Mother Teresa’s saintly image comes under fire in new study
How has the saintly image of Mother Teresa managed to survive largely intact in this age of such intense media scrutiny?
Three Canadian academics tackled this thorny question in a new article in the journal Studies in Religion
“Everyone who thinks of altruism thinks immediately of Mother Teresa,” says Genevičve Chénard, explaining why she and her co-authors decided to undertake this study.
The researchers — Chénard and Serge Larivée of l’Université de Montréal and Carola Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa — examined 287 documents about the Albanian nun who died at age 87 in 1997.
Mother Teresa, who founded the Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charity, an order of nuns that has expanded to 123 countries, has been beatified by the Vatican, one step short of sainthood.
Mother Teresa with Pope John Paul II at the Home of the Dying in Calcutta, India, in February 1986.
According to the study, the unassailable image of Mother Teresa appeals to the collective imagination looking to help the dying and the poor. It feeds a need in people to have someone to look up to. For the church, it also helps promote Roman Catholic religious values.
Mother Teresa’s beatification process was also the fastest in the history of the Catholic Church, the study says.
One of the key steps in that beatification: A non-Christian woman in India woke up on the first anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death to find her abdominal tumour had disappeared. Members of the Missionaries of Charity has prayed for Mother Teresa’s help. Pope John Paul II recognized this as a miracle.
Mother Teresa, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, has been the subject of 153 hagiographies from 1948 until 2011 and only six balanced biographies, the study says.
Largely unexamined have been questions about how millions in donations were spent, the hygiene and lack of care in her hospices and why the woman herself supported corrupt regimes such as the Duvaliers in Haiti.
AntiTheist and journalist Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) investigates whether Mother Teresa of Calcutta deserves her saintly image. He probes her campaigns against contraception and abortion and her questionable relationships with right-wing political leaders.
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief 2015-05-23 7:58
The BBC has reached a â€śprovisional findingâ€ť to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a â€śsoftâ€ť interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montagueâ€™s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech" 2015-05-23 7:31 The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers 2015-05-23 7:36
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction 2015-05-23 7:13
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified' 2015-05-23 6:43
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...