same as taking it away from the needy it was supposed to help (by the people giving the money). AFAIR, Chatterjee even claims that no money whatsoever was used to help the poor (instead, pledged material goods where used). Large amounts of money were, however, transferred to Rome, primarily from the US where spenders where led to believe that the money goes straight to the poor. Collecting millions upon millions for the poor and then serving this help no more than lip service is questionable at best. I call it fraud.

She's critized for opposing abortion. Where's the controversy in that? There's probablly over a billion people on this planet that oppose abortion. I think criticism sections she deal with criticism of genuine flaws not merely political opininions that some people happed to disagree with.

She is criticized for spending too much money on missionary work. While the article should accurately describe how much of her resources were spent on missionary work and how much on helping people, this should not be a criticism. It should be delt with outside of the criticism section, and readers can form their own opinions as to the appropriateness of her spending.

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."

Without the context it is imposible to tell if the above quote was meant to be approving of the governments policy or if it was simply Teresa's opinion of the factual result of the policy. --Heathcliff 02:39, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

Heathcliff, what is notable about the criticism, and I would say valid, is that she has this angelic, beatific reputation, and an outrageously overblown reputation helping the sick, but she appears to have done so little in comparison to her reputation. When they hear "hospitals", people think of places to get help with injuries, illnesses, diseases, and what we would call medical care. But many say the sick got next to nothing. They were prayed over, but not really care for medically. Which leads' to the more serious point: that she -- to many -- seems to have raised gobs, and gobs, of money, hand over fist, allowing people to think they were providing money for said medical care, while standing by smilingly allowing them to believe a lie.
They are NOT criticising her for only helping a few people. They are criticising her for appearing world-wide as this vision of goodness, willingly accepting praise and reputation for something she had to have known was not true. Paul Klenk 16:02, 31 August 2005 (UTC)


I also think it is great there is a criticism section - but this is ridiculous. By word count, 40% of the article is criticism. That's great that some of you have a bone to pick with MT, but do you really think this article is *neutral*? How many times does this article mention diversion of funds? The MT article should not spend so much time repeating (over and over again) views that are held by so few journalists, historians, and commentators. Read the newspaper or a biography, ask other people - Mother Teresa is a very very NON controversial figure. This article is a joke. I added a NPOV check to the article. Editors should read the Wikipedia policy on Neutral Point of View - especially Undue Weight (Anonymous User) 12:00, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

a "joke" would be to assert that there is undue weight on criticism, without making any argument for why the level of criticism is undue. also, while citing unspecified "other people" is impressive, i suspect a better approach is to cite actually existing people, as is done in the criticisms section of the article.

OK, I'm coming into this discussion a bit late, but really. Anyone who claims that MT is uncontroversial, let alone "very very NON controversial", is living with a head firmly buried in the sand. Rossini was a rather uncontroversial person. Ivan Lendl was a very uncontroversial person. But if someone is being fast-tracked for sainthood while investigative reporters the world over are raising serious arguments against the person in question's public image and the validity of the "miracle" on which the beatification was based, how could one reasonably claim that the person is uncontroversial? The Anonymous User (above) might have no doubt about MT's character and legacy, and that might be true for many, but for someone to be uncontroversial, that lack of doubt must be almost universally held. --Slashme 12:04, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm coming in even later, but I think it's important to note FWIW that Gallup has soundly, smack-down rated Mother Teresa as the most popular person in the 20th century. (And yes, I know that their research methods didn't float down from heaven on a cloud, but so what?) So, yeah, there are criticisms, and we should know about them. But if half or a third of this article is going to be MT-bashing, then a wikipedia article for, say, Jimmy Carter or Marilyn Monroe should consiste exclusively of criticisms. We have to give some respect to what kind of information the average reader is looking for, and indicate avenues to to find the information they weren't looking for, but ought to know about. Ethan Mitchell 02:50, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Moving criticisms to Political Views

I agree with those above that political views is not grounds for an encylopedic section labeled criticism. I think criticism sections should be more reserved for ideologies, policies, politicial views, and philosophies rather than people. Ideologies, policies by their nature warrant criticism and can have a 'criticism section', whereas a section of criticisms of people tends to just be selective agenda-driven, dislike for the person or their views. I mean, its one things to have a criticism section in a pro-life article, but a criticism section for each and every publicly pro-life person for being pro-life? That's too POV in my opinion. I'm sure those who put her political views on abortion are quite hypocritical and would oppose a pro-lifer criticizing every single outspoken supporter of abortion or safe sex or whatnot. Controversial issues involving a person should be incorporated in different sections such as say "Controversy over Missionary Work" or "Funding Incident", not a Criticism section - anonymous one

I have two comments on the statement "Teresa also campaigned tirelessly against divorce, insisting it should be made illegal; she organized an unsuccessful campaign to keep the Irish ban on divorce in 1996. However, when Diana, Princess of Wales divorced, she spoke approvingly of it in a magazine interview. [4]" in the Political and social views section. 1) The sentence makes it appear that MT was quoted as supporting divorce, rather than expressing sympathy for Diana's difficult marriage. 2) The link to supporting documentation is to a web-page that is filled with additional criticism of MT. This seems disingenious. Either link it to the article itself or something less pointed. Unfortunately the only reference I could find was http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9606/public.html which is more pro-MT but probably is a more balanced treatment of the issue. OnLooker 14:48, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

Photo

That picture is very odd. Apparently it is a photo of a tapestry, but it looks like it was taken from an angle. Even an old black and white picture would be better. -Willmcw 03:42, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

  • Yes, I was completely surprised by it; a strange angle. Krupo July 9, 2005 19:20 (UTC)

Critcism takes up more than half the article!

It is ridiculous that the criticism of Mother Teresa takes up half the article! If the critics want to write so much then a page of criticisms should be created with just the main points of critcism on the main page.

No, 50% is well-balanced, in fact. Criticism is of course a central aspect of the reception of MT. In fact, as the article is now (Nov 2005), it is imbalanced, as most of it oozes admiration.

I know that Catholics and Christians seem to be hated by many liberals/socialists the world over but this is just sick how you people are vilifying this very holy woman. She was and is a true saint regardless of what you haters out there think. Dwain 22:23, August 22, 2005 (UTC)

How is valid criticism of a person "ridiculous"? Because you don't want to hear it? Additionally, many Catholics/Christians ARE liberals/socialists, so your argument that these groups hate Christians is bunk. I believe the group you're trying to scapegoat is atheist/secularist. Cog05 22:13 August 27, 2005

How is asking someone if they want to repent their sins and have a blessing anything to be criticized? And now the super liberal, atheist, Hitchens is an authority on Mother Teresa? He believes that the Ten Commandments are immoral. Should the criticism of a loon like really be included in this article or any for that matter? Who cares what that idiot has to say about Mother Teresa? Criticisms are being invented by you libs! And no, I'm talking about you liberal socialists because they are the secular atheists. Dwain 04:14, August 30, 2005 (UTC)


Hmmm, I'm an atheist myself, but definitely not a socialist or "liberal." Seems to me you should pay attention to some of the differences before you throw accusations around.
Perhaps more importantly, you might want to read Hitchens's book. While I found some of his positions a little weak (that, for example, Teresa was able to see the problems inherent in overpopulation, but continued to condemn family planning in any form), most of his criticisms are well documented, such as her praise for some dubious political leaders, the concentration-camp-like conditions in many of her homes, the mystery of where all the money went (when it obviously didn't go to medical care), and her unequivocal criticism of divorce except for her celebrity friends. Teresa was obviously a very cunning person, and earned lots of money for the church by implying it went to medical care in India, whereas it went into the church's general fund instead. (Hitchens does not say this is "bad" because he dislikes religion, only because it was a bait-and-switch tactic.)
I agree with you, giving people a blessing by itself may be harmless, but (Hitchens asserts) the real scandal is how many people were allowed to die without any medical attention or palliatives. Many would have recovered, had they seen a doctor, and many probably went to Teresa's home imagining they would receive proper medical treatment. With the hundreds of millions of dollars — and possibly much more — she collected in the name of the sick, Teresa never built a single hospital. A "very holy woman," indeed. ProhibitOnions 15:34:37, 2005-08-31 (UTC)

As a Christian leftie who is decidedly not an atheist, I would also take exception to the equation of liberalism with secularism. Jesus was, after all, the prototypical Communist :P Carolynparrishfan 17:18, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Dwain, the whole blessing thing wasn't what I was talking about, as others have said, it was pretty much harmless. What I took issue with was the fact that people were mislead into thinking that donations were going towards medical care for these people, and it wasn't. Giving credit where credit is due though, Mother Theresa did tend to the emotional needs of her patients. But I don't think that excuses the fact that these people weren't getting adequete medical care with all of that money coming in. Also Dwain, I'm pretty sure an atheist is secular by association, while not nessecarily liberal or socialist. =) Cog05 19:48 September 16, 2005

Mother Teresa promoting suffering - From a Christian point of view - I believe that suffering is an important part of Christianity. Many Christians believe that through suffering, we grow closer to God. Because we suffer, we realize that the only thing that we can rely on is God himself. However, embracing suffering and taking joy in suffering does not necessarily mean resignation to suffering or abnegation. Instead, it means to learn and grow from it.
Yes, from a Christian POV. From a more humanistic POV, suffering is something to be minimized. That's why we do such wacky things as use anesthesia during surgery. Her support for suffering is why I've made a point of removing her from lists of humanists (and would be skeptical of her being considered a humanitarian, in general).
The Christian POV certainly deserves mention in this article, but it shouldn't be the only POV represented. Alienus 18:50, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Citizenship

Hi there. I've had absolutely nothing to do with this article, but was surfing by when I happened to see William's recent edit of the sentence about the postage stamp. I'm not entirely certain of this, but I seem to remember Teresa was indeed an Indian citizen. I'll see if I can find out.—Encephalon | ζ  22:32:37, 2005-08-22 (UTC)

