Everyone else has said anything I would have said, and better than I would have, too.
I don’t even think she was a “good Catholic.” I have a Catholic friend who (like me) cringes when he hears her referred to as a synonym for All That Is Good, as she was a hypocrite (she went to the best hospitals in the world, not her own clinics), and a thief (in that she took money under false pretenses and did not use it to comfort the ill).
What other woman in the 20th century did more harm? Margaret Thatcher? Eva Peron? Maybe a few concentration camp guards? They were pikers by comparison.
That is the standard line, especially when I was younger, but the intent was not to prevent people from being treated nor was it REALLY intended to make Catholicism into a religion of masochists, though that’s what some disturbed souls thought it was. Did you twist your ankle? You tape it and take some aspirin and give up what pain is left for the souls in Purgatory. Do you have appendicitis? Surgery, antibiotics, painkillers, and you give up the leftover pain and discomfort without complaint.
And most of them were a wee bit nuts, but admirable in a way. The way they differed from Mother T is that she did not demonstrate that same patience with her own suffering. When she was sick she didn’t offer it up and die a painful, but quiet, death from TB, like her namesake, St Therese, the Little Flower, or St Bernadette of Lourdes. No, she got treatment.
In the Catholic Church the attitude toward the poor is the same as it is for all the other Christians, Jews, Muslims, and I assume Buddhists, Hindus, and people of every other faith: it is the duty of those who can to help them. Comforting the sick includes treating their illnesses.
Doctors, nurses, and medication are FAR more expensive then a clean bed and basic care. Yes, giving them actual health care would have been swell. Much nicer then simply a clean bed and basic care. But it’s more expensive, and a clean bed and basic care are still better then the streets.
I don’t think the question should be “How much better could she have done?” but “How much good did she do?” A clean place to die is better then a gutter; therefore I think she did ultimately do good.
The first question is just not reasonable: If she’s evil because she could have done a better job, then everyone who cuts a $100 check to Heiffer International is also comitting an evil act, because they could be giving so much more.
I’m not sure what you mean: this is *self-*criticism of an article within Wikipedia. The dispute tag is used specially to mark articles over which a complicated dispute has arisen (something unlikely to occur to the vast majority of articles). All articles, by contrast, are covered by the disclaimer that Wikipedia is user-edited.
Mother Teresa received, by the most conservative of estimates, donations in the very high nine figures during her life; the true figure is probalby in the low B-I-L-L-I-O-N-S. That’s one helluva lotta money.
This money could have been used to build not just a state-of-the-art teaching hospital, but a series of state-of-the-art teaching hospitals with an outreach that could have helped millions of ill Indians, Pakistanis, etc… Instead, as mentioned above, the vast majority built churches, chapels and, above all else, convent, with the little remaining going to shitholes for the indigent to die in. The ignorance of the nuns could have been resolved for a few hundred thousand dollars of training at any one of thousands of modern nursing schools. She simply had no excuse.
On the subject of Keating, his embezzlement bankrupted many retirees- literally, they no longer received pension checks because of his extravagance and theft (though he did at least try to rid Ohio of porn, God bless him). Teresa’s organization was begged- literally BEGGED- by some of those financially destroyed by Keating- to return the money she received from him. She refused.
If there’s a hell the only part of that old crone that will ever reach heaven will be her screams.
Pain medication is among the least expensive drugs available to qualified medical practitioners. It would take very little in real cost to truly relieve suffering for many people. Morphine and it’s derivatives are also readily available worldwide – it’s not like anybody’s saying she should have provided CAT scans and the latest version of trademarked antibiotic.
A little compassionate morphine goes a long way to improving someone’s quality of life – and proper pain relief can speed healing, too.
First, MT gave some dignity to the poor and dying. She took the lowliest beggars in, and provided some comfort to them. I would point out that NONE of her critics, or the city government of Calcutta, OR the hindu priests ever lifted a finger to help the poor of the streets of Calcutta.
Second, she did run a school and an orphanage, and did manage to feed quite a number of very hungry people.
