Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Albanian Government Wants Her Body

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is in the news again.

She's buried in the Calcutta, India, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity: the order she founded. Albania wants her body buried in Albania.

I can see their point. Mother Teresa was born in Macedonia, but her parents were Albanians. (EWTN) She grew up in Macedonia. This is what she said about who and what she is:
" 'By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.' Small of stature, rocklike in faith, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was entrusted with the mission of proclaiming God's thirsting love for humanity, especially for the poorest of the poor. 'God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be His love and His compassion to the poor.' She was a soul filled with the light of Christ, on fire with love for Him and burning with one desire: 'to quench His thirst for love and for souls.'..."
("the Vatican")
Like I said, I can see the Albanian government's point. There are a number of reasons why they'd like Calcutta's nun buried in their soil: sentimental; economic; and probably political.

Personally, I hope her bones remain in India. But, happily, I have nothing to do with that decision-making process.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was Beatified When?

BBC is of the opinion that Mother Teresa of Calcutta was beatified in 2002. Pope John Paul II and the Vatican record that she was beatified on October 19, 2003. I think I see where the BBC got their idea:
"...Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization. On 20 December 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles."
(the Vatican)
That "approved the decrees" business isn't something you hear in everyday English on either side of the Atlantic.

If I'm reading the Vatican's biography of Mother Teresa of Calcutta right, the Vatican gave the official go-ahead to investigating whether Mother Teresa of Calcutta qualified as a recognized saint less than two years after her death in 1997. By late 2002 paperwork on the results of the investigation to date was in place for her being beatified.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was beatified later, though: on October 19, 2003, though: that year's World Mission Sunday. (the Vatican)

'You're Known by the Enemies You Keep'

Even before she died, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was being spoken of as a 'living saint.' I'm a practicing Catholic, and don't anticipate the final decision of the Church: but she does look like a slam-dunk certainty for sainthood.

Not everybody sees her that way, of course. I discussed what some of the world's more, ah, sophisticated and earnest people think of Mother Teresa in another blog. (August 7, 2007) At that time, the remarkably long and deep 'dark night of the soul' which Mother Teresa had experienced was becoming public knowledge. People who apparently equate 'being spiritual' with an experiencing an emotional high assumed that she was, at best, a hypocrite.

Doing research for this post, I found that Showtime aired "Holier than thou" sometime around 2005. Two entertainers showed what I suppose is a strong sense of social justice - or something - by saying of Mother Teresa: "She had the f—king coin and pissed it away on nunneries," and referring to the nuns of her order as "f—king c—ts."
Mother Teresa: She's No Princess Di
I think can see the entertainers' point of view. Unlike, say, Princess Di, Mother Teresa didn't act at all like a proper celebrity-philanthropist. She actually got up close and personal with the poor, lived with them, and was responsible for running a global organization to benefit them.

Don't get me wrong: I can try to understand the point of view of another person, without accepting it. When studying anthropology, I learned about the philosophical and religious significance of human sacrifice: but that doesn't mean I think the Aztecs or Phoenicians were on the right track.1

Like the people who were clueless about what a dark night of the soul is, these entertainers were (I hope) abysmally ignorant of what suffering means in Catholic teaching.
"...'...But when they [the entertainers] mock the Catholic Church's teaching on the meaning of suffering, and when they say of the poor that "They had to suffer so that Mother F—king Teresa could be enlightened," then they are behaving like monsters.'..."
(Catholic League President William Donohue, Catholic News Agency)
As the subhead says, 'you're known by the enemies you keep.' These entertainers expressed about the same opinion of Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.

I suppose "Holier than thou" could be what is called 'sophisticated' entertainment for those of discerning tastes. Or maybe it was that version of malicious 'social justice' that I ran into from time to time in the sixties and seventies: which seemed to consist primarily of spiteful diatribes against people and organizations which were actually doing something for others.

Related posts: In the news: Background:
1 I'm reminded of a Scientific American article, several decades ago, which earnestly stated that human sacrifice had never occurred: and that when it was practiced, it was not as done as often as was reported.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.