Hm. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica's Guide to the Nobel Prizes, she indeed was an Indian national, William. See the line just below the photograph in this article.—Encephalon | ζ  22:40:11, 2005-08-22 (UTC)

OK, then call her an Indian citizen. But to simply call her an "Indian" glosses over her actual heritage. Have other, non-native Indians had the privilege (excluding the UK monarch, of course)? -Willmcw 22:43, August 22, 2005 (UTC)
Hey there. Sorry, I read your User name as William, somehow. It's Willmcw. About this issue, I don't have any vested interest whatsoever in it either way; I saw what I thought might be a factual error, and asked about it. Your idea is intriguing, however. One wonders: can immigrants never be called, simply and without qualification, sons and daughters of their new homes? Is a Briton who happens to be of Chinese descent never "really" British, but merely a "UK citizen"? Is an American who happens to be of Korean descent always doomed to be an "American citizen," never just, simply and beautifully, an American? Would it make a difference if he were of Irish descent? And what about, as you put it, "non-native Indians" who call that country home? Was the Italian widow of one of the Gandhis, who received as I recall more votes than any other politician in the recent elections, considered anything other than an Indian by the majority of her people? All interesting questions. For my own part I've always looked at this quite simply: a person who considers the country of his citizenship to be his "home" in a deeply important sense, is, simply, X (where X is American, or British, or Indian, or Australian, etc). This is to some extent dependent on the homogeneity of the native population. However, "heritage" is the detail, not the kernel; where Teresa and this article are concerned, certainly the page does so excellent a job of delineating her personal story that an edit saying she was Indian, which I believe is what she always considered herself to be, looks to me perfectly honest. It is difficult to see that it "glosses over her heritage," when her birth and childhood are actually described in rich and welcoming detail; conversely, a reluctance to call her simply the way she called herself throughout her long life reflects a certain POV that I find difficult to understand.
Anyway, I'd rather not introduce edits here, Willcmw; I spoke to clarify a factual question. We've never, as I recall, had the pleasure of a discussion before this, but you have a reputation for insight, skill, and fairness that precedes you. I'm sure that the regular editors of this article and you will do what's best for the piece. Kind regards—Encephalon | ζ  23:59:59, 2005-08-22 (UTC)
The current text, "She was the first and only person to be featured on an Indian postage stamp while still alive," looks fine to me. Thanks. Cheers, -Willmcw 05:13, August 30, 2005 (UTC)

Christopher Hitchens

I'm afraid that some of the contributors to this article are being disingenuous. To rely quite heavily upon the arguments of Christopher Hitchens for criticism against Mother Teresa and yet not let the reader know that Hitchens is working from an avowed atheistic and anti-religion bias is in and of itself biased.

Then to erase anything that clarify's (sic) where Hitchen's background is out and out collusion. This matter has to be resolved. Dwain 19:21, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

A couple of guidelines you may want to familarize yourself with before saying people are colluding are : Assume good faith and There is no cabal. --JPotter 22:57, August 31, 2005 (UTC)
I repeat: Have you read the book? It's easy to complain about the "bias" of someone you plainly don't agree with, but Hitchens' book is not unsupported ranting. Hitchens is a critic of MT, and it is his criticism that is the issue. Nothing wrong with saying he's an atheist, but your rather shrill insert "The atheist and anti-religion..." isn't exactly neutrality.
Just wondering, who else do you think should carry a disclaimer? ProhibitOnions 20:29:41, 2005-08-31 (UTC)
Hello? Can you read? On Wikipedia's own article on Mr. Hitchens it says "he despises religion," my "anti-religion" terminlogy is mild compared to that. People who read this article on Mother Teresa won't necessarily go to Hitchens' article to find out what his views are on religion so by not included a relevent description of so vehement a critic of Mother Teresa, and one who is made mention to more than once, is a deliberate ommision.
The reason I removed the appelations is that it is more neutral (and more persausive) to show why Hitchen's arguments are bad, rather than calling him names. --JPotter 22:50, August 31, 2005 (UTC)
Stating two facts that are listed on his own article are not calling him names. He seems quite proud in fact of his atheism and his stance on religion. You state that it is more "persausive" to leave out important facts about the accuser? And what do you call that? I call that deliberately trying to persaude people to believe that Mother Teresa is the person Hitchens says she is and that is called POV! Wake up. If I started adding criticism about President Clinton on his article based on the arguments or book by someone but didn't include that this person was a "conservative Republican" or one who called for Clinton's impeachment, I'm pretty sure that you would think it wouldn't be right to try and persaude people without given those pertinent facts. Think about it. Dwain 03:59, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
I think you need to take a breath, calm down and be more WP:CIVIL. It is more persausive to detail the failings of Hitchen's criticisms than to merely state that he is anti-religious. One's religiousity is not relevant, the merit of one's criticism is. --JPotter 19:36, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
Well, it is obvious you don't know what you are talking about and that you are trying to sway people to a certain conclusion which of course is Point of View! The fact that at least two of the three people going after the integrity of Mother Teresa are atheists is relevant. The fact that Hitchen's is fanatically anti-religious is relevant. The fact that ProhibitOnions is an atheist is relevant. The fact that you are trying to say that I am bei ng uncivil to you is RELEVANT too. I have been very civil to you I haven't called you any names but it seems like you are getting it all planned out that if I don't quaintly go away and stop my arguing over this matter you will try to imply that I have been uncivil. Dwain 04:02, September 2, 2005 (UTC)

How is Hitchens' atheism relevant when he details non-religious facts like her order's financial improprieties? One need not be a flaming liberal to disgree with Prez Bush. You seem to want to demonize Hitchens' beliefs rather than his argument. Red Darwin 16:12, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

First off how am I trying to demonize Hitchens? By revealing two basic points that are listed on the Wikipedia's own article about? Secondly you are calling his accusations facts on the one hand and this article states as another complaint that neither her charity or the Vatican would reveal their financial handlings to people like Hitchens. Just because Hitchens makes accusations does not mean that they are true. On this page people have complained that M. Teresa didn't build any hospitals. She openned hospices these are different than hospitals.

My main complaint is taking up half the article with complaints they should be summarized and then have links to details about each complaint on their own page or pages. My secod suggestion was to clarify where Hitchens POV is coming from. He obvious went into this research starting out with a negative point of view. Why? Because he is an atheist who does not like religion or as stated on his article page "despises religion." If you say you don't understand why that is relevant I won't believe you.

I am not suggesting to remove realistic criticisms about her or her or group but I think the context of the few people making these drastic allegations should be included. Hitchens has strong negative beliefs at the outset towards Mother Teresa just the trashy, vulgar play on words of his book tells us that. Dwain 20:52, September 2, 2005 (UTC)

I'm not suggesting removal of realistic criticisms about this page, but I think the context of the few people making these drastic allegations should be included. Dwain has strong positive beliefs at the outset towards Mother Teresa; just the violent hostile words of his posts tell us that.
To deal with someone instead of their arguments is argumentum ad hominem, and to say that "Well, it is obvious you don't know what you are talking about" and telling people to "Wake up." is uncivil and a bit ad hominem itself. Let's keep to the facts of the discussion and avoid accusing the people behind it.--Prosfilaes 08:24, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
As I mentioned before, there's nothing wrong with mentioning that Hitchens is an atheist, though this should not be written as a disclaimer, as some of Dwain's edits have read, and it should not be the first thing said about him. I should mention that I like Dwain's last edit to the first paragraph, in which he quotes Hitchens' strong condemnation, without going into detail about who he is.
It should also be mentioned that Hitchens did not choose the title for his book (The Missionary Position), and he has spoken of his unhappiness with it; his preferred title ("Sacred Cow"), while also provocative, at least is relevant in terms of the Indian context and the taboo against criticizing Mother Teresa. ProhibitOnions 12:20:37, 2005-09-05 (UTC)

The fact that someone is atheist or "anti-religion" does not necessitate these accusations that he would somehow forge information or discredit her on secular grounds. --AWF

Plagiarism

Most of the criticism section is taken from rotten.com without citation.

Can you cite some specific sentences? I read through the rotten.com article and didn't see any clear cut cases of plagiarism, but I probably just missed it, so if you could be more specific? Let me also add that it could very well be rotten.com that copied parts of this article when they wrote their. Most of the criticism section here dates back to 2003, I think, (was subject to lot's of flaming and controversy), and I believe the rotten.com article was written this year. But I could be wrong, and we should take copyright violations seriously. Shanes 06:52, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
The Rotten article uses text snippets copied from our article, not vice versa. You can verify this by going back in the history of this article and seeing that the words change over time, but the Rotten phrases are static and taken from a specific point in this article's history. silsor 07:05, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

The rotten.com article on Mother Theresa was written in 2002. It was not plagiarized from the Wikipedia entry. 216.218.244.9 14:34, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I looked again at the text I was using for comparison before, the bit about Keating and the $252 million, and I think I was wrong about it being original to Wikipedia - the edits I was looking at earlier were not the first source of it. It seems to have come in here in the history and may very well have been copied from the Rotten article. That text is no longer present in the article and I can't find anything else that might have been copied from Rotten. Are there any copyright problems still here? silsor 20:27, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't have time to look through the history right now, but I do know that I added, wrote and researched much of the material about Keating myself. I also note that some photos have been removed. I will have to go in later to restore the deleted material, but it is a shame that this article keeps being attacked, now under the new justification of "plagiarism".--Eloquence* 14:39, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Christian Criticism

I think there should be a mention of the criticism and accusations from Christians of her being pantheist and Universalist, and not truly Christian. For example, here are some links to some criticism based on her various quotes and actions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc... I'm surprised it wasn't even mentioned in the article. Well, somewhat surprised, knowing Wikipedia. Okay, maybe just disappointed. Also the first of the criticism links is broken. 66.41.75.236 05:00, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

And, incorporating this in the criticism section would probably blunt the criticism that Mother Teresa tried pushing Christianity down people's throats. Would lend perspective to the criticism section - Pl. include the facts from the sources listed in a concise manner. --Gurubrahma 06:28, 2 October 2005 (UTC)
Some of the websites you mentioned critisize Mother Teresa on the basis of her catholic faith (belief in transubstantiation ect.) I think it is not necessary to include that in MT's article, since protestant criticism on catholic doctrine is already covered in other articles. Gugganij 10:40, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Citizenship??