Yes, its easy to criticise…but I don’t see ANY of her critics doing anything to alleviate suffering in Calcutta. And I wouyld like to see the proof about her (alleged) life of luxury.
Yes it does. If Mother Teresa was a Utah uranium heiress and this was her money then I’d applaud the amount she spent on the desperate, but the billions were not hers; this money was given to her (in most cases at least) explicitly for the purpose of providing medical care and comfort for the indigent.
Suppose a natural disaster hit your area and feeling grateful that neither you nor those you love were injured you donated $1,000 to a local church’s soup kitchen. You figure "that’s enough to provide 500 hot meals to those disposessed by the disaster, with perhaps a little extra for admin cost, gasoline, etc…
Instead the church uses it to provide 20 meals and with the rest they buy a commemorative plaque for the church saying “We helped feed the victims of the tragedy”. Meanwhile people are still disposessed and hungry. Would you feel pissed that so much was squandered on self-congratulatory gestures or would you say “Yea! I fed twenty people (for what it would have cost to feed five-hundred)?” I see the same with Mother Teresa.
She didn’t live in luxury while bilking the desperate like Benny Hinn or Pat Robertson, but she caused at least as much harm, arguably much more. She tried to have charges dropped against Charles Keating and other embezzlers in exchange for large sums of money, condemned those who had abortions and gays and abused wives who left their husbands while praising Princess Diana (not a terrible person, but a divorcee), Baby Doc Duvalier (a terrible person), diamond millionaires in South Africa who profited from Apartheid, etc… While I don’t think she bore animosity to the afflicted she caused them harm nonetheless, and did not practice what she preached, and refused to spend money on medical supplies and equipment while instead building convents and helping bail out the Vatican bank. By most accounts she was not a terribly bright woman, but I think even she should have been able to have seen the errors of her life and that she was doing far more harm than good.
While we’re piling on the old crone, let’s not forget that a lot of that money given to help the poor and sick was spent on her worldwide trips to various countries where she campaigned tirelessly against divorce, birth control and abortion, which she called “the greatest evil in the world,” while the starving babies were piling up in India.
And does anybody else think it’s mighty suspicious that Princess Diana just “coincidentally” got run off the road in a French tunnel, then a few days later before she could be questioned, Mother Teresa conveniently died so she couldn’t be implicated?
And then there’s that famous picture of her standing in that backyard in Dallas holding the rifle that killed JFK.
While channel surfing tonight I came across a History Channel show about George Washington Carver and was reminded of his significance. He’s remembered mostly as the man who invented peanut butter (which he didn’t do- there had been versions of it around for longer than he’d been alive) and invented hundreds of other uses for the peanut, a fact that elicits a resounding “Ho-hum” from most people who don’t realize why he experimented with peanuts. He did it for the most practical of reasons: cotton had destroyed the Alabama soil and was causing people of all colors to spend lives literally breaking their backs working harder each year than they had the year before to raise a crop whose price was constantly dropping- they were literally working themselves to death in order to remain in poverty. By creating a commercial market for peanuts and experimenting with new strains of the legume, he revolutionized agriculture and made it once again profitable for the subsistence level families throughout the south. (This isn’t to say the small farmers got rich, but they were able to feed their families, avoid the boll weevil and perhaps have just a couple of non-essential pleasures from their labors.)
The reason I mention him here: Carver received, even adjusted for inflation, a fraction of what the interest on MT’s money would have been and he made life better for millions of people (and the soil to boot).
Norman Borlaug also never received a fraction of MT’s billions, but literally changed the world and saved millions if not billions of lives by allowing regions that had previously been desolate to feed more of their populations (and allowing fertile areas to produce enough surplus food to feed far more). Schweitzer, Gorgas, Fleming, etc., even Margaret Sanger (yes, I know she was a believer in eugenics, but warts and all) all similarly helped countless more people than the old blue nun with a tiny fraction of her income.
I just don’t buy the “well, look at how many she did sorta-kinda help”, not how many she could have. She opted for venerating superstition over true social improvement.