My problem with Mother Teresa’s canonization

Mother Teresa of kolkata

Today, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint. This naturally resulted in a flood of praise and criticism on social media. Contrary to the respectful tweet from the Prime Minister on the occasion, his supporters were NOT happy. They were critics of this step. In their eyes, she is fraudulent, and worst of all, she engaged in conversions (the prime majority fundamentalist objection to religious minority figures in India).

Those who admired Saint Teresa (must get used to not calling her Mother Teresa now) had their own reasons to cheer the long awaited development. In their eyes, her service to the poor and ill made her deserving of respect. Incidentally, this is something nurses in hospitals do routinely and get far less money for it than Mother Teresa got in donations for her cause. Nor do the see the service as a part of promoting their cause. Which does not negate the fact that she did serve like countless other organizations and people dedicated to service. Baba Amte, for example.

I don’t have a problem with religious conversions. In fact, I have often said in the past that the poor must be allowed to change religion as often as they wish and religious organizations wanting to increase numbers for their religion should be encouraged to pay them to convert and/or stay in the religion. This beats a lot of hatred and violence in the name of religion and would probably do something constructive for a change.

While there are disturbing questions about Mother Teresa’s ethics raised separately by several people, I think no one is perfect and if she had rendered significant service to mankind, it stands independent of criticism in other areas. Today is not necessarily a day for deliberate drawing out of every flaw, real or perceived that she had. In my view, regardless of the questions raised about her, her influence and role model for people was almost entirely one of service – which is not a bad thing.

My problem is with “Saint” and “miracles” that are required to declare a saint. The two “miracles” that proved her a saint were serious medical conditions that got “miraculously” cured by praying to her. To become a saint, the miracles have to be “scientifically inexplicable”. However let us not underestimate the refusal of a mind to understand explanations, which are inconvenient to what is desired. These “miracles” have been robustly contested by rationalists and doctors. I will not get into them here, because this article is not about the miracles either – even if inexplicable healings happened.

Hospitals, the world over are replete with stories of “miraculous recoveries” that doctors have no explanations for beyond having tried their best, and yet no one has bothered to declare them places of supernatural occurrence. Sachin Kalbag, the editor of Mid-Day The Hindu, recently had a close brush with death and “miraculously” survived. His post delves beautifully into his contemplations on divine intervention as several unlikely coincidences happened that improved his chances of survival.

If a person who prayed to Mother Teresa made a miraculous recovery and a hundred who prayed to her did not, why is only one of them proof of a miracle? This was a woman routinely surrounded by the sick and dying, for whom she offered care (including medical) for decades and yet such a motivated effort found two miracles. After she died. What about the many who died? Are they proof of her NOT being inclined to save people more than inclined? Could it be that miracles started happening once her influence was gone from the world? What if someone had a freak road accident and died after meeting her? Would she be declared a malicious entity?

Selective vision is a wonderful, perception affirming thing. We see what we are looking for. You see cures in a hospital, miracles in a place of worship Even if 2000 people made unexpected recoveries in a hospital while only 2 did in the saint’s worship.


India is a country prone to belief in the supernatural. Partly because of a rich mythology, but largely because belief is the only thing a lot of people can afford when faced with very expensive needs, wants and problems. And yet, praying to Mother Teresa is NOT an appropriate course of action if you are diagnosed with a tumor or brain abscesses.

“Saint Teresa” is not about ill people finding care in her organization, or poor and ill people finding free treatment in her memory, it is about ill people being saved by praying to her. This is my problem.

For anyone living in India, miraculous cures are nothing new. Loads of Hindi films have them, usually when the villain is wiping the floor with the hero and just before the climax. Every family has a deity or three (or a more modern guru or mata they find) to pray to when things go wrong. From Baba Ramdev curing homosexuality to homeopathy curing cancer. From quacks taking people off necessary drugs because they “conflict” with their treatment to “faith healing” events in various churches. “Miracle cures” are a staple in India. There is nothing new about them. Why two miracles make a saint should be a question that even the most gullible believer in miracle cures must ask.

Does the canonization of Mother Teresa to Saint Teresa over two piddly miracles mean that the church admits that the countless faith healing events churning out “miracle cures” every week are bogus? I do hope so. It is overdue.