The fact that she became a naturalised citizen of India doesn't seem to find mention in the current version of the article. Also, mentioning her as an Albanian in the intro may not be very appropriate, imo. --Gurubrahma 05:16, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

As no response seems to be forthcoming, I've updated the intro. Please feel free to discuss the change below. --Gurubrahma 06:05, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Dr. Overland

Who is Dr. Overland? Is it true that MT credited him? --Slashme 06:02, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I just talked with a reliable historian who confirmed that MT did indeed know Dr. Overland, although he was not very famous due to his quiet nature.--Neoumlaut 06:44, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Wow, "not very famous" is putting it mildly! I can't find any reference to him on the net at all. Can someone supply some facts about him? Where did he work, where did he come from? Was he a medical doctor or a doctor of theology? --Slashme 07:02, 1 December 2005 (UTC)


I would like to apologize sincerely for that horrible breach of etiquette. I was simply filled with rage at the thought that someone questioned the great Dr. Overland's name. Imagine if someone claimed Ghandi was not real. This does not excuse my horrible behaivor, I would like to offer my utmost condolences to all harmed during my terrible deleting spree. --Neoumlaut 07:05, 1 December 2005 (UTC)


The hoax is getting old, my friend. Knock it off, please. Tom Lillis 07:06, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Dear. Sir Tom Lillis, I'm afraid I do not completely understand what you are trying to say. You are saying Dr. Overland's life is a hoax? That he did not at one time exist? That he is not a real living and breathing human being, much like yourself, or Arnold Schwarzenegger? If so, I can assure you that he did indeed live and that I have met with him on several occasions. If you could be more specific about what exactly is this 'hoax' you speak of, I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you for your time. --Neoumlaut 07:18, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Slashme: Dr. Overland worked the field in Psychiatry. For roughly a decade, he was a researcher for a society affiliated with the British Museum in London. He traveled around the world doing research for the potential Museum exhibits for the British Museusm's little known "Millenium Project", which was eventually scrapped. While traveling, he did extensive work in India. That is where he briefly met MT and inspired her in such a way that she credited him with influencing her later works. Unfortunately, this is a little known fact. As a school teacher, I've been campaigning against the school board who for some reason want to deny the existence of the Doctor. Can anyone tell me why?

Thanks for that. Let me just mention that I am very polite, but only somewhat gullible. Maybe you will find more support for your worthy campaign at the Uncyclopedia. --Slashme 07:20, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
You must excuse me if I come off as a little harsh, but I grow incresingly irritated at the thought of you gentlemen making a mockery of this fine man's life. I shall say this once and only once: Dr. Samual L. Overland is not a hoax or any other kind of mysterious person who does not exist! Please take your personal attacks elsewhere, this is a place where we respect other people's lives and ideas. --Neoumlaut 07:26, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! SAM OVERLAND IS A LIVING, BREATHING INDIVIDUAL My colleague alerted me to your utter IGNORANCE. I am astounded that those who support Dr. Overland are being treated like common criminals. This is ridiculous. We have the right to TELL THE TRUTH about Dr. Overland. --Ed seelenbacher 07:29, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

No doubt, you may have the right to tell about him, but you also have the responsibility to adhere to policies here on Wikipedia such as WP:V. You may want to inform your colleague also about our policy here. Thanks a ton for your efforts and have a good day. --Gurubrahma 07:43, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, please cite your sources. --Slashme 07:45, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
File:Overland.JPG
A picture I created that questions the whereabouts of Dr. Samual L. Overland.
Yes, please tell us where we can learn more about Overland and his relationship to MT. I see that user:Neoumlaut's first action was to upload this helpful picture. -Willmcw 07:58, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I also see that, according to his Wikipedia bio, Dr. Overland "received the Nobel Prize for Literature." Funny, but no one told the Nobel Prize committee. -Willmcw 08:02, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

New humanism

For some reason, she was placed in this category. However, nothing in the relevant article on New_Humanism_(Humanist_Movement) suggests that she qualifies or even that her beliefs were compatible. In fact, that article mentions that the movement had conflicts with the RCC, which pretty much rules her out. In any case, she's considering a humanitarian by many, but that's not the same thing as being a humanist.

Edited Divorce

I took the liberty of removing the link and statement claiming Mother Theresa supported Princess Diana's divorce. The website is extremely biased, and not a valid source. The only source that should be given is a direct link to the interview published BY the magazine. It is pure rubbish.Bjford 04:00, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

It's unlikely the interview is online to be linked to. Sites are not invalid sources, just because they disagree with your views. --Prosfilaes 05:12, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
That's irrelevent. I could find (or even create) any site and write an article claiming something that is absolutely false and use it as a source, but the question is, is that truthful? Absolutely not. The matter of fact is that Mother Theresa was a very faithful Catholic, and if she were to support such a divorce it would conflict with the Church's teachings. I have a very personal friendship with several friends of Mother Theresa, and they have all agreed that this statement is not only unlikely, but that if it were true it was taken out of context. So far, I have not found any article with Mother Theresa discussing divorce besides those stated by Salon.com, an extremely left-wing, anti-Catholic website. Therefore, the site is an invalid source. Until somebody provides the article to the readers of this encyclopedia, I will regard this quote as invalid. I am going to change the wording so that the viewer can understand both sides of the issue. Bjford 08:19, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
Many Catholics are left-wing, so that is immaterial. Why do you describe Salon.com as "anti-Catholic"? -Willmcw 09:52, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
Catholics cannot be socially left-wing, or they arn't Catholic, as it contradicts with Catholic theology. This is the reason why the Pope, Catholic bishops, new Catholic saints and holy people, etc. are against things like aboriton, homosexuality, and divorce; these are contrary to Catholic theology. It is possible for one to be liberal and Catholic on other issues, but if it goes against Catholic theology, then you are not Catholic. It is the doctrine of the Catholic Church that one must follow ALL of the church's teachings, not just part of them. Salon.com has posted articles that were anti-Catholic in criticizing the Pope and other Catholic leaders for their stances against abortion, homosexuality, and other social issues (which I have stated is simply Catholic theology), and their position against women priests. At any rate, I like the change on the article. I wrote that Salon was the author of the article because we had no reference to the main one, but that's fine since Wikipedia doesn't seem to source a lot of things anyway. Bjford 20:58, 25 December 2005 (UTC) 20:58, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
Salon is not the author of the article; as a general rule, websites don't write well. People do; in this case, Christopher Hitches wrote the article. I treat your opinion about pro-choice Catholics not being Catholics the same way I treat the opinion that Catholics aren't Christian. It's a fine belief for believers, but non-believers are better off not getting in the middle of doctrinal disputes.--Prosfilaes 17:39, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
Though this is really a red harring, I will provide my source on how this is true:
"It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions... It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the magisterium is totally compatible with being a "good Catholic," and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere."
(Pope John Paul II in his speech to the Bishops in 1987)
As Pope John Paul II said supporting the infallible doctrine of the church, one CANNOT be Catholic and not accept certain aspects of the church. One must accept ALL the truth; not some of it. We can debate all we want about whether or not Catholics are Christian or not, but the fact is that one must accept ALL the doctrine of the Church to be Catholic. There are some Lutherans who have more similarities to Catholics than people who claim they are Catholic do, such as John Kerry. Does that make Lutherans Catholic? Of course not. Following your deranged logic, this seems to be your implication, though. Bjford 03:25, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
Lutherns aren't Catholics because they don't go to Catholic churches and claim to be Catholics. If a church-going Catholic believes that the Eucharist metaphorically becomes the blood and flesh of Jesus, but the substance stays the same (in the sense used on Transubstantiation), does that make them not Catholic? Does it matter how loudly, if at all, they espouse their belief? As an outsider, I feel uninterested and ill-equipped to make such judgement, and will use Catholic as a descriptor of group status, just as someone belonging to a Boy Scout troup is a Boy Scout, even if they don't believe in God. --Prosfilaes 17:50, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
No, they wouldn't be Catholic. They would be following something outside of the Church's doctrine, or heresy. Of course, there are about 40 million nominal Catholics who believe that the Eucharist is only a symbol (most of which do not practice their faith), but this is mostly on account of ignorance, and thus they are not formally following heresy, as most of them believe that this is the Church's teaching or they don't know that they are supposed to believe in such. However, they are de facto non-Catholics. As much as they would like to claim they are, until they accept the truth of the church in its entirety, they are not Catholic. This does not only apply to religious faiths-- it applies to ideologies. One may consider themselves a communist, even though they believe in free enterprise and democracy. They can say what they want, but the truth of the matter is that they are not communists.
As Americans, we often confuse ideologies with factions. Allow me to explain the difference: ideologies are defined by who the individual believes in [edit]. Factions are defined by what the individual belongs to-- groups and sort. One may be ideologically conservative, but a registered democrat. But such an individual cannot be regarded as a liberal, and it would be erroneous for this person to regard himself as such. Now, the Catholicism is of course an idealology and a faction or denomination, however, this faction is based on the presupposition that this individual follows the Catholic ideology, and if the individual does not follow the Catholic ideology, than his membership is invalid. Bjford 04:04, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
As ideologies, neither communism or liberalism demand belief in a wide variety of only marginally connected beliefs, nor do they claim people as soon as they're born.--Prosfilaes 05:40, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Tempered criticism

The quality of the entry on Mother Teresa verges on the juvenile. Criticism of such a historical figure is entirely secondary in the context of an article: the primary purpose of which is to inform about her popular image and why she attained that popular image. Any criticism that is included should at the very least be tempered with a note explaining why she draws these attacks. To whit I included this short note:

“In acknowledging valid and well researched criticism of Mother Teresa, it is also very important to acknowledge the possible biases which can be the motivation for such criticism. Much will stem simply from her religion of Catholicism: India is a country home to and tolerant of many religions, but Hinduism is still supreme. Prone to a nationalistic flavour in some quarters, hostility to other religious groups has been known. And offcourse, hostility toward Catholicism and Catholic demagogues in the west is an institutionalised facet of our post reformation world. Lastly, there is an attitude of iconoclasm to popular modern (almost mythological) figures.”

