Michael Cornhole v. Michael Cornhole
Though [Mother Teresa] was hardly physically attractive in the conventional sense, she was in fact the most beautiful woman in the world.
Yet it is fascinating to see how that world has tried to define and understand the saint of the gutters. Liberals have, of course, applauded her work for the poor but they have ignored, or chosen to hide, her views about other matters. Mother Teresa believed abortion was murder and artificial contraception was not only selfish but immoral. She championed all the Vatican’s teachings on sexuality, sin, marriage, divorce and life issues and she thought western decadence was appalling.
She did not help the poor in spite of all this but precisely because of all this.
She devoted her life to the destitute because of her pure, pristine belief in Christianity and in an orthodox Roman Catholicism that is routinely and savagely criticized by the world. Her religious opinions are difficult for many people to accept, but to relish and cherish only some of what Mother Teresa did and said is to reject her completely.
Conservative newspapers and commentators, on the other hand, have refused to accept the fact Mother Teresa was obliged to work with the poor and the starving only because there were such people. These wretches exist for no other reason than that a developed and western world is unwilling to make tangible sacrifices or introduce meaningful reforms. Ironically, and tragically, since Mother Teresa has died hundreds of thousands of people have succumbed to starvation or starvation-related diseases.
She remained poignantly aloof of politics, but implicit in her life was a stabbing criticism of the existing economic order and its plump complacency.
So she was a true rebel with a cause, a true revolutionary, who did not fit into the banal categories of left and right. Her faith gave her strength but it also gave her the capacity for relentless love. A love that now often dare not speak its name. She thought that to ignore what she called sin was not compassionate but callous. She would tell people when they were right but she would also tell people when they were wrong. This in an age when universal truth is severely out of style.
As Elton John might have sung about consistency and truth, sometimes they are merely candles “in the wind.”
–Michael Coren, Financial Post, Sept. 11, 1997.
There are indeed many unanswered questions about the level of aid the poor of Calcutta actually received and it’s beyond dispute that Teresa was heavily funded by brutes such as Jean-Claude Duvalier of Haiti, who stole a fortune from his own people while they lived in poverty. Not only did she take the man’s cash, she lionized him as a great leader. She also praised the repugnant Albanian despot Enver Hoxha and laid flowers at his grave and welcomed donations from British publisher and criminal Robert Maxwell.
There are also ideological and systemic problems. She campaigned against contraceptive use in a country ravaged by over-population and it almost goes without saying that she vehemently opposed abortion rights. Her motivation was conservative Catholic rather than progressively human. “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ,” she said. “I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.” That is not how the poor feel as they watch their babies die in their arms.
It’s important to emphasize that there are countless Catholic and other Christian groups performing outstanding work in India and elsewhere who do not adopt Teresa’s reactionary views and dubious ways, and do not have or want the public relations machine that she enjoyed.
The ceremony announcing to the world that Mother Teresa can be prayed to and revered will take place in a Vatican in possession of wealth through paintings, manuscripts, statues and investments that is beyond comprehension, and in spite of a few utterly cosmetic changes by Pope Francis there is no indication that this will ever change. The glaring juxtaposition between what the tiny Albanian woman was at least supposed to represent and the Roman reality is, frankly, scandalous.
–Michael Coren, Toronto Star, Sept. 1, 2016.