I had felt compelled to meet Narendra Dabholkar once, after knowing his views for years. I liked what he was doing. What he said. I agreed with his views about the dangers of superstition. We had a long talk, and he suggested that I become a member of their organization. I was ambiguous. I had a baby who was quite young. I had things I was doing. Not really time enough to get into stuff like that you know, I, who was writing an average of three posts a week on this blog (but not about rationalism), told the chap who quit his medical practice for such “stuff” because he had the foresight to see how the erosion of reason ruined us as a whole. I myself had a live and let live approach, even though I understood what he did, to debunk superstition and spread awareness of rationalism was necessary work. I participated in religious ceremonies though I thought they were bullshit and ineffective for whatever claimed purpose they were being conducted. I listened to people talk about various miracle workers while making no effort to encourage them to think things through.

“What is the harm?” I thought. People believed whatever would bring them solace. I remained in touch with ANS (Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti) articles and news though I didn’t interact with them much. I liked what they had to say, but I wasn’t “active” about my rationalism. Then, one day, I was numb. Reading news of Dabholkar being shot dead. Reading countless people on social media share his work, his views. I was one of them. I remembered his patient, extremely reasonable manner of explaining things. He was dead. What a waste. There are very grudging token attempts to nail his murderers. No real will behind them. Who would offend bastions of BELIEF? What was “justice” anyway? How could punishing a person or five compensate for the loss to people at large?

“There is real harm.” It was an expensive lesson. The silence of those who didn’t bother to work for necessary change, who didn’t want the inconvenience of offending people is what made sitting ducks of those who were doing good work. Pick off the voices, and silence dissent.

Belief in superstition is not just about faith, it is about controlling the gullible and it has a dark underbelly. The pretty side is where countless people find hope, as they look at a few well publicized miracles and play an emotional lottery hoping for a similar result, taking it as “luck” when the expected result doesn’t happen. The dark side is what happens to those who say “The Emperor has no clothes”. And Narendra Dabholkar is hardly the only one to face the ire of religious fanatics for trying to bring a voice of sanity.

Before someone says that it is the Hindu fanatics who killed Dabholkar, let me remind you of Sanal Edamaruku, an Indian rationalist who had to flee the country for the crime of debunking a “miracle”. 

This isn’t  matter of being polite and not insulting someone who did “good work”, it is a matter of actively speaking up against wholesale encouragement to believe in the irrational, to stand up and be among the number of people who have a problem with the promotion of such beliefs, before the few who do it remain the standing ducks to be picked off one by one, like Dabholkar was, Pansare was, and open threats could be issued…. while the rest pretend to believe in rational thought but choose polite evasions and be “goody goody” rather than look bad disagreeing about “respect” of a “good person”.

You may afford to think that oh, you like Mother Teresa, therefore you will not look too closely at why she is being called a saint. Today is your day off for skeptical enquiry because it is a special absurd occasion. After all, in this world of selfish people, is it not a miracle someone wants to help people at all? You may afford to encourage a view that helping those in need is something only a saint is capable of (and thus exempt yourselves from having to do anything). You may say, oh it is a pity that people who question superstition get murdered and I promise to be extra skeptical tomorrow. I was like that. I learned my lesson with Dabholkar’s murder. It is one I won’t forget in a hurry.

Respecting selfless service ought to be good enough for you to not be required to defend the absurd either.

Update: A lot of people have commented on Twitter that the miracles were a formality and the recognition is for her work. Personally, I think the recognition is more about the church having people of worship native to India, so that more people are interested. It is a huge market, you know? But all that apart, there was nothing wrong with respecting Mother Teresa, or declaring her a Saint without the miracles too. Contrary to the belief of the few “rationalists” clinging desperately to this belief of the miracles being a formality, you have the usually sane Outlook Magazine reporting on how the devout still feel her presence, etc. Let us not even pretend that the “devout” don’t pray to saints to solve problems. Not even you are that gullible.

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10 thoughts on “My problem with Mother Teresa’s canonization”

  1. Kudos. Brilliantly incisive. Especially this para: “If a person who prayed to Mother Teresa made a miraculous recovery and a hundred who prayed to her did not, why is only one of them proof of a miracle? This was a woman routinely surrounded by the sick and dying, for whom she offered care (including medical) for decades and yet such a motivated effort found two miracles. After she died. What about the many who died? Are they proof of her NOT being inclined to save people more than inclined? Could it be that miracles started happening once her influence was gone from the world? What if someone had a freak road accident and died after meeting her? Would she be declared a malicious entity?”