I understand that it could have been better worded, but cutting it completely is hardly useful. There is naught wrong with a re-examination of the life and legacy of Mother Teresa or any other historical figure, as long as it is both tempered and clearly secondary to the main entry. Without that you may as well be writing a highschool report, regardless of how well supported and widely researched it is. OzoneO 12:24, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I'm the one who cut that text out, so I should reply. First, I've moved your entry down to the bottom, which is where new stuff is normally placed.
I understand your motivation, but what you wrote just doesn't work. It's common for popular and/or controversial people to get a criticism section on Wikipedia, and the contents are often quite harsh. Of course, this isn't necessarily POV, since it can simply be a report of what specific critics have stated. Having done that, there's no need or room for editorializing. At most, what you said could fit if it were stripped down to a short and CITED summary of how her supporters respond to criticism. Alienus 13:24, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
My complaint with that text is that it feels like an ad hominem attack. There's a place in the world for discussion of why people are making arguments, I'm sure, but put at the end of the article it seems to dismiss all the criticsms made before, which isn't NPOV. And it's not like similar arguments can't be made for the other side; most people give people in religious jobs and celebrities the benefit of the doubt where they wouldn't other people.--Prosfilaes 21:03, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
That's a good point. I think you hit on precisely why it seems so out of place there: it looks like a last-ditch defense by poisoning the well. Alienus

Vlach Minority

I see that an anonymous user removed the comment that her father belonged to the Vlach minority, so I reverted that edit, on the grounds that it was removing content without a reason. If this was in error, please discuss it here. --Slashme 11:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Mother Teresa was probably mostly of Albanian origin. Since her family was Roman Catholic and christian Ghegs usually are Roman Catholic. She may have had in addition to Albanian blood, Macedonian and Vlach, but most of the evidence points to her being Albanian. Imperial78

Mother Teresa is also said to be of Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity

Criticisms again

I remember reading a letter sent to the Catholic church speaking out against her beatification which mentioned that the frequently made claims that she rescued people off the streer was largely not true (she rarely did) and which also mentioned a number of physical donation like ambulances were not used for their intended purposes (I believe it was claimed the ambulances were used to ferry members of her order). Does anyone know who this critic was? To me it sounds as if these should be included unless they are completely untrue Nil Einne 13:38, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Missionaries of Charity page

Some of the argument over Mother Thresa appears to have spilled over to the Missionaries of Charity. I feel most of the criticism section is valid but I question the merits of the response of criticism of cricitism section. I have already raises some issues on the Missionaries of Charity talk page. However there is one more issue I want to raise. Most of this section appears to be coming up with the idea that all this criticism of Missionaries of Charities stems from opposition to Mother Thresa. This may be a valid point but I feel it should be very brief and should link here. That is to say any response to criticism and theories behind the motives of critics which are related more or less exclusively to Mother Theresa should be on this page rather then the Missionaries of Charity page because they focus on the idea the critics are doing it because of Mother Theresa. Nil Einne 14:23, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Precipitaion of Credibility

Wikipedia will never be a credible information source if controversy is this rampant. This is a Tumor on what could be a great source of information. With Wikipedia being one of the most read websites on the internet, there needs to be a leash on this type of controversy. The sites listed as controversial on Wikipedia is ASTOUNDING!

The idea that this article raises controversy is petulent and self indulgent. Teresa has been Beatified by Pope John Paul II who Himself has been Beatified by the catholic church. This should not be the source of spiteful negativity. The discussion page alone on this woman comprimises the work she performed and the lives she affected.

These pages perhaps should have content deliberated on and permanently locked. This is an utter waste of time and resources to keep dialogue such as this viewable.

This theory of 'editable by anyone and everyone' must come into question as this site has more than doubled in size in the last eight months.

One step forward and two steps back--- as this site grows in size, The Precipitaion of Credibility continues.chaz171 14:45, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a Catholic encyclopedia; we do not have to follow the opinion of the Catholic church. She's controversial because she has some very pointed critics, and there's no reason for Wikipedia to ignore those critics.
Criticism rarely affects the honest and forthcoming. If discussion on the talk board compromises her work, I have serious questions about the nature of that work.
The content has been deliberated on, and the criticism agreed upon. The article as it stands now is an example of some of the best work of Wikipedia, IMO, and I think the other long-time editors working on the article would generally agree with that.--Prosfilaes 18:13, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
This criticism stuff is some bullshit. Half this article is made up nothing but pure criticism, some of which isn't even relevant? If this is neutral, which it isn't, then we should fill up every other character bio on Wikipedia with criticism on that person. For a random example, take the Dennis Rodman article. I'm sure we could fill up half that with criticism on all the weird stuff Rodman has done, yet in its current state there isn't even a criticism section on it.
Unless someone can backup every single criticism statement on the page with facts, and argue that said criticism is indeed relevant, we should delete it. Or alternatively, add a section describing all the good things she has done. Itake 17:14, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
We have sections describing the good things we've done. Dennis Rodman is a random example; he's a basketball player, not someone on the fast track to sainthood. Mother Teresa did major important things, that drew criticism at the heart of her claim to fame. There's no way to write an NPOV article on her without dealing with those criticisms.--Prosfilaes 01:34, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Random or not, it still serves as a good example. Every single public figure gets criticism these days, but the amount of criticism listed on this article is just absurd.
Also, why did you remove the part about anti-religion? Is the man in question NOT famous for producing stuff that criticises and attacks religion and religious figures? Itake 01:48, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
For consistent indentation, every paragraph must have the same number of colons for it. Every public figure gets criticism, but not every public figure gets encyclopedic criticism. The criticism of Mother Teresa goes to the heart of who she was and what she did and how people saw her, and was thus encyclopedic.
Almost no one else in the article has notes on them describing their beliefs. It's designed to prejudice the reader against him. If you want to know more about him, read the article on him.--Prosfilaes 02:06, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Obviously its relevant to know his stance on religion.Its not designed to prejudice the reader against him, its designed to alert the user to the fact that his publications are usually very anti-religious. Keeping this very relevant information from the user is prejudice against Teresa.

And I don't find this criticism to be encyclopedic at all. Mother Teresa is almost universally accept as a symbol of good things, the people who criticise her is almost exclusively a cadre of leftists with anti-religious views. Itake 02:31, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for sharing your POV. Unfortunately, this article is intended to be neutral, not a reflection of your POV alone, so your beliefs about her critics cannot be stated as fact. Alienus 18:47, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Gypsy Heritage

According to the following website : http://www.imninalu.net/famousGypsies.htm

Mother Theresa's parents were Albanian Gypsies - any thoghts? Ophelia105 19:00, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

If you could find other sources backing this up aswell I think it should be added.
In the New York Times, reporter Ian Fisher wrote, "Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic, while most Albanians are Muslim, and this has opened a crack for speculation about Mother Teresa's actual ethnic roots." So if you want to open this can of worms make sure you have solid sources. Ruby 22:50, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Here are sources for Gypsy Ancestry

http://www.geocities.com/~patrin/timeofthegypsies.htm
http://www.webprincess.com/facab/apr98.htm
http://www.stlouis.missouri.org/501c/gitana/page2D.html
but about 25% are catholics. - Adam Mathias 17:30, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Women's rights

I would like to remove the statement "She also believed in woman's rights." Any objections? KaB 08:44, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I was bold and deleted it. It's overly vague; which rights does she believe in? A brief scan of the linked article didn't reveal a mention of women's rights, as I think of them, once.--Prosfilaes 18:20, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

NPOV policy

This is absolute and non-negotiable. But it means very specific things which some people don't realize.

NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints, in proportion to the prominence of each.
Now an important qualification. Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and may not include tiny-minority views at all (by example, the article on the Earth only very briefly refers to the Flat Earth theory, a view of a distinct minority).
We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view, and views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute.
If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties
Wikipedia should report all major points of views; however, it should do so in proportion to the credibility of the experts holding the various theses.
One measure of a view's importance is the credibility of the experts who hold that view. What makes an expert credible? Some criteria include:
  • the reputation of the expert, the reputation of the tradition within which he or she works, the reputation of the group or institution for which the expert works
  • whether the expert uses the common methods of the field or completely different ones
  • whether the expert has or has not failed to respond to criticisms
  • whether the expert has reputable supporters of his or her claims

I am here to help and I don't have answers. But my question is: how credible are the critics as experts? must the critics have the amount of space they presently have? Lafem 04:34, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi! I have been part of the dispute here a long time ago. It involved mainly Erich Moeller as defender of criticism. I don't know if he is still around here but I recentlty read the Policy you quoted and I think it goes against him and the extensive inclusion of detailed critics stances against MT (because it is a minority view). So I would see no objection if you'd shorten and soften the critics part. gbog 19:44, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
No, the problem you are citing here is that the common view of Teresa as a living saint is not based on "expert" analysis but on religious faith. If you can find a larger number of journalists or scholars who have seriously investigated Teresa and found her to have indeed been a nice person who fed the poor and healed the sick in Calcutta, then fine. But the religious sentiment of large numbers of people does not cancel out the less favorable view of those who investigated her operations rationally; it does not make them a "tiny minority."
BTW, in case you haven't noticed it, the FAQ for this page addresses the points that have been raised above. ProhibitOnions 20:37, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I've added a link to the Gallup surveys of "most admired people." MT is, based Gallup's seven decades of polling the question, the single most admired human being by US citizens, and she holds that title by a very wide margin. It seems odd to me that we need to cite social statistics to defend the claim that "lots of people liked Mother Teresa." If we compare this page to the MLK page (he's Gallup's #2), something is clearly wrong. The MLK page is perhaps 10% criticism, at most, here it is about 40%, almost all of it based on one author, who has his own page. Ethan Mitchell 17:45, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

World of biography

i would like to add external link of her biography from World of biography link This page includes her detailed biography as well as good sketches of her in design. --Kbi911 08:37, 7 February 2006 (UTC)I am now adding link to article --Kbi911 09:50, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Support of dictators

Forgive me if this has been mentioned previously, but her support for various dictators, aside from Miss Gandhi, would make a worthy inclusion. Her endorsement of (and meeting with) the Duvaliers in Haiti is of particular concern. --AWF

"Photo of the house" where she was born

There is a photo available (of where the house originally was) at the Macedonian version of the Skopje entry: http://mk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BF%D1%98%D0%B5 . Maybe someone more knowledgeable would like to insert it.

