How was Bl. Mother Teresa evil?

Let me just say that the attitude towards Catholicism expressed by some here rivals that of Jack T. Chick.

I’ve noticed a great deal of animosity toward Mother Teresa, but nothing that could ever be described as Chick-like hatred of Catholicism. Perhaps the trouble lies in your perception.



You’re comparing a nun to a pair of people who found new agricultural options?

I’m comparing a woman who got over $1 billion and helped very few to people who got a few million and helped millions.

I just learned that Mother Teresa is the focus of the most recent episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullsh!t.

In William Donohue’s response he accuses Penn and Teller of vitriol, then calls them Nazis.

And, *flog a horse, that if not dead is at this point in mortal danger of expiring,**, you can read the full text of Aroup Chatterjee’s book on MT, Mother Teresa: the Final Verdict online.
*The Ladykillers (2004)

The fight against ignorance has a long way to go, as evidenced by this thread.

Wikipedia’s own page on Mother Teresa provides cites for the orphanage, as well as her home for the dying and her home for lepers (which still exist in some parts of the world). Please note that she runs a “home for the dying,” not a hospital. I know that the media tends to call it a hospital, but it’s really a hospice.

Mother Teresa’s biggest problem was that she became a “media darling,” much like Princess Diana, and like Di she seems to have let it go to her head. Certainly, she should have been more careful about the world leaders that she associated with. (I won’t comment about any specific quotes without knowing the context. Anybody who’s even marginally familiar with politics knows that taking a quote out of context can totally change its meaning.)

You can argue that Mother Teresa should have made medical care more of a priority, and I would not be prepared to argue with you, but suggesting that she hurt anybody only reveals your own ignorance.

The people that she helped were destitute. They lived on the streets and couldn’t afford medical care of any sort. At worst, they were no worse off than they were before. As it is, most of them got the chance to die with some amount of dignity and comfort, instead of in a garbage-strewn alley.

This isn’t directly relevant, but many of you seem to be underestimating how much medical care costs. Go and talk to someone who doesn’t have medical insurance, but has had to deal with a serious health issue of some sort. Ask them what their bills are like. The answer will probably shock you. It is not at all uncommon for a working-class person to find themself saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills. According to this cite, fully half of all bankruptcies in the United States are due to overwhelming medical expenses.

I tried to look up information about the financial issues, but everything I could find by googling appeared to be a reprint of one article, whose author obviously had an axe to grind. In any event, the Missionaries of Charity are a worldwide organization, not just one facility in Calcutta.

I’m not saying that Mother Theresa couldn’t have done more, and I would have done some things differently if I was her, but to suggest that she was evil, or out to hurt people, is simply an asinine assertion. Is she a saint? I don’t know. But she did spend her life trying to help people (even if you don’t think that her home for the dying is useful, there’s still the orphanage, the leper colony, and anything else her organization does), which means that she was a better Christian than most of us on this board. Including me.

Read the Chatterjee book. The old woman spent more time in Rome and NYC several years raising money than she did in Calcutta. She herself referred to her “hospitals” and fostered the illusion that they were bringing major relief. When floods left millions homeless in Calcutta, she did nothing (remember: she had millions and millions at her disposal)- the city’s prostitutes literally did more to help the homeless and disposessed.

Perhaps she was not evil in the sense that she purposefully brought harm to people (though it could be argued that by preventing birth control, abortion, divorce, etc., she did), but she was definitely guilty of passive evil: having the means to ease suffering, and not doing so.

Good for Penn and teller—I wish I got Showtime!—but it might give them more heft if they spelled Mother Teresa’s name right . . .

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

In the first world, sure. Not in the third world, where the biggest killer of children is diarhea, and can be cured with pennies worth of some salt water.

The problem is that it’s not entirely clear that what she sold to donors was what she actually did with the money. With the amount of money she raised, she could have easily founded actual hospitals. Though all her finances were kept secret, we know that the amount she raised was far and away greater than what was needed to fund the projects you list, and we know that somehow she ended up building lavish convents in other places in the world: not things that her donors had thought of when giving her the money. So there are serious questions about her finances that remain unresolved as long as it is all kept secret.

All I know is that the Devil’s Advocate is going to have some fun this time.

Hospice care, by definition, includes medical pain relief. BMT brought (non-Christian) people to her ‘hospice’, cleaned them up, and tried to convert them to Christianity. Dignified death was not her goal – conversion was. Would they have been better off in the alley? Probably not, but they wouldn’t be faced with a spiritual crisis on top of the prospect of death.

As I’ve said, pain medication is extremely inexpensive, even in the US. It’s only expensive if you buy it on the street. There is no good reason to withhold palliative medication from the terminally ill.

I’m sure she was a better Christian than me. Why should that diminish my opinion that she was evil? Being Christian doesn’t automatically make one good any more than being Muslim mankes one evil – acts, not beliefs. Some of the most evil people I know are Christians.

Setting up institutions to spread your religion is not the same as doing good works. Spending more on bibles than medicine is evil.


Anyway, The Missionary Position makes a pretty compelling case that she should properly be called the Ghoul of Calcutta. It is worth getting a hold of the book, through interlibrary loan if need be.

As for being the most evil woman of the 20th C., I don’t know much about that.

Always? Or just after he found out what she was really all about? People make similar claims that John Lott is some sort of gun nut when the story he tells is that he began researching guns & crime for his economics of law classes and simply went where the evidence took him.

The Ghoul of Calcutta took in millions of dollars in donations, enough to build a first-class charity hospital in Calcutta, but instead those suffering under her care weren’t even provided with pain killers much more effective than aspirin. And note the Lancet reference as well. She rejected the proposal that her staff be given simple algorithms to determine who is savable so that they could get proper care. In what possible universe is that not evil?

It seems there is evidence that her foundation missapropriated charitable donations on a huge scale. It also seems likely she knew about this. Still I find it hard to consider her as evil as say Myra Hindley or any number of other female psychopaths.

Mother Theresa is not evil. To be evil a person would have to intentionally hurt people and while Mother Theresa may have been glorified beyond reality her intention truly did seem to be to help people. Noone seems to claim she harmed people, just didn’t help them as much as people might have thought. Maybe she could’ve done more, but not knowing the situation it is hard to judge what was possible. The thing is if she even alleviated the suffering a little bit of people that others simply walked by because they were part of the “untouchables” and beneath their notice that qualifies her as being good rather than bad. She never set out to harm anyone, noone even seems to be claiming so, which is the qualification for evil in my book.
As far as her views in relation to abortion and divorce, again she held those beliefs because she did belief they were the best for people. Maybe she was wrong, but to be evil she would’ve had to act in a way that she would’ve thought brought the most harm to people. Wanting to protect the family unit and what she saw as life is not inherently evil. You can argue that those values don’t bring about the best results, but the motivation was not evil.

One Q- how have so many important people of diverse political, religious & philosophical perspectives been fooled for so long? And why is the most vocal of Mother T’s accusers not someone more objective than Christopher Hitchens, who is sane & charming & intelligent when speaking of many things but displays nothing but pathological loathing when speaking of things and persons religious?

This is gone over in great detail in both Chatterjee and Hitchens. I’m interested in how people who are criticizing Hitchens as a shrill raving atheist counter his specific claims.

I think if you re-read this thread you’ll find that’s not true.

I don’t understand why that’s so. From what I know, Stalin and Hitler certainly didn’t think they were evil. They were just not concerned about the people they were harming.

I think if you re-read this thread you’ll find that’s not true.

I don’t understand why that’s so. From what I know, Stalin and Hitler certainly didn’t think they were evil. They were just not concerned about the people they were harming.