  2. The intellectuals have the tendency to complicate issues with their knowledge which is as such limited but considered by themselves and society as unlimited. In every area there is so much depth of facts and information that to understand right and wrong abundant wisdom is needed. Even then how perfect is the thoughts, God only knows.
    Giving the sainthood to Mother is as a result of brain storming at the highest possible level. If their decision is to give her status of saint probably that is what we deserve. There will obviously be several factors considered.
    Even if God come down and do some thing, we with our imperfections will be capable of finding faults. Jesus Himself had to face it and he was crucified by the intellectuals. Any one close to perfection will not be spared by this imperfect world. There will be arguments equating them with the worst in society. Such persons presence in the society will be a uncomfortable for many. No wonder if he will be hanged. There will be many critics who will talk negative of mother since for their own comfort her work work was an hindrance. This approach will not bring down the status of Great people. They have a role assigned by God and they will play their role well by which several others who are destined to get peace,happiness and salvation will get. God has a purpose with every one and with every incident. Better submit to Him for ever lasting peace.
    It will be the effort of any one experiencing happiness and peace with a way of life he or she follows he would like to show others the path leading to such happiness and peace if he loves others.If he doesn’t do it he is not honest to the other person. Just because some one calls it conversion in the negative sense such efforts and advises shouldn’t stop. But conversion by force is unacceptable and there is known that there is no possibility of Mother having adopted such approaches. At this proud moment for our country when the whole world is celebrating, let us not become so negative to a person who is known to have done only good for the humanity.

  3. Just to add to my comment – Albania was and continues to remain one of the poorest countries in Europe. Yet, if Mother Teresa chose to serve the impoverished of India instead of her own country where Islam predominates, is it not sufficient reason to believe that her attraction towards India was obviously our colonial inhibition and an accommodating Faith?

  4. I agree. To glorify somebody to sainthood needs more than a miracle to justify. With a mere couple of unsubstantiated and perhaps manufactured miracle incidents, the Church has does its part of social engineering very well. The news of not the sainthood, but the miracle aspect would spread like wildfire amongst the down trodden who would too, recklessly pray to Mother Teresa for redemption from their miserable plight. This is and was the agenda of the Church – and they have more or less achieved it with grandeur. I recall reading that Mother Teresa in an interview with one Christopher Hitchens had said “”There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world would gain much from their suffering””!! This is perverse and beastly logic by any human standards. As the historian, Vijay Prahlad dubbed – **the quintessential image of the white woman in the colonies, working to save the dark bodies from their own temptations and failures** sits well with this racist colonialist more and a saint less. India was, like the plenty others who abused her historically, safe haven for a Nun coming from a predominantly muslim majority country where Orthodox Christianity was a mere 20% during her times. It is only logical to mull over the fact that what she failed or did not attempt to do in Albania was successfully achieved in India whose colonial mindset and endearment to a *White* facilitated Mother Teresa utmost. Will I vilify her – NO! Will I glorify her – it is a NO too!

  5. My Grandmother some 15 years ago (Then about 80 years of age) was diagonised of Cancer and was given 6 months of survival. She is still alive and healthy. She took no formal medication for cancer. This is an unexplained thing. However my question if she claims to have worshipped XYZ, can we call that a miracle in favor of XYZ. Medical science is not perfect and there are cases that get cured against medical opinion or reasoning. So calling it a Miracle on account of worshipping XYZ does not sound a rational thing to do.

