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Author Topic: Mother Theresa and refusing to provide pain relief  (Read 3008 times) Average Rating: 0
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JSOrthodoxy
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« on: September 19, 2007, 01:29:17 PM »

I wasn't exactly sure where to put this post so I turned it into a question of ethics. Really, I have two questions. The first involves an accusation against Mother Theresa and her missionary sisters made by Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens claims that Mother Theresa and her sisters often refused to give pain medications to the dying and refused to provide other basic kinds of care that would actually have cured some of their patients. Supposedly, this was because Mother Theresa thought that the dying should embrace their suffering and learn to be redeemed through their suffering. Has anyone read up on this and does anyone have any thoughts about the accuracy of these reports?

Second, is it moral and biblical to have such a view (assuming the reports are accurate)? In other words, should we attempt to embrace the pain and suffering in our lives in such a way that we actually try to avoid alleviating suffering? Should we refuse aid to others that alleviates their suffering but simply give them spiritual counsel instead?

This is greatly bothering me as is trying to assess Mother Theresa's life and work.

Joe
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2007, 01:40:57 PM »

Hitchens wrote a book on Mother Theresa, "The Missionary Position".  I have not read it myself, so I do not know what sources he used for that claim or even if he cited any. From what I have read, he didn't like Mother Theresa, but one might be able to tell that from the title.  Undecided

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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 01:54:57 PM »

From Mother Theresa...


Sayings of light and love:

“If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of ‘darkness.’ I will continually be absent from Heaven—to light the light of those in darkness on earth .”

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”

“If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.”

She also told the Sisters, “Let the people eat you up.”

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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 03:45:03 PM »


“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”


This is my favorite quote from Mother Teresa, and one of my favorites from anyone ever.
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2007, 04:07:48 PM »

I, for one, do not see much reason to take seriously a vicious demagogue like Christopher Hitchens, who boasts of his hatred of theists. Mother Teresa is one of his favorite targets, and he relishes in calling her "the leathery old saint," a "hell bat" who is the "ghoul of Calcutta." He hates her most for her desire to save souls.

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JSOrthodoxy
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2007, 04:41:53 PM »

I agree.  Hitchens is not my favorite, but

Here are a couple of documents that are critical of Mother Teresa.  I post these for information purposes.  This is the kind of thing I'm trying to sort out in my own mind.  I'm not claiming that these documents are true or that I agree with them.  I simply don't know.

http://www.users.bigpond.com/johnnyartist/swwp/SHOULD%20MOTHER%20TERESA%20BECOME%20A%20SAINT.pdf

http://members.lycos.co.uk/bajuu/

http://www.newstatesman.com/200508220019

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Aplank/Criticisms_of_Mother_Teresa

What bothers me most is the accusation that Mother Teresa had ordered that modern medical technologies and facilities available to them not be used because they constituted "wealth" and also that she, and her sisters, denied basic palliative care to terminal patients (in other words, pain relief) telling them that their pain was "Jesus loving them."

If all of this is true, then it really bothers me.  The problem is getting good information on this.  It seems like most of the info that is being published comes from Atheists like Hitchens and yet I can't find any rebuttal of what is being said.  I'm just trying to sort all of this out.

Joe
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 04:57:38 PM »

I would question those sources...

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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 05:26:39 PM »

Christopher Hitchens is an extremely millitant atheist who hates religion, esp Christianity. He has been asked whether or not Christianity, regardless of it's validity or falsity, has done anything good for civilization. With no surprise, he answered "very little". In addition to his afore mentioned book with it's childish sexual inuendo title (The Missionary Position), he's also authored "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything".
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 05:55:42 PM »

She was not Orthodox, but I cannot think in recent memory of one more humble.
Scandalous talk (stuffing ears with cotton...)
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2007, 06:16:23 PM »

I agree.  Hitchens is not my favorite, but

Here are a couple of documents that are critical of Mother Teresa.  I post these for information purposes.  This is the kind of thing I'm trying to sort out in my own mind.  I'm not claiming that these documents are true or that I agree with them.  I simply don't know.