Done. ProhibitOnions 19:26, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Government census

The article states that the Indian government carried out a census of charitable organizations and said that "no other religious organization in all of India has contributed nearly as much to the well-being of the poor and infirm as the Missionaries of Charity." Is this true? I have not been able to find out anything about it. If it is true perhaps more should be said about it.KaB 11:54, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Nor could I, which is why I added the {{fact}} tag to the assertion some time ago. Since no-one has come forward to verify this, I think it's about time it be removed. ProhibitOnions 13:21, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Criticism section - Undue weight?

I would argue that we have a case of undue weight in this article as it pertains to the "Critism section". Also, it is my impression that this section reads more like an op-ed piece than an encyclopedic article. I believe this section needs substantial copyedit to conform to WP content policies. I would suggest the following to current editors actively involved in the editing of this article:

  1. Summarize the criticism by Aroup Chatterjee and Christopher Hitchens
  2. After summarizing, we coud move most of the content to these author's respective articles
  3. The "Baptism of the dying" does not have any references in regard of the critics that made these arguments neither of the defernders. It speaks of "critics have argued" and "some of Mother Theresa's defenders". That is contrary to WP:V an WP:NPOV
  4. In the "Quality of medical care", there are statements made as fact without proper attribution and/or sources. (e.g. Many of Teresa's donors were evidently under the impression that their money was being used to build hospitals.)

≈ jossi ≈ t@ 18:40, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

BTW: I have read the FAQ, but I think that the above proposal (summarizing and linking to the articles of prominent crtitics) was not made previously. This will mean that we are not creating a POV fork, simply using the articles of the notable critics to expand in their views there, rather than here. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 18:46, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
The criticism doesn't belong on the criticiser's pages. It's about her; it belongs on her page. An encyclopedia article should include the POV of her critics. Among the people who has really studied her, she seems to be fairly controversial.--Prosfilaes 01:57, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
It would be more appropriat to say that amongst the people that studied her to criticize her, she seems fairly controversial. There are many other that studied or wrote about her and do not criticize her as Aroup Chatterjee and Christopher Hitchens do. Please note that I am not arguing about the deletion of the criticism from this article, I am arguing for summarizing the critic's POV here and expand it in the author's pages, as some of their notability as authors—if not all as in the case of Chatterjee—is based in their criticism of Mother Theresa. The issue is one of undue weight. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 04:33, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Compared to who? The people who were already convinced she was a saint before they started studying her? I fail to see why devoting 25% of this article (which is all it is) to the fact she was not the divine hand of God is undue weight.--Prosfilaes 06:19, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I have posted this above, but as I now understand it, mostly the bottom of the Talk pages are "Active?" MT was solidly polled by Gallup as the most admired person alive, across all demographic groups in their surveys, both inside and outside the U.S. (though most of the polls took place inside the U.S.) We are not just talking about Catholics, nor are we talking about people who MT's critics might dismiss as generally ill-informed. In Gallup's final weighting of all such polls for a seventy-year-long period, MT handily beat the runner-up by around 150%. I will be the first to admit that Gallup's methods are not great, and used to be much worse, but that is almost beside the point in the face of these kind of numbers. Granted, admiration is not the same thing as analysis. But I think it is difficult to justify the idea that two critics should essentially get equal time with the general bio of someone who was admired by literally billions of people. Sure, it's an ad populum argument, but it's a really BIG ad populum argument. I would like to see us keep the criticisms on this page, trim them down to their basic elements, and if people using the page want to follow up, they are more than capable of doing so. Wikipedia is not the Drudge Report. Ethan Mitchell 18:38, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Since when is a short bit on the bottom of the article "equal weight"? You can't justify an invalid argument by putting extra emphasis; the uninformed opinions of billions of people are useless.--Prosfilaes 18:46, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't know if I would call it "a short bit on the bottom." It's currently about 1/3 of the article proper. Moreover, some of the criticism section definitely seems over-long for the claims at hand. Any critique of someone's motives, for example, must neccesarily be a matter of opinion, and yet we have three paragraphs critiquing MT's motives, based solely on the opinion of two people. Also, the question around baptism of the dying--unless someone comes forward with a bona fide complaint--is strictly a matter of theological and moral opinion, and again, we have three paragraphs devoted to the opinions of two people.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "an invalid argument" in this context. The argument is that MT was very, very, widely considered to be an admirable person, and that her coreligionists (and some others) considered her to be a holy person as well. This is unarguably the case, as both a cursory glance at any of her biographies and Gallup's seventy years of polling serve to show. That does not mean that her entry should not contain criticism, obviously. But the criticisms in this case are relatively minor and not widely accepted. (Although I happen to agree with most of them). They are interesting not so much in and of themselves, but in contrast to her great reputation, as Hitchens himself points out. I think it is POV (undue weight) for we the editors to say "there are two critics who haven't been especially succesful in changing her reputation, but we think that those criticisms are sound, so we're going to spend 1/3 of the article talking about them." Ethan Mitchell 19:08, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Devoting 25% of the article to the POV of two critics, is what I refer to as undue weight and in breach of NPOV. My proposal still stands:
  1. Summarize the criticism
  2. Move the details of the criticism to the critic's page, particularly as their notability is directly related to the criticism of this person.
≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:20, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Changed by Jossi

I just undid a bunch of changes made by Jossi, all of which served to whitewash Mother Teresa's reputation. This included repeated slandering of Hitchens and an attempt to keep issues out of the TOC. I thought this article was supposed to be neutral! Alienus 18:27, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Since when ist is "slandering" quoting from the Hitchens article? Form Hitchens articl's lead:
Hitchens is known for his iconoclasm, anti-clericalism and atheism, anti-fascism and anti-monarchism. He is also noted for his acidic wit and his noisy departure from the Anglo-American political left.
Restoring edits. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:05, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

My edits, explianed again.

  1. Undue weight on TOC
  2. Characterizaton of Hitckens as per his article in Wikipedia, for context.
  3. Requesting sources/references for assertions made in the article as facts
  4. Proper attribution of assertions

Please note that I am not a "fan" of Mother Theresa (I am Jewish, for god's sake), but in reading the article a few days ago, I realized that there are several issues that were not compatibe with WP:NPOV and WP:V, so I attempted to address them. If editors disagree with these edits, please discuss them one by one rather than saying "reversed massive whitewash" as the reason. Please WP:AGF. Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:10, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

1) Undue compared to what? Third-level topic headings all get the same weight.

2) Repeated negative characterization is way, way over the top.

3) You'll notice that I attributed his words to him, thus avoiding the [citation needed] mark of shame.

4) Did that.

In short, your reversion was entirely unwarranted. Moreover, your original changes followed discussion here in which the consensus did not support you. Alienus 19:15, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I just looked at the Hitchens article, and it's a mess. It's been edited back and forth along partisan lines, and it shows. For example, in the line you quote, a single list has two "and"s, showing that the second section was inserted crudely after fact. Frankly, until they get their act together, we should be caution about quoting anything from that article. Alienus 19:52, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
So, you are saying that I cannot edit an article unless I get consensus for what I wan to add or remove? If the article of Hitchens is a mess, it still does not change the fact that his writings anre anti-clerical and iconolastic. A for the undue weight in TOC, it is a clear breach of NPOV, taking 50% of the TOC, and a know subterfuge to push a POV. My poposal above, to which you have not responded is to summarize the criticism as it is based on three persons only and does not deserve 30% of the article, another aspect of undue weight. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:58, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm saying that when you make some suggestions in Talk and get strong disagreement, it should not be your immediate reaction to run out and implement those suggestions. The lack of agreement is a hint that others will roll back your undesirable changes. Take a hint. 20:30, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Strong disagreement? Yours, you mean? ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:57, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Uh, no. Go look at the history. I wasn't even involved in this discussion.

What actually happened was that Prosfilaes rejected your proposal, explaining his objection at length, then Ethan Mitchell offered you some mixed support. This was not a green light for you to add repeated criticisms of Hitchens, hide section headings or otherwise implement your grand plan for concealing the extent of the criticism.

Once you did make those really bad changes, I noticed and reverted them. Then, instead of waiting for some sort of consensus, you immediately reverted my clean-up, inciting Prosfilaes to remove some of the worst parts. I followed up by removing the second instance of Hitchens-bashing and restoring a mysteriously deleted sentence.

