It's time for the Catholic Church to pay Mother Teresa back for her lifetime of devotion to the interests of the church. She is on the fast track for canonization, having been approved for the process years before the it would have been allowed by the official policy of the church, had that policy not been waived by Pope John Paul II.
And as we all know, prospective saints have to be credited with miracles, so the church set about find some miracle that they could attribute to her. They found a case of a woman suffering from a tubercular cyst, who had been cured by normal medical treatment, and then declared that the cyst was a cancerous tumor that magically disappeared when the woman wore a locket bearing a picture of Teresa. This cleared the way for beatification.
In 2002, the Vatican recognised as a miracle the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, after the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa's picture. Besra said that a beam of light emanated from the picture, curing the cancerous tumor. Some of Besra's medical staff and Besra's husband said that conventional medical treatment had eradicated the tumor. Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, who told The New York Times he had treated Besra, said that the cyst was not cancer at all but a cyst caused by tuberculosis. He said, "It was not a miracle.... She took medicines for nine months to one year." According to Besra's husband, "My wife was cured by the doctors and not by any miracle." Besra's medical records contain sonograms, prescriptions, and physicians' notes could provide evidence on whether the cure was a miracle or not. Besra has claimed that Sister Betta of the Missionaries of Charity is withholding them. The officials at the Balurghat Hospital where Besra was seeking medical treatment have claimed that they are being pressured by the Catholic order to declare the cure a miracle. - WikipediaWhy is the church so anxious to canonize Teresa? It can't be because of what she did for the poor in India. Her main concern was not to provide them shelter and medical treatment, but to convert them to Catholicism, even baptizing many without their knowledge or consent. Of the estimated 100 million dollars in charity donations that Teresa took in, in addition to her Nobel prize, only about 5 to 7 percent went toward caring for the poor. The hospices she ran were notoriously ill-equipped, lacking in adequate staff and supplies, especially anesthesia. It was Teresa's belief that suffering was good for the soul, and would bring her patients closer to God. So those who came to her facilities were subjected to needless suffering and pressure to convert to Catholicism, rather than appropriate medical care. In her own words:
I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.She famously said suffering was a gift for the poor:
the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ.And suffer they did under her charity's care. It is not surprising then, that there are many in India who feel no reason to be grateful to her for her charitable works there. Needless to say, when she required medical treatment, she went to California.
It seems fairly obvious that Mother Teresa dedicated her life primarily to advancing the cause of the church, much more than the cause of the poor. She was a staunch supporter of the Catholic stance against abortion and contraception, even in India, where so much poverty is attributable to unchecked population growth. Teresa spent many millions of dollars establishing and building her religious order, rather than using that money to benefit the poor. She accepted millions from donors that are more associated with corruption and evil than with aiding the poor, including Charles Keating, Robert Maxwell, and Jean-Claude Duvalier. She defended the chairman of Union Carbide after the Bhopal disaster that killed thousands, when he tried to divert blame by contributing to Mother Teresa's charity. Rather than providing support and standing with the victims, she only urged them to forgive.
Christopher Hitchens was asked to provide testimony to the church in the role of "Devil's Advocate" during her beatification process, which he comments on in this essay. Although he presented a fairly devastating picture, the church has proceeded with the process, evidently regarding this testimony as a mere formality. They are clearly more interested in perpetuating the myth of Teresa'a greatness than in recognizing the facts of her less than saintly works.