Regarding “Hell’s Angel: Mother Teresa” and Intelligence² Catholic Church Debate

I found this video highly informative and fundamentally a more proper representation of who Mother Teresa is, and what her work actually was.

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In particular I found certain portions of the video completely alarming, esp. given my previous work at the Lawrence Public Schools as a Cafeteria Substitute, and my knowledge about proper medical care to prevent spreading diseases from one patient to another, which would, without question, fundamentally put the lives of more people at risk.

“According to many other former volunteers, Dr Fox may have paid his visit on an unusually good day, or may have been unusually well looked after. Mary Loudon, a volunteer in Calcutta who has since written extensively about the lives of nuns and religious women, has this testimony to offer about the Home for the Dying:

My initial impression was of all the photographs and footage I’ve ever seen of Belsen and places like that, because all the patients had shaved heads. No chairs anywhere, there were just these stretcher beds. They’re like First World War stretcher beds. There’s no garden, no yard even. No nothing. And I thought what is this? This is two rooms with :fifty to sixty men in one, :fifty to sixty women in another. They’re dying. They’re not being given a great deal of medical care. They’re not being given painkillers really beyond aspirin and maybe if you’re lucky some Brufen or something, for the sort of pain that goes with terminal cancer and the things they were dying of…

They didn’t have enough drips. The needles they used and re-used over and over and over and you would see some of the nuns rinsing needles under the cold water tap. And I asked one of them why she was doing it and she said: ‘Well to clean it.’ And I said, ‘Yes, but why are you not sterilizing it; why are you not boiling water and sterilizing your needles?’ She said: ‘There’s no point. There’s no time.’

The first day I was there when I’d finished working in the women’s ward I went and waited on the edge of the men’s ward for my boyfriend, who was looking after a boy of fifteen who was dying, and an American doctor told me that she had been trying to treat this boy. And that he had a really relatively simple kidney complaint that had simply got worse and worse and worse because he hadn’t had antibiotics. And he actually needed ari operation. I don’t recall what the problem was, but she did tell me. And she was so angry, but also very resigned which so many people become in that situation. And she said, ‘Well, they won’t take him to hospital.’ And I said: ‘Why? All you have to do is get a cab. Take him to the nearest hos­pital, demand that he has treatment. Get him an operation.’ She said: ‘They don’t do it. They won’t do it. If they do it for one, they do it for everybody.’ And I thought – but this kid is fifteen.

Bear in mind that Mother Teresa’s global income is more than enough to outfit several first-class clinics in Bengal. The decision not to do so, and indeed to run instead a haphazard and cranky institution which would expose itself to litigation and protest were it run by any branch of the medical profession, is a deliberate one. The point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection. Mother Teresa (who herself, it should be noted, has checked into some of the finest and costliest clinics and hospitals in the West during her bouts with heart trouble and old age) once gave this game away in a filmed interview. She described a person who was in the last agonies of cancer and suffering unbearable pain. With a smile, Mother Teresa told the camera what she told this terminal patient: ‘ You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.’ Unconscious of the account to which this irony might be charged, she then told of the sufferer’s reply: ‘Then please tell him to stop kissing me.’ There are many people in the direst need and pain who have had cause to wish, in their own extremity, that Mother Teresa was less free with her own metaphysical caresses and a little more attentive to actual suffering.”

This next portion displays a similar lack of compassion that Mother Teresa had for patients with AIDS:

“Let me instance Ms Elgy Gillespie, author, journalist and sometime editor of The San Francisco Review of Books. Experienced in the care of AIDS patients, she spent some time at Mother Teresa’s San Francisco branch:

Sent to cook in her hostel, tactfully named ‘The Gift of Love’ (it is for homeless men with HIV) , I found a dozen or so very sick men; but those who weren’t very sick were exceptionally depressed, because they were not allowed to watch TV or smoke or drink or have friends over. Even when they are dying, close friends are not allowed. They are never allowed to drink, even (or especially) at the funerals of their friends and roommates and some have been thrown out for coming home in drag! When I mentioned the Olympics to them, they looked even more depressed.‘We are not watching the Olympics,’ said a sister from Bombay, ‘because we are making our Lenten sacrifice.’ When they’re very sick and very religious (which is often the case . . . ) this doesn’t matter, but with brighter men or older men it seems intolerable. A Guatemalan writer that I befriended there was desperate to get out, so a friend of mine who also cooks there (an African American who is a practicing Catholic) adopted him for as long as she could. He became much sicker and when she begged him to go back because she couldn’t mind him, he begged her to keep him because he knew they didn’t medicate enough, or properly, and was afraid he would have to die without morphine . . . I am now cooking occasionally for the homeless men at the Franciscans where one of the patients, Bruce, is an ex-Mother Teresa and neither he nor the priest have a good word to say for the Sisters at ‘The Gift of Love’.

Many volunteers at hostels and clinics from Calcutta to San Francisco have comparable tales to relate. Especially impressive is the testimony of Susan Shields, who for nine and a half years worked as a member of Mother Teresa’s order, living the daily discipline of a Missionary of Charity in the Bronx, in Rome and in San Francisco.”