http://www.users.bigpond.com/johnnyartist/swwp/SHOULD%20MOTHER%20TERESA%20BECOME%20A%20SAINT.pdf

http://members.lycos.co.uk/bajuu/

http://www.newstatesman.com/200508220019

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Aplank/Criticisms_of_Mother_Teresa

What bothers me most is the accusation that Mother Teresa had ordered that modern medical technologies and facilities available to them not be used because they constituted "wealth" and also that she, and her sisters, denied basic palliative care to terminal patients (in other words, pain relief) telling them that their pain was "Jesus loving them."

If all of this is true, then it really bothers me.  The problem is getting good information on this.  It seems like most of the info that is being published comes from Atheists like Hitchens and yet I can't find any rebuttal of what is being said.  I'm just trying to sort all of this out.

Joe

That's the thing. Only the secularist axe-grinders are shamelessly swinging these axes at Mother Teresa, as if standing in moral judgment of her! I find it breathtakingly hypocritical. Slander from slanderers should be ignored. It does not surprise me that she is attacked. Look at the terrific flack the pope gets from the so-called freethinkers.
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 10:23:23 PM »

Perhaps part of the problem is that every portrait of Mother Theresa either adorns her with the highest sainthood or demonizes her in an absurd manner (a la Hitchens).  Don't misunderstand me.  I'm not bashing Mother Theresa.  But, as a discerning person I do like to know the truth about things and while much of Hitchens' screed is just pure rhetoric and hatred, there were some allegations that seemed plausible and I have not heard any refutations.

Joe
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2007, 11:37:06 PM »

Perhaps part of the problem is that every portrait of Mother Theresa either adorns her with the highest sainthood or demonizes her in an absurd manner (a la Hitchens).  Don't misunderstand me.  I'm not bashing Mother Theresa.  But, as a discerning person I do like to know the truth about things and while much of Hitchens' screed is just pure rhetoric and hatred, there were some allegations that seemed plausible and I have not heard any refutations.

If there is truth to the accusations it should be made known. Furthermore, I would submit that it is the responsibility of the Latin Church to take these accusations seriously and institute an open investigation so that they truth of the matter may be known...especially if they intend to hold her in high esteem.

Second, is it moral and biblical to have such a view (assuming the reports are accurate)? In other words, should we attempt to embrace the pain and suffering in our lives in such a way that we actually try to avoid alleviating suffering? Should we refuse aid to others that alleviates their suffering but simply give them spiritual counsel instead?

IF the accusations are true, then it is an great, indefensible, and unjustifiable evil, that should be manifest to all. As to whether or not it's are true, I don't know enough to opine one way or the other.
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2007, 11:51:49 PM »

If there is truth to the accusations it should be made known. Furthermore, I would submit that it is the responsibility of the Latin Church to take these accusations seriously and institute an open investigation so that they truth of the matter may be known...especially if they intend to hold her in high esteem.

Well, the Holy See called on Hitchens to testify against her cause for canonization (what used to be called the Devil's Advocate). All the testimony and the other evidence takes up thousands of pages. I wonder where it is all kept. Of course, the case is still open, as she has not been canonized yet. The dirty work has already been done though---what remains is another miracle.
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2007, 10:20:03 AM »

Hitchens book seems to indicate an ignorance of the magnitude of the poverty that Mother Theresa worked in and selective accounts of her actions. These letters from 1996 seem to put the matter in perspective: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1434
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2007, 01:09:45 PM »

I still haven't had a chance to see a copy of Hitchens' book, but one place I found says that he does not document where he got his information.  No documentation, no verifiable sources, then it's all on his own authority....  Undecided 

My dubious light is on.

Ebor
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 02:07:59 PM »

She was not Orthodox, but I cannot think in recent memory of one more humble.
Scandalous talk (stuffing ears with cotton...)

indeed mother theresa was a good christian. In fact perhaps, one of the most benevolent people ever lived.
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