  6. “मदर तेरेसांचे संतपद”
    समजा मला एखादा गंभीर आजार झालाय. या आजारातून काही दिवसांनी मी बरा झालो. पण मला जे नवं आयुष्य मिळालंय ते डॉक्टरांच्या औषधोपचारामुळे नाही तर एखाद्या साधूच्या आशिर्वादामुळे किंवा त्यांनी दिलेल्या दृष्टांतामुळे मिळालंय असं मी जगाला ओरडून सांगू लागलो तर अगदी समान्य बुद्धी असलेल्या व्यक्तींच्या मनातही कोणते विचार येतील 1) मी थापा मारतोय 2) मला त्या साधूनं हिप्नोाटाईज केलंय ३) आजापणातून उठल्यानंतर माझ्या मनावर काही तरी परिणाम झालाय. त्यामुळे आता मला वेड्यांच्या हॉस्पिटलमध्ये दाखल करण्याची गरज आहे. अर्थात मी साधूचा दाखला देत असल्यामुळे मला बरी करणारी व्यक्ती ही मुसलमान किंवा ख्रिश्चन नाही तर ती हिंदू आहे हे उघड आहे. त्यामुळे ‘विवेकाचा जागर’ करणारी तमाम मेणबत्ती ब्रिगेड जागी होईल. निषेध मोर्चा, एक दिवसाचा उपवास, प्राईम टाईमवर चर्चा होऊन मी आजारपणातून बरं झाल्यावर व्यक्त केलेली भावना म्हणजे देशाच्या धर्मनिरपेक्ष प्रतिमेला तडा असून त्यामुळे पंडित नेहरुंनी जो लोकशाहीचा पाया रचलाय. त्याला धोका निर्माण झालाय. अशा प्रकारची प्रवृत्ती वाढणं ही देशापुढची सर्वात चिंतेची बाब आहे या निष्कर्षावर बहुतेक प्राईम टाईम चर्चांचं आणि स्तंभलेखकांचं एकमत होईल.
    पश्चिम बंगालमध्ये राहणा-या मोनिका बेसरा या आदिवासी ख्रिश्चन महिलेला टीबी आणि पोटामध्ये ट्युमर झाला होता. बेलूरघाटमधल्या सरकारी हॉस्पिटलमध्ये उपचार सुरु होते. या हॉस्पिटलमधले डॉ. रंजन मुस्तफा त्यांच्यावर उपचार करत होते. डॉ. मुस्तफा यांच्या उपचाराचा मोनिका यांना फायदा होत होता. त्यांचा आजार बरा होण्याच्या टप्प्यावर आला असताना अचानक एकेदिवशी अचनाक लॉकेटमध्ये मदर तेरेसा यांचं चित्र दिसलं आणि त्यांचा ट्युमर पूर्णपणे बरा झाला. व्हॅटिकन चर्चला मदर तेरेसा यांना संतपद देण्यासाठी हा दावा म्हणजे आयतं कोलित मिळालं. मोनिका यांच्यावर उपचार करणाऱ्या डॉक्टर मुस्तफा यांचं मत काय आहे हे विचारात घ्यावं असं त्यांना वाटलं नाहीच. ज्या मदर तेरेसांना आपले आजार बरे करण्यासाठी कॅलिफोर्नियातल्या हॉस्पिटलमध्ये जाऊन उपचार घ्यावे लागत असत त्या मदर तेरेसांचा नुसता फोटो मोनिकांचा आजार बरा झाला हे व्हॅटिकनला पटलं आणि जगानंही ते विनातक्रार मान्य केलंय.
    गोरगरिबांच्या वेदनांमुळे कळवळणाऱ्या त्यांच्या चेहऱ्यावरुन मायेचा हात फिरवणाऱ्या मदर तेरेसा या गरिंबाच्या नाही तर गरीबीच्या मैत्रिण होत्या. गरिबी, आजारपण, उपासमार या देवानं भेट दिलेल्या गोष्टी आहेत असं त्या मानत. त्यांच्या संस्थेला या गरिबीच्या निर्मुलनासाीठी अब्जावधी डॉलर्समध्ये मदत मिळत असे पण त्यांची हॉस्पिटल हे अस्वच्छतेचं आगार होतं. मुळचे कोलकाताचे पण आता लंडनमध्ये असलेले डॉ. अरुप चटर्जी यांनी ‘द फायनल व्हर्डिक्ट’ हे पुस्तक तेरेसा यांच्या कार्यावर लिहलंय. या पुस्तकात त्यांनी ब्रिटनमधलं प्रसिद्ध मेडिकल जर्नल लासेंटचे संपादक डॉ. रॉबिन फॉक्स यांनी 1991 मध्ये तेरेसा यांच्या चॅरिटी हॉस्पिटलचा दौरा केला तो प्रसंग सांगितलाय. या दौऱ्यात डॉ. फॉक्स यांना अनेक धक्कादायक आणि तितक्याच संतापजनक गोष्टी समजल्या.या हॉस्पिटलमध्ये साधी वेदनाक्षम औषधं नव्हती.
