Indians, Hindus, Bengalees and specially Kolkatans are highly sensitive about Mother Teresa, proudly claiming her as one of the Nobel Laureates “from Kolkata”.  

After her death, the ‘secular’ Government of India, had decided to break out of protocol and observe state mourning all over the country and accord her state funeral status, an honor normally reserved for India’s highest political leaders.

But few are aware of the other side of the mother ……..

 

Mother Teresa’s altruism and generosity claimed to be a ‘myth’

Washington, Mar 2 (ANI): The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa has been dispelled by a group of researchers, who claim that her hallowed image-which does not stand up to analysis of the facts-was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign.

Serge Larivee and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Senechal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education have made the claims.

“While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church’s most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination-Mother Teresa-whose real name was Agnes Gonxha,” Professor Larivee, who led the research said.

“The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further,” Larivee said.

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa.

After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96 percent of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa.

In their article, Larivee and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa’s beatification process, such as “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries.

The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta.

Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care.

The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers.

The problem is not a lack of money-the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars-but rather a particular conception of suffering and death.

“There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens.

Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.

Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering.

During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid, the researchers said.

On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti.

Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO’s various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Larivee said.

“Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?” Larivee said.

Despite these disturbing facts, how did Mother Teresa succeed in building an image of holiness and infinite goodness? According to the three researchers, her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC’s Malcom Muggeridge, an anti-abortion journalist who shared her right-wing Catholic values, was crucial.

Muggeridge decided to promote Teresa, who consequently discovered the power of mass media.

In 1969, he made a eulogistic film of the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the “first photographic miracle,” when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak.

Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.

In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing-direct murder by the mother herself.”

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process.

The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from intense abdominal pain.

The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen.

Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her.

The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa’s popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint.

“What could be better than beatification followed by canonization of this model to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline?” Larivee and his colleagues said.

Despite Mother Teresa’s dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Larivee and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth.

“If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous,” they said.

The research is set to be published in the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses. (ANI)

 

One can further enlighten oneself from

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Mother_Teresa
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position

 ………. Christopher Hitchens details Mother Teresa’s relationships with wealthy and corrupt individuals including Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and his wife Michèle Duvalier, enigmatic quasi-religious figure John-Roger, and disgraced former financial executive Charles Keating.

Hitchens argues that her support for unscrupulous figures contradicts the alleged humanitarianism of her work

Charles Keating 

The book includes the reproduction of a letter written by Mother Teresa on behalf of Charles Keating to Judge Lance Ito who was presiding over Keating’s trial for defrauding his investors of billions of dollars. The letter urged the judge to consider the fact that Keating had donated generously ($1.25 million) to the Missionaries of Charity and suggested that Judge Ito “look into [his] heart” and “do what Jesus would do.”

Hitchens also includes the contents of a letter written to Mother Teresa by the man prosecuting the case against Keating, Deputy District Attorney for Los Angelos, Paul Turley. In the letter, Mr. Turley pointed out to Mother Teresa that Keating was on trial for stealing more than $250 million from over 17,000 investors in his business. In addition, Turley expresses his opinion that “[n]o church, no charity, no organization should allow itself to be used as a salve for the conscience of the criminal” and suggests:

Ask yourself what Jeses would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience? I submit that Jesus would promptly and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same. You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the ‘indulgences’ he desires. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it! If you contact me I will put you in direct contact with the rightful owners of the property now in your possession.” 

After the conclusion of the letter, Hitchens notes: “Mr. Turley has received no reply to his letter. Nor can anyone account for the missing moneysaints, it seems, are immune to audit.”

Pope Benedict XVI has recently recalled the dangers faced by the Catholic missionaries  around the world, while giving “a strong call to strive to bring the testimony of the Gospel to all, in particular to those who are not yet acquainted with it”.

A few days earlier, a group of Hindus and Jews were shocked by one of the Pope’s numerous message in which he encouraged his followers to “make disciples of all peoples” and “to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world”  – calls that remind one the history of the Crusades.

The Pope may believe in “the goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel” and may have “a longing and a passion to illumine all peoples with the light of Christ” but there are others who will continue to reject these limited options for their spiritual upliftment and rather opt for different sources of enlightenment that are far more tolerant, receptive, inclusive and time tested.  

His almost political desire “that all nations may become the People of God”  masqueraded as a message that “Christ calls, justifies, sanctifies and sends his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God” has lead to misery of mankind for centuries in the past and is still continuing, as the article below depicts.

 

Churches involved in torture, murder of thousands of African children denounced as witches

 

KATHARINE HOURELD

Associated Press Writer

EKET, Nigeria (AP) — The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall. His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

“It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,” said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria.