Now you're making small changes to add pro-Teresa spin to the article, without any discussion. This is not how you act in good faith. Alienus 21:09, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Rather that questioning my good faith, please re-read the discussion above. As said before, I have no bias either pro or con on the subject of this article. Just that I found it peculiar that (a) the crticisism was stated as it it was widespread, when it is not and (b) that there were several sentences in that section that where neither attributed POVs, nor supported by references. Once more: I do not have a bias or interest in whitewashing this article. None whatsoever. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:15, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I can't read your mind, but I can see your actions. So think what you will, but constrain your actions to what is acceptable in this context. Alienus 21:19, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I also find it peculiar that you consider Hitchen-bashing, stating that he is a contrarian and an iconoclast. I would argue that, to the contrary, these are his politics and his strenght as a writer. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:17, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not a fan of Hitchens. I'm also not tolerant of repeatedly quoting an ungrammatical string of insults. Alienus 21:19, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Proposal for consideration

Given that the main critics are Dr. Aroup Chatterjee, and Christopher Hitchens, I propose to create two subections under criticism, labeled: "Aroup Chatterjee" and "Christopher Hitchens" where we list their POVs, as well as "Other" if waranted by other notable critics. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:22, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I've got a counter-proposal. How about we move all critiicism of Teresa to its own article, entitled "Completely Frivolous Criticisms of The Sainted Mother Teresa", and link to it with the text "Don't Bother Clicking Here"?
Seriously, why are you suggesting the creation of a criticism ghetto? Look at what happened with the Mormon equivalent. Alienus 20:35, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I will ignore the sarcasm, as it not conducive to editing. My proposal is based on the fact that there are two notable critics, whose POV is presented already, piecemeal. I for example, did not know anything bout these critics until last week when I read the article. the first impression was "wow, she has faced strong criticism". Them after exploring further, realized that she had two notable critics worth citing. Think of the reader, is my motto. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:44, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

In other words, just as I suggested, you want to isolate the criticism so was to minimize its impact. No thanks. Alienus 20:48, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

That is your assumption. I find the criticism fascinating. Only that the way it is stated now, it seems that there is widespread criticism when it that is not factually accurate. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

No, that is my conclusion based on the foreseeable consequences of your suggested changes. I join Prosfilaes in strongly opposing your suggestions. Alienus 21:12, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Unless you like having your changes reverted, I'm going to recommend that you stop making them until you can address the reasonable compaints that have been made here. This is not the time to be bold. Alienus 21:17, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
A hint of a threat? I understood your point, so I just added some text to the lead of the Criticism section. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:19, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

No threat. You've already seen that when you act against the consensus, your changes don't survive. Unless you like this, you should seek a consensus before you act. Alienus 21:20, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

It was threat that you dully enacted. Reverting my edits, using popups is NOT considered good manners. As an admin, I will never use the rollback button to revert an edit on an article I am editing, and you should do the same. ≈ jossi ≈ t@
I will ask the assistance of other neutral editors. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:22, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Bringing in other editors was something you should have done a while back, before making all of these changes. As for reverting your latest round of unwelcome changes, I am entirely unapologetic. See my response to your likewise unwelcome intrusion on my talk page. Alienus 21:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

You are welcome to revert whatever you want, if that is your style. But using popups to revert my edit, is unnacceptable behavior. "God mode" scripts should be used to revert vandalims only. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:42, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I've addressed this on my talk page and I'm not interested in repeating myself. Alienus 22:04, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Deletion

You deleted my edit as follows:

"The criticism of Mother Theresa is mainly represented by three individuals: Dr. Aroup Chatterjee, an Indian-born writer living in Britain, , who had briefly worked in one of Mother Teresa's homes, British journalist, Christopher Hitchens, known for his iconoclasm and anti-clericalism writings, and Dr. Robin Fox, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet."

Why? is that innacurate? Are there other critics beside these three notable people? If so, it will be good to list them, if not, I would appreciate if you restore my edit. Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:42, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

My problem with this paragraph, besides the fact that you inserted it prematurely while the topic was under active debate, is that it misleads people into thinking that there's just this unholy trinity of freaks who bash Mother Teresa, and the rest of the world thinks she's wonderful. This turns out not to be the case.
With very little effort, I was able to find the following links, each of which includes criticism of Mother Teresa from individuals other than the three you mention:
  1. http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/religion/mother-teresa/
  2. http://www.texnews.com/1998/religion/morph0117.html
  3. http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/religion/mother_teresa.html
  4. http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/01/04/reviews/980104.04sherryt.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
  5. http://www.edthibodeau.com/nonplussed/2003/10/mother_teresa_r.html
  6. http://www.saintmychal.com/story057.htm
  7. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Teresa/Teresa_Assisi.asp
  8. http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=shields_18_1
The last is from notable former nun Susan Shields, who served in Mother Teresa's order. It supports the earlier contention that, when it comes to Mother Teresa, familiarity breeds contempt. Most people know next to nothing about her, but have a generic positive view. Of those who've actually looked into her life without overwhelming pro-religious bias clouding their view, opinions tend to be much more negative. Alienus 22:04, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the list. here are my comments, in order:
  1. Non notable personal home page, uncitable as a reliable source
  2. Good report presenting Susan Shields. We ought to add to the article her POV as reported.
  3. I don't know what to make of this link. Is it an Amazon-like customer review. Is the author notable?
  4. Subscription-only page. Could not access it.
  5. Blog. Not notable, uncitable as a reliable source
  6. Copy of Newsweek article reporting on Hitchens criticism
  7. Could not find criticism of Mother Theresa there besides this "A government critic once told Mother Teresa she would do better to give people rods and teach them to fish than to give them fish." ??
  8. Article by Susan Shields
In summary, besides the material related to Susan Shield, I do not see any substantiation that there are other critics than the named ones in the article.
So, unless you can find documentation to the contrary, I would appreciate you restore my edit, adding Susan Shields, that is. Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:49, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Alienus added "Among the most notable are..." as a prefix to the introduction of the critics. This implies that there are other notable critics. Who are those? ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:15, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I'll start with the one you didn't even read. It's a review of a few books, most relevant being this one. Alienus 03:19, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Let me make my argument clearer:

  1. if there is widespread criticism of MT by notable people worth citing, besides these four individuals, we ought to include them and present their POVs.
  2. if there aren't any other notable people worth citing that level criticism against MT, we ought to clearly describe that this is the case.

Which one is it? ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:23, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Follow the link. It is to another book that includes substantial criticism, by a person not even mentioned in the list of notable critics. How many critics do you need before you're willing to admit that they exist? Alienus 03:28, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Why is that you keep assuming that I don't want to admit that there are critics? I am just asking a simple question: If there are many notable critics, readers would want to know about them, me included. When I came to this article for the first time a few days ago, I found three critics's POV taking 30% of the article, and I asked how can this be?. If there are 100's of notable critics, should not we inform our readers of this fact? Something along the lines "Hundreds of authors and scholars have leveled criticism against Mother Theresa and her order. Among the most notable are..." ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 04:01, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I have been following this debate and the activity on the article. My role on this article has been primarily in reverting vandalism, but I always felt that this article can be improved a lot more. I agree with Jossi on the direction of his edits - the content itself may be open to debate but I feel that this is a step in the right direction. Also, it helps to stay cool, given the nature of this topic. --Gurubrahma 04:09, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Content is precisely the issue for me. We have an unusual case here in that the subject of the article is so highly praised that she's become a cliche. It's not uncommon to hear people say things like, "Hey, I'm no Mother Teresa, but I do volunteer once a month at the clinic."
All this is further complicated by religious and national considerations, particularly her fast track to sainthood and the matter of proselytizing to the heathens under the cover of helping them. As a result, there are countless people willing to speak well of her, even when they don't really know more than her reputation, and a few who've been exposed first-hand, or have done extensive research, and have wound up with a less positive impression. It doesn't help that her best known critic is, to be frank, a drunken asshole. He's the sort of idiot you'd wish upon your worst enemy.
In the end, the article can't be a hagiography, but it also can't be a cesspool of alcoholic rage. The real issue isn't what percentage of the text is dedicated to criticism, but whether the article remains NPOV yet factual and honest.
That's my nickel's worth. Alienus 04:28, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
That's the spirit: to remain NPOV, we ought to where there are or have been conflicting views, these are fairly presented, but not asserted. All significant points of view are presented, not just the most popular one. It is not asserted that the most popular view or some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one. Readers are left to form their own opinions. (my highlight). Furthermore:NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints, in proportion to the prominence of each. Now an important qualification. Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and may not include tiny-minority views at all (by example, the article on the Earth only very briefly refers to the Flat Earth theory, a view of a distinct minority). We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view, and views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. And finally: Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties.. (my highlights). SO to maintain NPOV we should do as the policy states that we have to consider the percentage of the article dedicated to the competing views. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 04:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
You've been overcharging again: I wouldn't pay $1 for a rehash of stuff that's barely relevant.
As I explained (in my own words, no less), this is not a matter of crazy flat-earthers trying to mess up a perfectly good article. Rather, it's an article about a genuinely controversial figure, with non-crackpots writing magazine articles and biographies that are critical of her.
If explaining this criticism fairly and accurately can be done in less space, fine. If not, also fine. NPOV is more important than magic ratios. Alienus 04:50, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
You are still not responding to my concerns, which I repeat again:
  1. if there is widespread criticism of MT by notable people worth citing, besides these four individuals, we ought to include them and present their POVs.
  2. if there aren't any other notable people worth citing that level criticism against MT, we ought to clearly describe that this is the case.
I would appreciate a response to these arguments, rather than a dismissal based on an assessment about these arguments being or not being relevant, or on a rather unique interpretation of what NPOV means. Otherwise how will be ever agree on moving forward?≈ jossi ≈ t@ 17:10, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Why can't we let their arguments stand on their own? It's easy to dismiss an argument by marginalizing the arguer, but it's not a valid form of argument. Why not quote her defenders, if she has any?--Prosfilaes 18:23, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I am not marginalizing the critics. On the contrary. If there are a large number of critics, let's descibe their POVs. If there are only a few, let's describe these as well. If the criticism is widespread and verifiable, we need to let the readesrs know. If the criticism is relegated to a small number of individuals, should not we state that for factual accuracy and NPOV? I would argue that these questions are relevant to this and to many articles that have competing views. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 18:39, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

This is getting silly. First you complain that there are only two notable critics. We show you at least two more, and all you do is repeat your complaint. How many notable critics is enough? I'm with Pros on this; let the arguments stand on their own, without your repeated attempts to isolate and marginalize. We're done here. Alienus 19:04, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

No, we are not done. I thought that Wikipedia works on consensus and when there are disputes, we discuss them here until there is agreemment. Gurubrahma is of the opinion that this discussion is worth having. Identifying the critics is crucial. Is the criticism relegated to a few individuals? If so, let us describe their POVs. Is the criticism widespread? If so, let us inform the readers. These are good questions that will enable us to decide on the weight of these in the article itself. And please, stop using "we" as if you are representing more than one person. As we are 50/50 on this discussion and there is no clear consenus, I will place an RfC and invite other editors to comment. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:58, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

RfC Summary

Seeking comments from editors on this issue:

  1. If there is widespread criticism of Mother Theresa, should this be noted in the article?
  2. If the criticism is relegated to four individuals, should this be stated in the article?
  3. Based on the above question, how much weight should it be given to critics' POV in relation to the rest of the article?