    सुयांचा वापर कसाही केला जायचा अगदी गंभीर आजारांनी त्रस्त असलेल्या रुग्णांनाही हॉस्पिटलमध्ये नेलं जायचं नाही. कॅन्सरच्या रुग्णांनाही अॅस्पिरिन सारखी डोकेदुखीची गोळी दिली जात असे.येशू ख्रिस्तांनी मरताना वेदना भोगल्या. त्यामुळे या गरिब रुग्णांनीही वेदना भोगल्याच पाहिजेत हा या हॉस्पिटलचा हट्ट होता.
    या संस्थेकडे असलेल्या रुग्णवाहिकेचा उपयोग हा रुग्णांसाठी नाही तर संस्थेतल्या ननना इकडून तिकडे नेण्यासाठी होत असे. या संस्थेकडून रोज हजारो गरिंबाना मोफत जेवण दिलं जात असे हा दावाही डॉ. चटर्जी यांनी खोडून काढलाय.संस्थेमध्ये रोज जास्तीत जास्त 300 लोकांनाच जेवण दिलं जात होतं आणि हे जेवण देखील ज्या गरिब ख्रिश्चन व्यक्तींकडे या संस्थेनं दिलेलं फुड कार्ड होतं अशाच मंडळींना मिळत असे असा गौप्यस्फोटही चटर्जी यांनी आपल्या पुस्तकात केलाय.
    मदर तेरेसांनी जगभर आपल्या संस्थांचं जाळं उभारलं. जगभरातून देणगीच्या स्वरुपात आलेली पैशाची गंगा तेरेसांच्या व्हॅटिकनमधल्या बँकेत लुप्त होत असे, भारतीय कायद्यानुसार आवश्यक असलेल्या संपत्तीचा अपवाद वगळता आपल्या संपत्तीच्या मिळकतीचा कोणताही तपशील तेरेसा यांनी जाहीर केला नाही. मिशनरीला मिळालेली केवळ सात टक्के रक्कम ही गरिबांसाठी वापरली जात असे असा दावा स्टेर्न या जर्मन मासिकानं 1991 मध्ये केला होता. 1965 पासून मिशनरी ऑफ चॅरिटिज संस्थेचे आर्थिक व्यवहार पोपनं आपल्या पंखाखाली घेतले. मदर तेरेसा यांच्या मृत्यूनंतर ही पकड आणखी घट्ट झालीय.
    जगभरातले लुटारु, हुकूमशाहा, घोटाळेबाज अशी ओवाळून टाकणारी मंडळी या संत मदर तेरेसांचे सवंगडी होती. 1971 ते 86 या काळात हैतीचे हुकमशाह असलेले जीन क्लाऊड डूवलीये यांनी त्यांचा राजकीय सन्मान केला. ज्या व्यक्तीनं हैतीचं भविष्य नासवलं. गरिबांर प्रचंड आत्याचार केली त्याची या कनवाळू टेरेसांनी तोंड फाटेपर्यंत स्तूती केली. या हुकमशाहकडून मिळणारी भलीमोठी देणगी हेच या प्रशंसेचं कारण होतं.
    चार्ल्स किटींग या अमेरिकन उद्योगपतीनं 1980 च्या दशकात ‘किटींग सेव्हिंग अॅण्ड लोन्स’ही कंपनी काढली होती. या कंपनीत अमेरिकेत हजारो सामान्य नागरिक ज्यापैकी अनेक जण पेन्शनर होती त्यांनी गुंतवणूक केली. अमेरिकेतल्या आम आदमीचा हा पैसा किटींगनं बुडवला. पण तेरेसांनी त्याला चांगल्या चारित्र्याचं प्रमाणपत्र बहाल केलं. ”किटींग हे सज्जन गृहस्थ आहेत त्यांच्यावरील खटल्याचा निवाडा करताना दयाळूपणा दाखवा “अशी विनंती करणारं पत्र तेरेसांनी या खटल्याची सुनावणी करणाऱ्या न्यायाधिशांना पाठवलं कारण किटींग यांनी तेरेसा यांच्या संस्थेला 1 मिलियन डॉलरची देणगी दिली होती. सुदैवानं अमेरिकन न्यायाधिशांवर तेरेसांचं सामाजिक स्टेटस, नोबेलसह जगभरातले त्यांना मिळालेले पुरस्कार याचा परिणाम झाला नाही. त्यांनी कटींग यांना १० वर्षांची शिक्षा दिली. या खटल्यातल्या एका अॅटर्नी जनरल यांनी तेरेसांना पत्र पाठवलं. या पत्रात, “किटींग यांनी कष्टकऱ्यांचा पैसा हडप केला आहे. असा हरामाचा पैसा देणगी म्हणून तुम्ही स्विकारलाय. त्यामुळे एक उत्तम धर्म प्रचारिका या नात्यानं तुम्ही हा पैसा परत करा” अशी मागणी केली.पण टेरेसा यांनी या पत्राला कधीही उत्तर दिलं नाही.