Mother Teresa’s work wasn’t about helping the poor, otherwise they would give little purpose for her to accept any awards. Her order, as with most far-right institutions, have done nothing but exploit the poor for their ends.

This video below, a debate on whether the Catholic Church is a force for good, includes both Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, whose views I am completely in support of. Their expressions of the Catholic Church resonate with me greatly, esp. as someone who has encountered the incredible fallacy that is religion.

As Christopher Hitchens said:

“You’re fully entitled to ask, brothers and sisters, who am I to say that? Well, in the jubilee millennium year of 2000 the Vatican spokesman Bishop Piero Marini said, explaining a whole sermon of apology given by His Holiness the Pope, given the number of sins we’ve committed in the course of twenty centuries, reference to them must necessarily be rather summary. Well I think Bishop Marini had that just about right, I’ll have to be summary, too. His Holiness on that occasion—it was March the 12th, 2000, if you wish to look it up—begged forgiveness for, among some other things, the crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of the Jewish people, in justice towards women, that’s half the human race right there, and the forced conversion of indigenous peoples, especially in South America, the African slave trade, the admission that Galileo was right, and for silence during Hitler’s Final Solution or Shoah. And it doesn’t end there, there are smaller but significant—equally significant—avowals of a very bad conscience. These have included regret for the rape and torture of orphans and other children in church-run schools in almost every country on Earth, from Ireland to Australia. These are very serious matters, and they’re not to be laughed off by the references to the occasional work of Catholic charities. But I draw you attention not just to the apologies, ladies and gentlemen, but to the evasive and euphemistic form that they take. Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope, considered by some, considered by Catholics to be the Vicar of Christ on Earth, in his comment, one of the few he’s made on the institutionalisation of rape and torture and maltreatment of children in Catholic institutions, he said it’s a very severe crisis which involves us, he said, in the following: in the need for applying to these victims the most loving, pastoral care. Well I’m sorry, they’ve already had that, and to say that this is the response to be laid upon you, by the horrific admission that you’ve already had to make is not accepting responsibility in any adult sense. The same euphemism comes, in the term some Christians allow themselves to be deceived in this way and to act against the gospel, well, anti-Semitism was preached as an official doctrine of the Church until 1964. Do you think that might have something to do with public opinion in Austria, and Bavaria, and Poland, and Lithuania? There’ll come a time, when the church will issue apologies, and explanations, and half-baked appeals for forgiveness for things it’s still doing. I think that there will be an apology for what happened in Rwanda, the most Catholic country in Africa, where priests and nuns and bishops are on trial, for inciting from their pulpits and on the Church’s radio stations and newspapers, the massacre of their brothers and sisters. Staying in Africa, I think it will one day be admitted with shame that it might have been in error to say that AIDS is bad as a disease, very bad, but not quite as bad as condoms are bad, or not as immoral in the same way. I say it in the presence of His Grace, and I say it to his face, the teachings of his church are responsible for the death and suffering and misery of his brother and sister Africans, and he should apologise for it, he should show some shame. For condemning my friend Stephen Fry for his nature, for saying you couldn’t be a member of our church, you’re born in sin. He’s not being condemned for what he does, he’s being condemned for what he is. You’re a child made in the image of God – oh no, you’re not, you’re a faggot, and you can’t join our church and you can’t go to heaven. This is disgraceful, it’s inhuman, it’s obscene, and it comes from a clutch of hysterical, sinister virgins, who’ve already betrayed their charge in the children of their own church. For shame! For shame!” 

One thing to notice  is Ann Widdecombe’s statements in favor of the church, as stated here:

“Imagine the developing world had been left without the input of the medicine and the education that was brought to it by the missions. Imagine the absence of those collections, Sunday upon Sunday, for famine relief. Imagine the absence of the church in the local community. We play a vital role. And you don’t need to be a Catholic to acknowledge that we play that role. What is the church? It is its members: it is the nuns and the monks and the priests and the layworkers and the congregations. It is not just the hierarchy of the Church. And I believe that the Church to which I belong is a massive, massive force for good. But, let us not just keep the debate at that level. I knew somehow that when we were here tonight, we would be discussing child abuse—and condoms, they came in the end, I almost thought we were going to get through an entire speech from Christopher Hitchens without condoms, but we got them at the end—but that isn’t what the Catholic Church is about, it isn’t only about the physical relief of the poor, it isn’t only about the work it does on Earth, but it is the message that it preaches. And that message is one of hope, that message is one of salvation. And it is all very well for some people to say, in an intellectual arrogance, we can do without that, but actually billions of people across the world live by that message of hope and of salvation.”

The poor, as used by the church, are nothing but a reason to give the church money. Not the poor, money, as the church believes they aren’t not responsible for themselves. There are absolutely no differences between the poor and rich, save only money and opportunities. The poor are not born of antelope, while the wealthy are born of woman, and so this characterization comes down not to love, or kindness, but to death and exploitation.

Religion, I must, reiterate, is simply not a force for good.

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2 thoughts on “Regarding “Hell’s Angel: Mother Teresa” and Intelligence² Catholic Church Debate

  1. Pingback: “I’m Jewish!” | The Progressive Democrat

  2. Pingback: What is Charity? | The Progressive Democrat

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