For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire. Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.

Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.

“Poverty must catch fire,” insists the Born 2 Rule Crusade on one of Uyo’s main streets.

“Where little shots become big shots in a short time,” promises the Winner’s Chapel down the road.

“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.

It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.

Nwanaokwo said he knew the pastor who accused him only as Pastor King. Mount Zion Lighthouse in Nigeria at first confirmed that a Pastor King worked for them, then denied that they knew any such person.

Bishop A.D. Ayakndue, the head of the church in Nigeria, said pastors were encouraged to pray about witchcraft, but not to abuse children. “We pray over that problem (of witchcraft) very powerfully,” he said. “But we can never hurt a child.”

The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago. “I had no idea,” said church elder Carrie King by phone from Tracy, Calif. “I knew people believed in witchcraft over there but we believe in the power of prayer, not physically harming people.”

The Mount Zion Lighthouse — also named by three other families as the accuser of their children — is part of the powerful Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The Fellowship’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, said the Fellowship was the fastest-growing religious group in Nigeria, with more than 30 million members. “We have grown so much in the past few years we cannot keep an eye on everybody,” he explained.

But Foxcroft, the head of Stepping Stones, said if the organization was able to collect membership fees, it could also police its members better. He had already written to the organization twice to alert it to the abuse, he said. He suggested the fellowship ask members to sign forms denouncing abuse or hold meetings to educate pastors about the new child rights law in the state of Akwa Ibom, which makes it illegal to denounce children as witches. Similar laws and education were needed in other states, he said.

Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network said it is the most vulnerable children — the orphaned, sick, disabled or poor — who are most often denounced. In Nwanaokwo’s case, his poor father and dead mother made him an easy target.

“Even churches who didn’t use to ‘find’ child witches are being forced into it by the competition,” said Itauma. “They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism.”

That’s what Margaret Eyekang did when her 8-year-old daughter Abigail was accused by a “prophet” from the Apostolic Church, because the girl liked to sleep outside on hot nights — interpreted as meaning she might be flying off to join a coven. A series of exorcisms cost Eyekang eight months’ wages, or US$270. The payments bankrupted her. Neighbors also attacked her daughter. “They beat her with sticks and asked me why I was bringing them a witch child,” she said. A relative offered Eyekang floor space but Abigail was not welcome and had to sleep in the streets.

Members of two other families said pastors from the Apostolic Church had accused their children of witchcraft, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

The Nigeria Apostolic Church refused repeated requests made by phone, e-mail and in person for comment. 

At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about the laughing, grubby kids playing hopscotch or reading from a tattered Dick and Jane book by the graffiti-scrawled cinderblock house. But this is where children like Abigail end up after being labeled witches by churches and abandoned or tortured by their families. 
 
There’s a scar above Jane’s shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn’t cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism. Israel’s cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa’s father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor’s wife cheered it on.

The children at the home run by Itauma’s organization have been mutilated as casually as the praying mantises they play with. Home officials asked for the children’s last names not to be used to protect them from retaliation. The home was founded in 2003 with seven children; it now has 120 to 200 at any given time as children are reconciled with their families and new victims arrive.

Helen Ukpabio is one of the few evangelists publicly linked to the denunciation of child witches. She heads the enormous Liberty Gospel church in Calabar, where Nwanaokwo used to live. Ukpabio makes and distributes popular books and DVDs on witchcraft; in one film, a group of child witches pull out a man’s eyeballs. In another book, she advises that 60 percent of the inability to bear children is caused by witchcraft.

In an interview with the AP, Ukpabio is accompanied by her lawyer, church officials and personal film crew. “Witchcraft is real,” Ukpabio insisted, before denouncing the physical abuse of children. Ukpabio says she performs non-abusive exorcisms for free and was not aware of or responsible for any misinterpretation of her materials. “I don’t know about that,” she declared.

However, she then acknowledged that she had seen a pastor from the Apostolic Church break a girl’s jaw during an exorcism. Ukpabio said she prayed over her that night and cast out the demon. She did not respond to questions on whether she took the girl to hospital or complained about the injury to church authorities.

After activists publicly identified Liberty Gospel as denouncing “child witches,” armed police arrived at Itauma’s home accompanied by a church lawyer. Three children were injured in the fracas. Itauma asked that other churches identified by children not be named to protect their victims. “We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” he said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”

Just mentioning the name of a church is enough to frighten a group of bubbly children at the home. “Please stop the pastors who hurt us,” said Jerry quietly, touching the scars on his face. “I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”

 

(Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.)