    अफ्रिकन नागरिकांनी कंडोम वापरण्याला तेरेसांनी विरोध केला. 1979 मध्ये तेरेसांना नोबेल पुरस्कार मिळाला. त्यावेळी त्यांनी गर्भपात ही जगातली सर्वात विनाशकारी गोष्ट आहे असं मत व्यक्त केलं. आयर्लंडमध्ये 1995 साली घटस्फोट आणि पुनर्विवाहावरची बंदी उठवण्यासाठी मतदान झालं. त्यावेळी तेरेसांनी या कल्पनेला जाहीर विरोध केला. 1989 मध्ये आंतरराष्ट्रीय आरोग्य संघनेनं त्यांचा सन्मान केला. त्यावेळी तेरेसांनी एडसचं वर्णन ‘अयोग्य लैंगिक संबंधांबद्दल मिळालेली शिक्षा’ असं केलं. 1975 मध्ये इंदिरा गांधी यांनी देशावर आणीबाणी लादली.त्याावेळी या आणिबाणीमुळे संप बंद झाले आहेत. लोकांच्या नोकऱ्या वाढल्यात. त्यामुळे लोकं आनंदी आहेत असं सांगून तेरेसांनी भारतीय लोकशाहीचा आवाज दाबणाऱ्या या काळ्याकुट्ट पर्वाचं स्वागत केलं.
    1984 मध्ये भोपाळमध्ये वायू दुर्घटना घडली. भोपाळमध्ये राहणारी हजारो मंडळी रात्रीच्या झोपेत गेली. अनेक जण कायमची अपंग झाली. या घटनेनंतर तेरेसा तात्काळ भोपाळमध्ये पोहचल्या. दुर्घटनाग्रस्तांना मदत करावी हा त्यांचा हेतू नव्हता. तर या दुर्घटनेला जबाबदार असलेला युनियन कार्बाईड या कंपनीच्या व्यवस्थापनाला माफ करावं अशी मागणी तेरेसा यांनी केली. शेवटी तेरेसांना हवं होतं तेच झालं. कंपनीचा प्रमुख वॉरेन एंडरसनला अर्जुन सिंह-राजीव गांधी जोडीनं अमेरिकत जाऊ दिलं. एंडरसननं आपलं उरलेलं आयुष्य अमेरिकेत सुखानं घालवलं.भारत सरकारला एंडरसनला शिक्षा देणं तर सोडाच त्याच्यावरचा खटलाही व्यवस्थितपणे चालवता आला नाही.1984 च्या 13 वर्ष आधी 1971 सालीही या बाईंनी असाच संतापजनक प्रकार केला होता. बांग्लादेश युद्धानंतर लगेच त्यांनी ढाक्याला भेट दिली.त्यांना पाकिस्तानी लष्कराच्या छावणीत काही हजार अन्यायग्रस्त महिला आढळल्या. या महिलांनी कपड्यांचा फास घेऊन आत्महत्या करु नये म्हणून त्यांना नग्न ठेवण्यात आलं होतं. अशा महिलांनाही गर्भपात करायला तेरेसांचा विरोध केलाय. हे मातृत्व देवाचा प्रसाद आहे अशी तेरेसांचा भूमिका होती.
    ख्रिस्तोफर हिचेन्स या पत्रकारानं मदर तेरेसांच्या आयुष्यावर आधी लघुपट बनवला आणि नंतर पुस्तक लिहलं. हिचेन्स तेरेसांचं वर्णन हे फॅनेटिक, फंडामेंटालिस्ट आणि फ्रॉड असंच करतात. ” या बाईला संतपद दिलं तर गरीब आणि आजाऱ्यांची संख्या वाढेल. त्याचं संतपद म्हणजे कॅथलिक चर्चनं अंधश्रद्धा आणि दिखावूपणापुढे पत्कारलेली शरणागती आहे.” असंही हिचेन्स यांनी सांगितलंय.