≈ jossi ≈ t@

Comments
  • From the look of the above discussion, there appear to be four significant critics of Mother Teresa. A section on criticism would summarize their credentials and arguments. That approach is perfectly fair and NPOV. If editors discover other notable critics then the section could expand. One editor has complained that this implies a belittling tone. With respect to all concerned, I honestly don't see that connotation in the sample text on the talk page. Perhaps the editor who disagrees could propose an alternate wording? Durova 02:50, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
    For the first question, of course yes. (assuming that this is verifiable). For the second question, yes (assuming that they are notable and/or their theories have some following). For the third question, it is tough to answer - however, I feel that criticism should be summarised, classifed and categorised. For example, some criticism is on her catholic beliefs; some of it is on her activities etc. --Gurubrahma 09:45, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
BTW The Susan Shields articles are 8 years old. Has there been any follow-up? Has the organization changed its practices? Durova 17:39, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

If I could chime in briefly...

There are a few people specifically associated with criticism of Mother Theresa, and I think they should be mentioned. But they're not the only notable critics, and there are also plenty of non-notable critics. Given the sales of the Hitchens book, I can't imagine that all the readers dismissed everything he said and remained uncritical of Mother Theresa; blogs and such support this conclusion. The criticism is not a generic complaint about Catholicism but rather about her specific actions. For example, there are Catholics groups that provide high-quality medical care, and there are lots and lots of Catholic hospitals.

As for whether things have changed since her death, all indictions suggest that they have not. Alienus 18:01, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I thought we wanted to ask other editors to comment. But now that you have, I am chiming in as well. Speculation about how many people dismissed or believed Hitchens is inconsequential as it is unverifiable. Non-notable critics, blogs and personal pages, are also incosequential as these are not citable, although we could mention that these exist (there is a blog out there for every darn subject you can imagine). ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:22, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, that doesn't really make sense. If all we want to do is to establish the fact that some other people also criticize MT, anything will do, even a blog. We're not claiming that the content is true, just that it exists. If we wanted something more authoritative, then we'd apply higher standards. Alienus 23:31, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure why the article editors are adding new issues to this RfC. WP:V is clear on the standards for encyclopedic sources. Likewise, the critics in question write specifically about Mother Teresa. That's apparent in the text and there's no need to labor the point. Durova 02:45, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I think we should absolutely note the critics, though I am counting three, not four, in the preceding discussion. I think knowing that two people who have worked with MT don't like her is not tantamount to saying that "those who know her better are more critical;" that would false generalization. Thousands of people have worked with her.

I also think that the criticisms levelled against MT fall into two categories. First, there is a real question of fiscal accountability, quality of care, and scope of care. If MT's homes were much smaller and shabbier than is generally imagined by the public, that's a very important charge that should be in the article. But this charge is somewhat submerged in accusations of hypocrisy, and in a frank anti-clercalism. It is striking, for example, to see that two paragraphs are devoted to a speculative question about how much information is needed for informed consent in religious rituals, when no complaints specific to MT are being mentioned, let alone cited.

Certainly we should provide any well-documented criticism that MT was Not What We Might Expect. But I think it is NPOV and tedious to include lengthy arguments against The Kind of Thing She Purported to Be, in this case a Catholic missionary working in a very poor part of the world. Ethan Mitchell 14:58, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Just want to clarify a few issues you brought up.
1) The four notable critics, so far, are Aroup Chatterjee, Christopher Hitchens, Robin Fox, and Susan Shields. You might have missed Shields because she was a late addition.
2) It's not that "to know MT is to hate her". It's that she is generically loved by people who lack sufficient data upon which to form a meaningful opinion. If all I knew about MT was that she did charitable things to help the needy, I too would have an overwhelmingly positive view of her. It's only when I hear some of those details that I have to wonder how much good she really did, and how much harm.
3) As you suggest, the charges of fiscal accountable and medical competency are certainly the clearest ones, and the easiest to support or refute. They should be the core of the criticism section because they're fairly objective.
4) The issue regarding conversion is not anti-clericism but rather a question of motives. Specifically, was MT's goal primarily to help people in need, or primarily to baptize them as Catholics before the died? The first goal is generally laudable, while the second would only appeal to Christians and even then might seem less important than the first. I think most people expected her to have been concerned primarily with the welfare of the sick, not with converting them, so this is a fair point upon which to criticize her.
5) I agree that any criticism aimed at her for no other basis than the fact that she was a Catholic nun and had the standard views of a Catholic nun are irrelevant. However, when she made public statements in an attempt to affect social policy, she was acting as a specific public figure, not a generic nun, so we should hold her accountable.

Alienus 17:07, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I think the conversion issue is more than a question of motives. It strikes me as religious assault, to trick helpless people into undergoing a ceremony that indicates a change of religion and a change of heart.--Prosfilaes 22:14, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm tempted to use the term devil's advocate here in the opposite of its original sense - but I'm curious about possible responses to these critics. Regarding fiscal policy, it's standard practice for wealthy universities to "beg." That is, they solicit donations even though they already have a large endowment. The endowment exists to secure the institution's future through investment returns. Would it not be possible that Mother Teresa sought to ensure her order's long term solvency by creating an endowment, knowing that donations were likely to decline after some less well known person succeeded her? Is it not possible that Susan Shields's example of worn needles was merely a routine oversight that could happen in even the best organizations? These questions are pure speculation on my part and I have no idea where the truth lies, but I am very curious what MT's supporters say in answer to these criticisms. Durova 01:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Prosifilaes, so far as I can tell from the sources mentioned, there is almost nothing exceptional about the nuns performing Extreme Unction on dying patients who are not Catholic, except perhaps that they asked permission first. Granted, they could not have been getting a very gourmet version of informed consent. But the practice is common in many mission hospitals, and, more to the point, there is no indication that anyone involved was upset by it. I appreciate Hitchen's point that people are being metaphysically defrauded if they engage in a ritual without informed consent. But I would say that this line of reasoning is so esoteric that it is not worth inclusion, unless it references something beyond Hitchen's personal perception of harm. Ethan Mitchell 16:03, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Is there anything on this from a Hindu perspective? It may be in Hindi or some other Indian languages, which I can't read unfortunately. I do wonder whether the people who are so blase about this would be so calm if it was the other way around; I think the Mormons got so much crap because they're not "Christian" in many people's eyes.--Prosfilaes 21:03, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

This conversion thing is actually a bigger deal than either of you make it out to be. Consider the trouble that the LDS got into for posthumously converting Holocaust victims. Alienus 04:27, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Wait a minute. The LDS conversion controversy is a matter of history. The LDS do their posthumous thing, a lot of people got really upset, and they wrote and agitated about it. Well and good. There are many other examples of people getting very worked up over other people messing with their religious traditions. But so far as anyone has shown, that is not the case here. The only person who has complained about MT giving extreme unction is Hitchens, and he does so in the context of a general broadside against MT.
Let's say that Emily Post writes an article saying that Ansel Adams may have violated the religious sensibilities of native Americans by photographing them. She doesn't provide any documentation that the victims felt that way, it's just a suggestion. Should this be on Emily Post's wiki-page? Perhaps. Should it be on Ansel Adam's page? I can't see why. Ethan Mitchell 21:31, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

As it happens, there's a recent case in the news, in which the parents of a young girl who was cast as an extra in "Into The West" are suing because her hair was cut short, in violation of tribal traditions.

Call it strange, but people don't like to have their religious traditions tampered with, even when it's as seemingly harmless as a haircut or converting the dead.Hitchens was not nuts to complain that MT's nuns were performing deathbed conversions under the guise of offering medical aid. Moreover, it provides a plausible explanation for her motivations by way of explaining her priorities. Alienus 22:04, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Making value judgements, explaining motivations, speculating about what MT's priorites were or were not, are nothing to do with this article and our role as editors. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:35, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
(Came from RfC) As I understand it, MT and her fellow people's provided medical aid and tried to get deathbed conversions, not through any entirely deceptive means necessarily, I mean, many times people were just plain about to die. Their near-death status was no excuse to let them just go to Hell without trying to save them, and since MT was after all a nun, it seems entirely appropriate that she and her fellow people would try to save people's souls while on their deathbed. If people don't like this, by all means, if it's appropriate to put into the article, (I.E. nothing from a "WE HATE MOTHER TERESA" type society) then put it in there, but if the article is trying to side with these people then there's a problem. You have to understand that as a nun, MT was also a Catholic, the Great Commission comes into play, it's not really negative when you realize just what the people trying to get death-bed conversions knew (Or at least should of known, I mean, I don't know any of them personally) what exactly was at stake. So what's the problem? Homestarmy 21:46, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
As I understand it, they weren't compentent to provide medical care. They provided some basic nursing. The problem is, some of us don't want to be harrassed when we're nearly dying, vulnerable, weak, and alone to change our religion. Many of us believe that the nuns were misinformed about what was at stake, and feel if the shoes were reversed, people would be upset if those nuns were converted to Hinduism on their deathbeds.--Prosfilaes 22:11, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
And there's the question, was it harassment or was it an offer? Harassment kind of denotes like poking people, not giving them water, making annoying buzzing sounds in people's ear, you know..... Homestarmy 02:26, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Some of us you say? What about WP:NOT? I thought WP is not a place to advocate this or any other POV .... ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:43, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Why do you call me out? He stated that "Their near-death status was no excuse to let them just go to Hell", which is the pushing of a POV. I at least recognized that my opinions weren't held universally.
More to the point, WP:NOT doesn't mean that we can't speak from our own POVs on the talk page. I wasn't advocating anything; merely explaining one POV that Homestarmy didn't seem to be considering.--Prosfilaes 05:21, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
And im saying that that POV is Christian, MT was supposed to be Christian, therefore, if there is critisism over MT because of near-death conversions, it should make much more sense from her perspective. In order for it to be harassment, some of those people would of had to of been, well, harassed, you can't guess whether or not they've been harassed and hope to be 100 percent correct. Now by all means, if many critics are guessing exactly that, then note it and cite it, but if the article is somehow siding with them, there's a problem. Homestarmy 13:27, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Criticism Overbiased

Why do the authors of this article spend half the article criticizing Mother Theresa?

