Mother Teresa's altruism and generosity claimed to be a 'myth'

Editors' Picks

  • Rumour: Arsenal trying to sign Chris Smalling from Manchester United

    Rumour: Arsenal trying to sign Chris Smalling from Manchester United

    Rumour: Arsenal trying to sign Chris Smalling from Manchester United

    Arsenal trying to sign Chris Smalling from Manchester United in the summer. …

  • Chances of England in the FIFA World Cup 2014

    Chances of England in the FIFA World Cup 2014

    Chances of England in the FIFA World Cup 2014

    Analyzing the chances of England in the FIFA World Cup 2014. Can they win it? …

  • Everton game not about me, says United manager Moyes

    Everton game not about me, says United manager Moyes

    Everton game not about me, says United manager Moyes

    (Reuters) - Manchester United manager David Moyes played down the significance of returning to his former club for the first time in Sunday's Premier League match against Everton. Moyes was in charge at Goodison Park for 11 years before joining United in July to take over from the retired Alex Ferguson. He has not enjoyed a successful start at Old Trafford, however, and United are languishing seventh in the table, nine points and two places below Everton with only a slim chance of finishing …

  • Fan makes handwritten Sir Alex Ferguson portrait which encompasses his 26-year reign as Manchester United …

    Fan makes handwritten Sir Alex Ferguson portrait which encompasses his 26-year reign as Manchester United …

    Fan makes handwritten Sir Alex Ferguson portrait which encompasses his 26-year reign as Manchester United …

    Fan makes handwritten Sir Alex Ferguson portrait which encompasses his 26-year reign as Manchester United boss …

  • Everton keeper Howard extends contract until 2018

    Everton keeper Howard extends contract until 2018

    Everton keeper Howard extends contract until 2018

    (Reuters) - Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep the United States international on Merseyside until 2018, the Premier League club said on Thursday. Howard, 35, joined Everton on loan from Manchester United in 2006 before signing permanently the following year and has gone on to make 343 appearances in total. He is expected to start for the U.S. at this year's World Cup in Brazil, having played a major role in Everton's push for a Champions …

  • Small-scale World Cup protests continue in Brazil

    Small-scale World Cup protests continue in Brazil

    Small-scale World Cup protests continue in Brazil

    By Andrew Downie SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Several hundred people marched through Brazil's biggest city on Tuesday in a peaceful protest that was the latest in a series of small demonstrations against the upcoming World Cup. Brazil will host the June 12-July 13 tournament for the first time since 1950 but there is unrest among locals who believe too much money has been spent on preparing for the global showpiece to the detriment of public services such as health, education and transport. …

Washington, Mar 2 (ANI): The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa has been dispelled by a group of researchers, who claim that her hallowed image-which does not stand up to analysis of the facts-was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign.

Serge Larivee and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal's Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Senechal of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Education have made the claims.

"While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church's most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination-Mother Teresa-whose real name was Agnes Gonxha," Professor Larivee, who led the research said.

"The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further," Larivee said.

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa.

After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96 percent of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa.

In their article, Larivee and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa's beatification process, such as "her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce."

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries.

The missions have been described as "homes for the dying" by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta.

Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care.

The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers.

The problem is not a lack of money-the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars-but rather a particular conception of suffering and death.

"There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ's Passion. The world gains much from their suffering," was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens.

Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.

Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation's millions when it came to humanity's suffering.

During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid, the researchers said.

On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti.

Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO's various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Larivee said.

"Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa's works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?" Larivee said.

Despite these disturbing facts, how did Mother Teresa succeed in building an image of holiness and infinite goodness? According to the three researchers, her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC's Malcom Muggeridge, an anti-abortion journalist who shared her right-wing Catholic values, was crucial.

Muggeridge decided to promote Teresa, who consequently discovered the power of mass media.

In 1969, he made a eulogistic film of the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the "first photographic miracle," when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak.

Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.

In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: "I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing-direct murder by the mother herself."

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process.

The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from intense abdominal pain.

The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen.

Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her.

The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa's popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint.

"What could be better than beatification followed by canonization of this model to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline?" Larivee and his colleagues said.

Despite Mother Teresa's dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Larivee and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth.

"If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous," they said.

The research is set to be published in the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses. (ANI)

Most Popular Stories

  • An Open Letter to Yuvraj Singh

    An Open Letter to Yuvraj Singh

    Sportskeeda
    An Open Letter to Yuvraj Singh

    Dear Yuvi, First off I would like to tell you that I am not a fanboy. I was never your fan and I don’t think I’ll ever be. Indian batsmen with a batting average below 40 do not impress me! But not being a fan does not imply that I don’t admire you or respect […] …

  • Virat Kohli unhappy with criticism of Yuvraj Singh

    Virat Kohli unhappy with criticism of Yuvraj Singh

    Sportskeeda
    Virat Kohli unhappy with criticism of Yuvraj Singh

    Virat Kohli terms criticism of Yuvraj Singh as unfair. …

  • No vote, no water: Ajit Pawar's threat to farmers

    ANI

    Amethi, Apr.18 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday criticized Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for threatening farmers of a village in Baramati. Pawar is reported to have said that he would stop water supply to the farmers if they did not vote for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). "The Congress and its allies can very much see that they are going to lose in these elections. So, they have resorted to making such statements through which they can maintain their …

  • Cong's Hitler Blitz Runs Into Mussolini Wall

    Mail Today

    Lok Sabha campaign plumbs new depth with name-calling. …

  • Kejriwal is now India’s Mr 5 percent

    Mail Today

    Borrowing the term for former Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, India now has its own 5% man – Arvind Kejriwal. …