    Hell’s Angel या हिचेन्स यांनी बनवलेल्या लघुपटामध्ये मदर तेरेसांनी जे काम आयुष्यभर प्रामाणिकपणे केलं त्या धर्मांतरणाच्या कामावर प्रकाश टाकलाय. जीवदानापेक्षा मृत्यूदान हेच तेरेसांचं मिशन होतं. रुग्णांना जितका जास्त त्रास होईल तितके ते येशुच्या जवळ जातील अशी तेरेसांची श्रद्धा. ज्यांचं मरण दाराशी येऊन ठेपलंय अशा आपल्या हॉस्पिटलमधल्या गरिब, असाह्य आणि आजारपणामुळे जर्जर झालेल्या मंडळींना बाप्तिस्मा देऊन त्यांना ख्रिश्चन धर्माची दीक्षा देण्याचं काम तेरेसा आणि त्यांची धर्मप्रचारक मंडळी करत असत.
    संत मदर तेरेसा आणि त्यांच्या संस्थेनं गेल्या सहा दशकांच्या कार्यात काय साध्य केलं ? लोकांच्या वेदना तेरेसांच्या कार्यामुळे काडीनंही कमी झाल्या नाहीत. भारत सोडा कोलकाता या शहरामध्ये तरी तेरेसांच्या कामामुळे काय सकारात्मक बदल झाला ? उलट कोलकातामधल्या गरिबीचा जगभर व्यापार करुन देशातल्या ‘सिटी ऑफ जॉय’ची जगभर नकारात्मक इमेज बनवण्यात तेरेसांचा मोठा वाटा आहे. तीन दशकांच्या मार्क्सवादी राजवटीत तेरेसांच्या कार्याचा वटवृक्ष झाला. त्याच परिणाम तेरेसांच्या मृत्यूनंतरही जाणवतोय. देशभरातली प्रमुख शहरं औद्योगिकरणाच्या युगात स्वत:ला अपडेट करत असताना कोलकाता शहर हे तिसऱ्या जगातल्या विश्वातच अडकून पडलंय.
    मदर तेरेसा यांना संतपदाचा दर्जा देण्याची प्रक्रिया घाईनं करण्यात येतीय. याचं कारण म्हणजे ख्रिश्चन धर्मप्रसाराच्या दृष्टीनं असलेलं भारताचं महत्व आहे. मदर तेरेसांच्या कारकीर्दीत देशातल्या अनेक भागात ख्रिस्ती मिशनऱ्यांचं जाळं वाढलं.ईशान्य भारतामध्ये त्यांची संख्या वाढली. नागालँडमध्ये तर आज 98 टक्के ख्रिश्चन आहेत. ख्रिश्चन धर्माचं जाळं भारतामध्ये वाढवण्याचं काम मदर तेरेसांनी आयुष्यभर केलं. आपल्या संस्थेला मिळणारा पैसा, आपली सामाजिक प्रतिष्ठा याच कामासाठी त्यांनी वापरली. त्यामुळेच मदर तेरेसा या स्वतंत्र भारतामधल्या धार्मिक साम्राज्यवादी ठरतात. धर्मप्रसारसाठी त्यांनी केलेल्या कार्याबद्दलच त्यांना संतपद देण्यात येतंय.

  7. Agree. If the Christian faith ( or any faith for that matter ) believes that only scientifically proven miracles are prerequisites for being canonized as a saint, then I dont think Mother Teresa was a Saint given the narrow definition. But if a saint is someone who inspires life, belief and brings comfort by sustained selfless sacrifice for the betterment of significant number of people,then she is St.Teresa.

    1. I too think the same way. Thanks to the powerful and rich resources of Roman Catholic Church, there are several unsung heroes and institutions who have been doing far greater exemplary work than the late Mother Teresa now Saint Teresa for the humanities but they don’t have the propaganda instinct and wherewithal of the R. C. Church and their work therefore remains hidden from the public at large.

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