How come in my many years of life have I never heard criticisms to this extent of Mother Theresa? It seems as if the authors of this article have a specific vendetta against mother Theresa.

This article should be rewritten, or the criticisms taken out or featured less prominently. It is reasons such as this why people often do not trust Wikipedia for reliable information and for the sake of the encyclopedia it must be changed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by mrosscan (talkcontribs)

People don't trust the encyclopedia because it doesn't parrrot back at them what they already know? It seems that would be fairly useless. I think you've probably never heard criticisms against Mother Teresa (not Theresa) because you've never looked, and you've never hung out in forums where people would tend to criticize Mother Teresa. Part of the thing that NPOV means is that we don't exclude concepts just because they aren't heard of in any one person's social group.--Prosfilaes 20:51, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Prosfilaes, you're being unreasonable. I actually read this article because I didn't know that much about Mother Teresa. So I wasn't just looking for "what [I] already know". Every thoughtful person I know (non-Catholic, even non-Christian) raves about her. And I grew up and live in a pretty liberal place. I, too, was struck by the disproportionate criticisms section. You're not suppoed to make a detailed case for the criticisms; you're just supposed to mention them. When we write an encyclopedic article about x, it is not an article about criticisms, or opinions, of x. You should know that. Anyone without an ax to grind can see the criticism is much too extensive here. --Hyphen5 03:43, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Every thoughtful person you know raves about here? That's bizarre, because I can't remember ever hearing about her in person when I didn't bring her up. And you've heard from every single thoughtful person you know? This article is filled with opinions about Mother Teresa, like the Nobel Peace Prize, whereas the criticisms are generally more than just opinions about her, but facts and critiques of what she did.--Prosfilaes 06:02, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
So the Nobel Peace Prize is an "opinion" but what Christopher Hitchens says is a "fact"? I must say, that's a novel way of thinking. --Hyphen5 08:07, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
The Nobel Peace Prize is an opinion; whether or not she deserved it is not objectively measurable, and what exactly she did that they felt was prize-worthy isn't even recorded. When Hitchens says that most of the money went to missionary work in Africa, for example, that's a fact. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it is objectively verifiable; provided access to the right records, we could check the truth or falsehood of it. When Hitchens criticizes her for it, we may agree or disagree, but we don't have to take Hitchens' opinion that it was a good or bad thing.--Prosfilaes 08:25, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree entirely with Prosfilaes. The point of an encyclopedia is to offer information. Hiding criticism would diminish this value. Alienus 06:34, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

No one is trying to hide criticism (why is that you keep asserting that?). The issue that I and amny other editors are raising is one of undue weight. So far only four critics have been identified, and we should be listing their POVs in the article. But as it stands now, 25% of the article is about these four individuals criticism of MT. This is a too very obvious case of lack of NPOV because of undue weight. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:05, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Only four critics? What about Sally Warner, whose linked from the bottom of the page? I see no evidence that among the people who have seriously studied her, that 25% of the article being criticism is excessive.--Prosfilaes 22:23, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, I disagree with that assessment. The POV of four individuals cannot and should not take 25% of a biographical article about a notable person. Try that trick on George W. Bush and see hoiw far you get... 22:41, 21 March 2006 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jossi (talkcontribs)
Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is not about the POV of four individuals. There is way more people who believe that Mother Teresa was not goodness incarnate. There are at least five critics who we are citing. Moreover, George W. Bush isn't comparable; he's got several specific criticism pages longer than the Mother Teresa page. If you want to discuss sources, let's see what verifiable sources the pro- side of the article is based on. --Prosfilaes 23:03, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
From all these five critics, the only one that was notable before becoming a critic is Hitchens. The two doctors became notable because of their criticism. My point is that Wikipedia is not a place to promote the POVs of non-notable individuals. People have personal homepages, blogs and other publishing platforms to describe their views. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 17:38, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
You're confusing the notability of individuals and the notability of their opinions. There's lots of non-notable people who wrote newspaper articles and books that are cited in Wikipedia and elsewhere as important works. Most of the opinions of notable people are non-notable; we don't cite Stephen Hawking's opinions in religious articles. Likewise, the census report forms the basis for thousands of articles even though none of its authors are terribly notable. If what these people said is true and accepted, then it doesn't matter if they're notable at all.--Prosfilaes 08:25, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Assertions w/o citations

There are several assertions in the article that do not have any references to substantiate their inclusion. These are marked with {{fact}}, showing a citation needed mark. As per WP:V the burden to provide sources is on the editor that adds material to an article. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:14, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Funny enough, the first two sections lack both references and {{fact}}s, so it's not true that they are so marked. In fact, only one of these markers is outside the criticism section, and that's on a criticism. Why does it feel like citation markers are being used for POV purposes here?--Prosfilaes 22:18, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
You are most welcome to add {{fact}} to any other areas of the article that needs them. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:42, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
And just to remind you, that I do not have a POV as it pertains to MT. I don't care one way or another. My only concern is an article that is compliant with content policies. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:44, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Um, bull? You haven't be discussing this like you have no POV, and where you put those citation markers merely reinforces that evidence. If you honestly believe you have no POV, I suggest you reevaluate yourself. There is no requirement that editors have no POV, but there is one that they don't mistake their own POV for NPOV.--Prosfilaes 22:54, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Believe me when I say that I do ot have a POV on MT. I heard about her, of course, but the article I only came across it just a couple of weeks ago. The first thing that I saw was a long para in the lead speaking about the criticism in very strong words, and that attracted my attention as it was news to me. On further exploration in this talk page, it is evident that there are only a few people that level criticism, and that their POV is over represented. The rest of the article needs a lot of work as well, as there are hardly any sources and its tone is somewhat hagiographic. I have added the suitable template for this. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:31, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Jossi's been fighting to remove MT criticism from day one, regardless of whatever he might think of her personally. That's called an agenda, and not a particularly well hidden one, either. Given how the article is, almost literally, a hagiography, any reasonable criticism ought to be welcome. Alienus 08:17, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Alienus, if the article is literally a hagiography, let us then roll our sleeves and fix it. That is more relevant than claiming that because it is a hagiography, we are entitled to take 25% of the article to present the POV of four individuals that criticise her. Doing that is called Two wrongs make a right and is a logical fallacy ≈ jossi ≈ t@
The alternative is to report the good along with the bad, equally. That's what I support. Alienus 20:31, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Reporting the "god" with the "bad" equally is antithetical to WP:NPOV:
  • We do not report good or bad. These are value judgements;
  • We write articles that represent views fairly and without bias;
  • We should fairly represent all significant viewpoints, in proportion to the prominence of each;
  • We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view, and views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views.
≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:07, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Alienus, do you also think that I am trying to "hide the criticisms?" I assure you I'm not, and I don't think anyone here is. The overarching problem here is that we have a celebrity whose reputation looms so large that it highlights criticisms we would not notice or respect elsewhere. Most of Hitchens critique, for example, boils down to the question of whether saving souls is more or less important than providing shoestring-budget hospice care. He could make the same charges, probably with the same level of accuracy, against Sister Agnes down the street from me, but no one would care. So, implicitly, we are discussing his criticism of MT because of her own celebrity status. The principle here, which I think everyone agrees on, is that if there are any criticisms of a celebrity by people who aren't barking mad, we ought to mention them on that person's page, as an important part of their biography.
Again, I think we all agree on that. The question is how much weight to give those criticisms, and here I would hope that we can agree on something else. It isn't our role as an encyclopedia to settle debates or build new "research" in the form of arguments like: X cut Y's hair ---> Y's mother was offended ---> MT gave Z extreme unction after asking permission ----> but Z might have been confused ----> ergo, Z was offended, even if he didn't know it. That is a path to craziness, as I think any mapping of that process onto a person who is, God forbid, more controversial than MT will quickly prove.
So we need to weight criticisms not by our own opinion of their merits, but by how widely those criticisms are recieved in society. No one on this page has provided any evidence (1) that the claims of Hitchens, et al, have been widely accepted, or (2) that the adherents of those criticisms are categorically better informed than MT's admirers. I think those would be very useful assertions to cite. And please: it is a fallacy to say that the lack of a rebuttal is an admission of defeat. Just because no one has published an article in the Nation quoting someonw who says "I worked with Mother Teresa, and she was, like, OK," does not mean that Hitchens' criticisms are widely accepted.
I think it's quite possible that the "Hitchens version" of MT's historical role has a significant number of adherents and is gaining adherents as time goes by, and as revisionists find it exciting to beat a dead sacred cow, if you will. But I think we need to verify that before devoting a third of the article to what otherwise appears to be a few cranky voices. Cheers. Ethan Mitchell 14:03, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Sister Agnes down the street probably doesn't tell the world that she's helping the sick. I think it would be useful to the article--and hopefully fairly non-controversial--to document exactly what Mother Teresa was selling. Frankly it's not a third of the article; when I measured it, it was a fourth. I'm a touch suspucious that everytime one of the opponents of this section starts talking about it, they exaggerate the size.--Prosfilaes 18:10, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Penn and Teller

The recent addition about the show Bullshit! does not clearly specify if this Hitchens featured M. Teresa in that show. Could you please clarify if this as the case? Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:37, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I take it you haven't seen the episode. I've edited the section for clarity. I suggest that you find this particular episode somewhere. GeorgeC 02:02, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 04:24, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
You're welcome. :-) GeorgeC 05:07, 2 April 2006 (UTC)